Israel-Gaza conflict continues to intensify; rockets reported from Lebanon

Israel-Gaza conflict continues to intensify; rockets reported from Lebanon

After more than a week of fighting, appeals by major powers for calm and a growing number of casualties, the conflict between Israel and Hamas continued to intensify Tuesday amid reports of rockets also being launched from Lebanon.

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“On Monday 17 May at around 1130pm, UNIFIL detected firing of rockets from general area Rashaya Al Foukhar north of Kfar Chouba in s. Lebanon,” the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon tweeted, according to the Washington Post. “IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] returned artillery fire directed at location from where the rocket originated.”

Israel said the half dozen rockets from southern Lebanon never reached Israeli territory and it is unclear what group was behind the launches. The New York Times reported that Hamas has fired 3,350 missiles and killed nine civilians in Israel, and at least one soldier. 

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The paper, citing health officials in Gaza, reported that at least 212 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, including 61 children. The U.N. said at least 800,000 lack access to safe drinking water, the report said.

President Joe Biden expressed support for a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers in a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, but stopped short of demanding an immediate stop to the eight days of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket barrages that have killed more than 200 people, most of them Palestinian.

Biden’s carefully worded statement, in a White House readout of his second known call to Netanyahu in three days as the attacks pounded on, came with the administration under pressure to respond more forcefully despite its determination to wrench the U.S. foreign policy focus away from Middle East conflicts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report