Tensions between Israel and Hamas run high amid ceasefire push
TEL AVIV – The United States and its allies in Europe and the Middle East have stepped up efforts to get Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas to stop fighting on Friday, as hostilities between the two sides remained strong.
Israel overnight launched a series of raids that it said targeted a weapons storage unit that Hamas had located in the former justice ministry and struck the residences of Hamas officials, as well as underground tunnels he says the leader of Gaza uses to operate. The Israeli strikes killed at least one person, an 11-year-old girl, according to the health ministry in Gaza. Israel said Thursday it was targeting more Hamas tunnels and military infrastructure.
Hamas fired an anti-tank missile early Thursday at an Israeli military bus near the border with Gaza, which was accompanied by rocket fire after a lull lasting several hours. The IDF said the bus was empty and a soldier was slightly injured in the attack. “It was a miracle,” the bus driver told Israeli television station KANN. “About thirty soldiers came down a few seconds before and dispersed.” He also launched hundreds of rockets at Israel on Thursday.
The increased hostilities follow the pattern of previous conflicts, where Israel and Hamas escalated fighting before any temporary truce. The determination on both sides to keep hitting the other should test the durability of any ceasefire.
The United States, along with Egypt, Qatar and several European countries, are working to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leaders to end their military campaigns. President Biden spoke by phone with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. She did not provide further details on the appeal.