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The White House reportedly urged Israel to wind down its bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday amid a death toll that continued to mount as the conflict stretched into its ninth day.
Top officials in President Biden’s administration noted growing international objections and emphasized that time is not on Israel’s side, an official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
The private pressure campaign, which began Monday, included remarks that were far stronger than those made publicly by Biden the same day, when he expressed support for a cease-fire but also for Israel’s right to defend itself, according to the White House press office.
Meanwhile, Biden on Tuesday praised US Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) as a “fighter” following what appeared to be a tense meeting on the tarmac at Detroit’s airport between the president and the Palestinian-American lawmaker, an outspoken critic of the Jewish state,
Israel plans to keep on striking at high-value targets, including the commander of the Hamas terror group’s Qassam Brigades, Mohammed Deif, who’s dodged several attempts on his life during the recent round of fighting, The Jerusalem Post reported, citing military sources.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also told US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during a Tuesday call that the Israel Defense Forces would continue its Operation Guardian of the Walls against Hamas, the news outlet said.
“The IDF’s military campaign will continue to the end of achieving long-term quiet,” Gantz said.
And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that military action against Hamas “will continue as long as necessary.”
“I am sure that all the enemies around us see how costly it is to attack us, and I am sure they will learn the lesson,” he added.
Meanwhile, Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen warned that the limited amount of power available in Gaza could soon disappear.
“I think the next thing we should do – and I’ll raise this in the Cabinet – is to shut off electricity in Gaza,” Cohen told Channel 20 in a video clip posted on Twitter.
On Sunday, the Guardian reported that the power supply to Gaza had already been cut by more than half after six of 10 power lines were destroyed by Israeli strikes.
As of Tuesday, the Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip was 217, including at least 63 children.
Hamas rockets have killed 11 Israeli civilians — including a 5-year-old boy — and one soldier.
The latest violence included a Hamas mortar attack that killed two Thai workers inside a packaging plant in southern Israel and also wounded 10 other people, four of them seriously.
A Lebanese military source confirmed to AFP that several Grad-type rockets were fired into Israel from the Shebaa Farms area in southern Lebanon.
And Israeli forces shot down a drone approaching the country from Jordan early Tuesday, in what appeared to be the seventh such attack since the beginning of the hostilities that began on May 10.
Israel launched a wave of air strikes against targets in Gaza, including a six-story building that housed Islamic University libraries and educational centers.There were no casualties when it was flattened because the IDF residents ahead of time, sending them fleeing into the predawn darkness.
The IDF was also gearing up for what a spokesperson said would be an “intensive night ahead of us” and the military planned aerial attacks on “new locations” of Gaza’s sprawling tunnel network, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said the bombardment would two target sections of tunnels that weren’t hit during four previous nights of air assaults.
Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian protesters threw rocks, bottles and fireworks at Israeli border police in Jerusalem’s historic Old City on Tuesday, according to reports.
Eight rioters were arrested amid the violence, which erupted when a man attacked a female soldier during a security check near the Damascus Gate, the Jerusalem Post said.
Dozens of others approached and began rampaging, according to Israel Hayom.
The incident erupted during a daylong strike by many Arab residents to show solidarity with the Hamas terror group amid the ongoing Gaza Strip conflict, now in its ninth day, Israel Hayom said.
The soldier wasn’t seriously injured and didn’t need medical treatment, according to the Jerusalem Post.
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