Israel Clarifies, Says No Ground Troops Are in Gaza

People inspect the rubble of a destroyed residential building which was hit by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City

Israel has bombarded Gaza with artillery and air strikes but stopped short of a ground offensive in the conflict that has now claimed 119 Palestinian lives including 31 children, and injured 830 people.

Since Monday Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip have fired over 1,000 rockets towards Israel, targeting civilian centres including Tel Aviv and Beer Sheva.

When asked by Germany's DPA news agency about the operation, an IDF spokeswoman would not say whether troops had actually entered the Gaza Strip, of if they are carrying out operations from the Israeli side of the border.

"IDF air and ground forces are carrying out strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip", the statement said. But later, citing an internal miscommunication, it clarified that the troops were firing artillery from inside Israel.

Israel intensified its attacks on Gaza late Thursday, as the country's military said its troops were on the ground.

Tanks and artillery were deployed Thursday, but the Israel Defense Forces said that no ground troops were in Gaza.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was "deeply concerned about the violence in the streets of Israel", voicing support for a United Nations Security Council meeting "early next week" on the crisis.

In recent years, Palestinians have carried out a series of stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks that have killed or wounded Israeli soldiers and civilians. Seven Israelis have been killed in the rocket attacks, including a 6-year-old boy.

The Israeli military said earlier it had hit targets in Gaza more than 600 times while 1,750 rockets were fired from the Hamas-run enclave.

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a buildingin Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021.

The deadly exchange of rocket fire and airstrikes, the biggest battle between the Palestinian militant group and Israeli forces since the 2014 war in Gaza, was sparked by growing unrest over control of Jerusalem and attempts by Jewish settlers to take over Arab-controlled communities. In southern Bat Yam, a Jewish mob beat an Arab resident with sticks, local media reported, and Arab shops were attacked.

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Israeli war jets and aircraft struck a military compound containing three anti-tank missile launchers belonging to Hamas and bombed and killed at least four squads of anti-tank missile operatives, according to the military.

Palestinians living in areas close to the Gaza-Israel border fled their homes in pickup trucks, on donkeys and by foot.

As word of the officials' arrival spread, Hamas fired about 100 rockets toward south and central Israel.

He viewed Biden's policy as "a mere continuation of the unconditional American support" provided under every USA administration since Israel's founding.

"What we can feel is that the USA keeps saying that it cares about the human rights of Muslims. but it was ignoring the suffering of the Palestinian people", Hua added. Blinken also called for de-escalation.

Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern section as a capital of a future state.

Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercept rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, Israel, May 13, 2021.

Violence has also broken out in mixed Arab-Jewish cities across Israel, with members of Israel's 21 per cent Arab minority angry over the Jerusalem evictions and Gaza violence.

He urged Australians with ties to the conflict to act with tolerance and respect.

During a conversation Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced support for the Palestinians.

IDF Military Intelligence rejects this allegation, saying that it had warned the political echelon of the threat of an attack by Hamas almost a month ahead of time, in mid-April, when significant clashes broke out regularly between residents of East Jerusalem and Israeli forces and amid the Palestinian Authority's decision to indefinitely postpone Palestinian elections that were planned for May.

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