Israel-Hamas Conflict Rages, Death Toll Rises; Latest Updates

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Israel bombed several locations in Gaza early on Thursday, even as the Palestinian residents of enclave prepared to mark Eid al-Fitr, continuing the airstrikes that have killed scores. Meanwhile, Hamas continued to launch a barrage of rockets into Israel, hitting residential and commercial centers even as concerns rose in Israel about the efficacy of the Iron Dome missile defense shield.

Hamas  Rocket attack
An apartment building in the town of Kiryat Malachi, damaged as a result of rockets fired from Gaza - File Photo Wikimedia Commons

Israeli fighter jets targeted multiple residential buildings in the crowded coastal enclave of two million people, while footage published on early Thursday showed a building east of Tel Aviv going up in flames after a Hamas rocket hit it.

Here are the UPDATES:

Death Toll Goes Up

While Gaza's Ministry of Health the death toll inched up to 65, including 16 children, on the Israeli side, at least five people were killed. More than 360 people have been wounded in the conflict in Gaza. The dead on the Israeli side included a soldier.

Israel Kills Top Hamas Commander

Israel, which says it is targeting Hamas militants holed up in residential areas in Gaza, marked a victory with the killing of Gaza City commander of Hamas, Bassem Issa. Hamas also confirmed the death of the commander. He was killed in an Israeli air attack. Israel said 15 other Hamas members were also killed on Wednesday.

Rocket Fire from Gaza
Rocket Fire from Gaza Wikimedia Commons

Biden Offers Support to Israel

After speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US president Joe Biden said that Israel has a right to defend itself. "I had a conversation with Bibi Netanyahu not too long ago ... My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory," Biden said.

No Joint Declaration from UNSC

The UN Security Council failed to issue a joint statement on the Israel-Hamas conflict after the United States objected to move. Agencies reported that 14 of the 15 members of the UN Security Council were in support of adopting a joint declaration that calls for easing of the tensions.

The US apparently concluded that the USSC holding an emergency meeting was in itself a show of concern over the volatile situation in the Middle East, and that issuing a joint declaration wasn't going to help de-escalate the situation.

UN Security Council
Representational picture of a meeting in the UN Security Council Reuters

European Members of UNSC Issue Separate Statement

Meanwhile, four UNSC members from Europe, Norway, Estonia, France and Ireland, issued a joint statement expressing concern over the situation.

Biden Sends Envoy to Middle East

Biden opening his mask
Biden opened his mask only after reaching the podium Twitter

The Biden administration decided to send a US envoy to the Middle East to seek to ways to ease tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

The United Nation's Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland said the Israel-Hamas conflict has deteriorated considerably.