Israel-Gaza conflict: Ceasefire looking unlikely as cross-border attacks continue

There remains little sign of a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza after more than a week of cross-border attacks.

While France has called for a UN Security Council resolution on the violence, the United States has said it prefers “intensive behind-the-scenes discussions”.

After Israeli’s N12 TV news channel said fighting could end on Thursday morning, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, Ezzat El-Reshiq, said there had been “no agreement reached over specific timings for a ceasefire”.

But he added that “efforts and contacts are serious and are continuing”.

With an estimated 12,000 missiles and mortars in the Hamas and Islamic Jihad arsenals, an Israeli military spokesman said “they still have enough rockets to fire”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tweeted that his country’s attacks “will continue for as long as it takes to restore calm”.

The Israel military said 52 of its aircraft struck Hamas tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip in a 25-minute attack overnight, hitting 40 targets.

Since the conflict began more than a week ago, almost 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or badly damaged, including six hospitals and nine primary care health centres, the UN’s humanitarian agency said.

Almost 50,000 displaced people have gone to UN-run schools.

Israel’s military said 50 rockets were fired overnight from Gaza, though there were no reports of damage or injuries.

Hamas began firing rockets nine days ago in retaliation for what it said were Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians in Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Israel said more than 3,450 rockets had been directed towards it from Gaza, with some falling short or being shot down by its Iron Dome air defences

It estimates it has killed about 160 militants.

Medical officials in Gaza said 217 Palestinians had been killed, including 63 children, and more than 1,400 wounded since the fighting began on 10 May.

Israeli authorities said 12 people have been killed in Israel, including two children.

Germany has called for a ceasefire and offered more aid to Palestinians before emergency European Union talks.

Egypt and UN mediators have increased their diplomatic efforts, and the UN General Assembly will discuss the fighting on Thursday.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the US’s “goal is to get to the end of this conflict”.

She added: “We are going to evaluate day by day what the right approach is. It continues to be that quiet, intensive behind-the-scenes discussions are tactically our approach at this time.”

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