International bodies fail to present a solution to end the Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza as IDF warplanes destroy 15 additional residential buildings and a mosque in raids on the enclave.
There has been no firm sign of an imminent ceasefire despite international calls to end 10 days of an Israeli bombardment on the besieged Gaza.
The death toll from Israeli air strikes across Gaza has climbed to at least 227, including 64 children.
Early on Wednesday, the air raids destroyed the home of a large extended family.
Residents surveyed the piles of bricks, concrete and other debris that had once been the home of 40 members of al Astal family.
They said a warning missile struck the building in the southern town of Khan Younis five minutes before the air strike, allowing everyone to escape.
Ahmed al Astal, a university professor, described a scene of panic before the air strike hit, with men, women and children racing out of the building in various states of undress.
“We had just gotten down to the street, breathless, when the devastating bombardment came,” he said.
"They left nothing but destruction, the children’s cries filling the street... This is happening and there is no one to help us. We ask God to help us.”
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Gaza’s Health Ministry said a woman was killed and eight people were wounded in the Khan Younis and Rafah strikes.
Hamas-run Al-Aqsa radio said one of its reporters was killed in an air strike in Gaza. Yusuf Abu Hussein, who worked for Voice of Jerusalem radio, died in the attack in the northern Sheikh Radwan neighborhood.
Doctors at the Shifa hospital said his was among five bodies brought in early Wednesday. The fatalities included two people killed when warning missiles crashed into their apartment.
Mahmoud Ishteiwi, 18, was killed in an Israeli raid on al Zeitoun neighbourhood, while the second victim was Amena Shreir, 3, who died of her injuries after her father, mother, and sister were also killed in an Israeli air strike on their home on May 11.
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This morning in Gaza pic.twitter.com/Xqyzvxv0FX— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) May 19, 2021
Houses, farms and health centres targeted
Fifteen residential buildings and a mosque in Gaza were also destroyed in the raids.
One of these was a six-story residential building, which housed another mosque, as well as educational centres, and five homes.
Other areas were also hit by Israeli bombs, including farms.
A total of 1,530 Palestinians have been wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Nearly 450 buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or badly damaged, including six hospitals and nine primary-care health centres, since the current conflict began, the United Nations humanitarian agency said.
Some 57,000 displaced had gone to 58 UN-run schools. Another 25,000 displaced people are staying with host families.
Meanwhile, the government media office in Gaza said the estimated losses from the ongoing Israeli attacks in the enclave have reached $243 million.
Medical supplies, fuel and water are running low in Gaza, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians and has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.
Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy, have been killed in Gaza's rocket attacks so far.
The Israeli military says more than 3,700 rockets have been fired since May 10, with hundreds falling short and landing inside Gaza.
Gaza’s rockets are mostly repurposed handmade weapons in comparison to Israel’s military might which gets over $16 billion for defence spending and $3.8 billion from the US annually for a 10-year period.
'Intensive behind-the-scenes discussions'
France called on Tuesday for a UN Security Council resolution on violence between Israel and Palestinian militants, as diplomats said the United States told the body a “public pronouncement right now” would not help calm the crisis.
The UN General Assembly will discuss the violence on Thursday.
Germany called for a ceasefire and offered more aid to help Palestinians before emergency European Union talks.
However, the bloc's foreign ministers failed to agree on a joint statement on Tuesday because of a veto by Hungary.
Israel's N12 TV news, quoting unidentified Palestinian sources, reported that Egypt, via "secret channels", had proposed that Israel-Gaza fighting end on Thursday morning.
Ezzat El Reshiq, a member of Hamas' political bureau who is based in Qatar, issued a statement on Tuesday saying reports that it had agreed to such a ceasefire were untrue.
"We confirm that efforts and contacts are serious and are continuing and the demands of our people are known and clear."
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US efforts to wind down Israeli offensive
President Joe Biden and his administration encouraged Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials to wind down the bombardment of Gaza, a person with knowledge of the discussions said on Tuesday, as pressure grew on Biden to move more forcefully to stop the fighting.
The White House has so far resisted the calls for ramping up public pressure on Netanyahu.
A person familiar with the administration’s discussions said that the Israelis have signalled that it is possible their military campaign could end in a matter of days.
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2/11 Israel, the occupying Power, has escalated its violations against the Palestinian people, throughout the occupied territory of the State of Palestine;— State of Palestine - MFA (@pmofa) May 18, 2021
Palestine urges ICC to investigate Israel's war crimes
The Palestinian foreign minister sent a letter on Tuesday to the International Criminal Court's (ICC) Prosecutor's Office, calling for an investigation into Israel's "war crimes" in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.
According to a Twitter post by the Palestinian Mission to the Netherlands, Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman delivered the letter by hand from Foreign Minister Riyad al Maliki, calling for "accountability for the war crimes and crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Palestine, including in Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza."
"The State of Palestine continues to consistently provide the Court with information and documentation on the new and ongoing crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the Court in the context of the ongoing investigation in the situation," it added in the statement.
Israel’s attacks on Gaza follow spiking tensions in occupied Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
One major flashpoint in recent days has been a court case that could end with Palestinian families evicted from occupied East Jerusalem homes in Sheikh Jarrah claimed by Jewish settlers.
If the court rules for the settlers, Palestinians living in the neighbourhood would be displaced for a second time, the first was when they were moved into Sheikh Jarrah as refugees by Jordan in the 1950s.
Palestinians protesting in solidarity with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah have been targeted by Israeli forces.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 – a move that has never been recognised by the international community.
READ MORE: How Gaza was shackled and reduced to ‘Gaza Strip’