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Israeli fighter jets hit Gaza as US calls for ceasefire

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, Palestine: Israeli jests carried out dozens of airstrikes on Gaza on Tuesday as US President Joe Biden expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

A new front in the conflict opened as the Israeli military said it also shelled Lebanon in response to six failed rocket launches from southern areas in the neighbouring country.

Biden held his third phone conversation with Netanyahu since violence flared on May 10 and expressed support for a ceasefire. But the US president stopped short of demanding an end to the violence.

At least 212 Palestinians, including 61 children, have been killed in Gaza since the attacks began. About 1,500 Palestinians have been wounded. Ten Israelis have died, including two children.

The Israeli military said that its forces downed a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that approached Israel’s border with Jordan, without specifying where the aircraft might have originated.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif slammed the US administration for approving the sale of $735 million in weapons to Israel while blocking a joint UN security council statement.

The arms sale, which Congress was notified of on May 5, a week before the current escalation began, includes Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), which are used to turn bombs into precision-guided missiles, according to the Washington Post.

Israel continued its air raids on Gaza as day broke on Tuesday.

Explosions were heard and balls of fire and plumes of smoke were seen rising from several buildings in Gaza City.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II spoke to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday and said it was Israel’s “recurrent provocative” actions against Palestinians that have led to the ongoing escalation.

On Monday, a fresh barrage of rockets from Gaza once again set off sirens and sending Israelis fleeing into bomb shelters in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer Sheva. At least one residential building in Ashdod was hit, the IDF said. Three people were slightly injured, according to the Israeli Red Cross.

The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday released photos purporting to show Hamas rocket installations and tunnel entrances placed near civilian infrastructures like hospitals and schools. The IDF said that “Hamas deliberately and systematically places military targets within the civilian population, exposing their citizens to danger.”