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Top StoriesIsrael Strikes Gaza Building With A.P. and Other News...

Israel Strikes Gaza Building With A.P. and Other News Outlets

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President Biden spoke to the Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Saturday as the worst violence in seven years flared again, with Israel launching an airstrike on a Gaza media tower and protests erupting anew in the occupied West Bank.

An Israeli airstrike destroyed a prominent high-rise building in Gaza City that housed media outlets including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera

In separate calls, Mr. Biden conferred with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, about efforts to broker a cease-fire. While supporting Israel’s right to defend itself, Mr. Biden urged Mr. Netanyahu to protect civilians and journalists.

Hours after the call, Mr. Netanyahu posted a speech to Facebook in which he vowed to continue attacks on Hamas until Israel’s security is guaranteed.

“You know and I know: No country would tolerate this,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “Israel has responded forcefully to these attacks, and we will continue to respond forcefully until the security of our people is reinstated and restored.”

Israeli rocket fire continued into Sunday while American, Egyptian and Qatari officials attempted to negotiate a pause. An American envoy, Hady Amr, landed in Israel for two days of talks with Israeli and Arab counterparts.

But Hamas continued to fire rockets into Israel. And the Israeli military destroyed a building housing the offices of The Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

The Israel Defense Forces said its fighter jets struck the media tower because it also contained military assets belonging to Hamas. The I.D.F. said it had provided advance warning to civilians in the building to allow evacuation.

Gary Pruitt, the chief executive of the A.P., said he was “shocked and horrified” by the destruction of the building. The news agency was seeking information from the Israeli government, he said on Twitter.

Demonstrations broke out again in the West Bank on Saturday, Nakba Day, an annual commemoration of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in 1948. In Ramallah, the administrative center of the West Bank, a siren sounded for 73 seconds to mark the years since the dispersal.

The protests in the West Bank illustrated how widespread the confrontation has become since Hamas fired its first rockets shortly after 6 p.m. on Monday.

An Israeli airstrike overnight killed at least 10 members of an extended family in a refugee camp in Gaza, after which Hamas militants aimed another round of rockets at Tel Aviv.

The health ministry in Gaza said that at least 145 people had died in Israeli airstrikes and shelling, 40 of them children, with about 1,000 injured. Those numbers could not be independently verified. The United Nations said 10,000 Gazans had left their homes to take shelter in schools, mosques and other places.

In Israel, the hostilities have left 10 civilians, including a 5-year-old boy, and two soldiers dead.

Power in Gaza is down to five hours a day in some places, and water comes out of the pipes only once every few days. Any efforts to contain what had been a worsening coronavirus infection crisis all but ceased.

In Israel, the always-fraught notion of coexistence between Arabs and Jews seemed to be cracking amid the burning apartments and synagogues, the thrown stones and homemade bombs.

“The Jewish state will not tolerate pogroms against our citizens,” Mr. Netanyahu said in his Saturday address. “We won’t allow these attacks on innocent civilians, Arabs and Jews alike. To tolerate this unacceptable vigilantism and violence is to pave a way to anarchy.”

The crisis has pushed concerns about Israel’s political gridlock off the table, potentially benefiting the shaky career of Mr. Netanyahu, while also giving momentum to Hamas.



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