Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip entered its sixth consecutive day, with air raids hitting a refugee camp where at least 10 Palestinians – eight children, two women – were killed and flattening a high-rise building housing the offices of media organisations, including Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, Palestinians on Saturday gathered in parts of the occupied West Bank to protest against continued Israeli occupation and the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.
At least 140 Palestinians, including 39 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Monday. Some 950 others have been wounded. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have killed at least 13 Palestinians.
At least nine people in Israel have also been killed, with one new death reported on Saturday in Ramat Gan. The Israeli army said hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza towards various locations in Israel and they have added reinforcements near the enclave’s eastern lands.
Thousands of Palestinian families are taking shelter in United Nations-run schools in northern Gaza to escape Israeli artillery fire. The UN has said it estimates approximately 10,000 Palestinians have left their homes in Gaza amid the Israeli offensive.
Here are the latest updates:
Correspondent: Senior Hamas political figure targeted
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout reporting from Gaza City said that for the first time in six days since the offensive started, Israelis have targeted and hit the house of senior Hamas political leader Khalil al-Hayya in east Gaza City.
Palestinian groups have responded by firing towards Beer Sheva, al-Kahlout said.
According to Palestinian sources, al-Hayya was not in the house at the time of attack.
‘An attempt to cover up what is happening in Gaza’
Jeremy Dear, deputy general secretary of the International Federation of Journalists told Al Jazeera he was “shocked and horrified”, expressing outrage that “once again there is an attempt to cover up what is happening in Gaza by directly attacking media facilities.
“This is the third attack on a tower which houses various media, on top of that we’ve recorded 30 incidents of journalists being beaten or being detained,” Dear said.
“It is quite clear that this isn’t an accident, this is systematic targeting of media in Gaza in order to prevent reporting from there.”
Correspondent: People returning to site to gather precious belongings
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout reporting from the site of the Al Jalaa building in Gaza City that people who used to live and work in the building have returned and are trying to find some of their precious belongings, “maybe important documents or money and other things they had to leave behind.
“In the last two hours the civil defence teams have been deployed to at least open the roads because the destruction of the building also damaged the nearby buildings and people who lived in this area also had to evacuate.”
Al Jazeera strongly condemns Israel’s destruction of Gaza offices
Al Jazeera condemns in the strongest terms the bombing and destruction of its offices by the Israeli military in Gaza and views this as a clear act to stop journalists from conducting their sacred duty to inform the world and report events on the ground.
Al Jazeera promises to pursue every available route to hold the Israeli government responsible for its actions.
Read more here.
White House: Safety of reporters ‘is a paramount responsibility’
Following Israel’s strike on Al-Jalaa tower, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki wrote on Twitter that safety of reporters “is a paramount responsibility”.
We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) May 15, 2021
“We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility,” Psaki said.
AP president: ‘We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life’
The Associated Press President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement that they are “shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organisations in Gaza.
“They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit,” Pruitt said.
“This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.
“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.”
‘Disgraceful and worst of all reckless’
Aidan White of the Ethical Journalism Network told Al Jazeera that the images of media buildings being destroyed are “disgraceful and worst of all reckless.
“The threat to civilian life is completely unacceptable. I think it once again highlights perilous risks facing journalists and media in conflict zones,” White said.
“It seems to me a catastrophic attempt to shut down media, to silence criticism. Worst of all, create a cloak of secrecy around this conflict. Unfortunately, its not unusual, aspect of conflicts like this.
“When the bullets start flying, when the shells start dropping, unfortunately it’s often media that are targeted by one side or another. Unfortunately Israel in this regard, has a history of being prepared to target media they would prefer to silence.”
Reporter: ‘No place in Gaza now seems safe’
Gaza reporter Youmna al-Sayed reporting from Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City said the hospital is currently the only place where the team is able report live.
“It’s the safest place as we know. Shifa has been targeted before but obviously it’s a hospital so it might be the safest place now in Gaza from where we will be broadcasting,” al-Sayed said.
“We all had to evacuate the Al Jalaa building just before it was targeted. The owner of the building was just given one hour for everyone to be evacuated and when [the Israelis] called him again him, he asked for 30 more minutes because people wanted to get some stuff… from the offices. But the Israeli (army) spokesman refused and said that they will be attacking exactly after one hour, and that no one should enter the building, if they don’t wont to lose their lives.
“The destruction is massive. Hundreds of families now have evacuated the building and the building next to it, and the buildings opposite to it, which means … more families have been added to the list of thousands of families who have been displaced in the Gaza Strip right now. No place in Gaza now seems safe.”
AP president: ‘Shocked and horrified’ by Israeli attack on building
The Associated Press president and CEO said he is “shocked and horrified” by “incredibly disturbing” Israeli attack on the al-Jalaa building housing the AP office.
Map of buildings bombed
Israeli warplanes previously had already targeted several buildings in the heart of Gaza City, including the al-Johara building and the 14-storey Shorouq tower, which both house media offices as well as the 13-storey residential Hanadi tower.
Tlaib: Attack is so ‘world can’t see Palestinians being massacred’
Rashida Tlaib, the US Congress’s only Palestinian-American member commenting on Israel’s attack on the al-Jalaa building wrote on Twitter that Israel is “targeting media sources is so the world can’t see Israel’s war crimes led by the apartheid-in-chief Netanyahu.
“It’s so the world can’t see Palestinians being massacred.”
Israel targeting media sources is so the world can’t see Israel’s war crimes led by the apartheid-in-chief Netanyahu.
It’s so the world can’t see the killing of babies, children and their parents.
It’s so the world can’t see Palestinians being massacred. https://t.co/AvDp3IuxUA
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 15, 2021
Al Jazeera correspondent: ‘In two seconds, everything vanished’
Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout reacted to the destruction of the building housing, among others, the offices of Al Jazeera Media Network in Gaza City:
“I have been working here for 11 years. I have been covering many events from this building, we have lived personal professional experiences now everything, in two seconds, just vanished,” he said.
“All my colleagues, despite the sadness, they didn’t stop a second – they were looking for an alternative just to keep Al Jazeera on top of the news.”
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, who has extensively reported from Gaza City, added: “This is a very personal moment for all of us. The idea that the place is not there any more is extraordinary to contemplate.”
Israeli air raid flattens building housing media outlets
Israel has razed to the ground a high-rise building housing residential apartments and media offices in Gaza City, including Al Jazeera Media Network and The Associated Press news agency.
Live video showed the 11-storey al-Jalaa building, which also houses a number of other offices, crashing to the ground after being bombed as dust and debris flew into into air.
Israeli man killed by rocket from Gaza: Police
An Israeli man was killed after a rocket fired from Gaza hit his building in Ramat Gan in central Israel, according to police.
“Update to rocket strike on Ramat Gan, 1 man killed,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Twitter, with Magen David Adom saying their “medics have pronounced the death of one person critically injured after performing CPR”.
Gaza death toll rises to 140
A Palestinian man was killed in an air raid that hit Bureij refugee camp located in the middle of the Gaza Strip, according to Wafa news agency.
The attack brought the total death toll in the besieged territory since Monday to 140.
Israel warns of air strike on media building
Israel has given a “warning” that it will bomb the building that houses the Al Jazeera offices and other international media outlets in Gaza City within the next hour.
عاجل | جيش الاحتلال الإسرائيلي يمهل قاطني البناية التي تضم مكاتب صحفية عالمية بينها #الجزيرة ساعة واحدة لإخلائها
— الجزيرة – عاجل (@AJABreaking) May 15, 2021
Translation: The Israeli occupation army gives one hour to evacuate a building that houses international press offices, including Al Jazeera.
Fares Akram, Gaza correspondent for The Associated Press news agency, tweeted: “Now bombs could fall on our office. We ran down the stairs from the 11th floor and now looking at the building from afar, praying Israeli army would eventually retract.”
And now bombs could fall on our office. We ran down the stairs from the 11th floor and now looking at the building from afar, praying Israeli army would eventually retract. https://t.co/WU2eLEX7kn
— Fares Akram (@faresakram) May 15, 2021
‘Every single night we say that we are next’
Gaza resident Eman Basher, whose powerful tweet about life under heavy bombardment was read out by US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib at the floor of the House of Representatives on Thursday, spoke to Al Jazeera:
“People in Gaza are living terrifying nights every single day. We wake up to reply to messages are you alive? We’re scared. Every single night we say that we are next.”
.@SometimesPooh, your words are powerful. We hear you.
I wish I could wrap you and your babies with the safety and love you deserve. https://t.co/rIMIoXVVJc
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) May 14, 2021
“When I tweeted, I wrote it and I was crying. I want to say that people in Gaza have two methods in dealing with such terrific nights: they either put the members of the whole family in one room so that if the bombing happens or if the Israeli warplanes strike the house, they will die together; or they put every individual member in a different room so if a massacre happens or they bomb the house, one member would survive.
She added: “It’s heartbreaking that the Palestinians in Gaza have only these two choices while they don’t actually have shelters to protect them.”
Basher continued: “Yesterday it was a difficult night. We slept at 4am and my kids kept waking up. My husband and I took a very long time to calm them down. It’s terrifying, it’s traumatising. I don’t want my kids to live like this, I want my kids to live in peace and I want the whole world to hear their screams, that’s why I tweeted, that’s why I’m writing.
“I believe in the power of words, I want my kids to survive all of this, and I don’t want to say to them that ‘that’s it, you’re not going to grow up to fulfill your dreams.’”
Iranian minister cancels Austrian visit over Israeli flag
Iran’s foreign minister cancelled a visit with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg but had called off the trip to show displeasure that Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government had flown the Israeli flag in Vienna.
“We regret this and take note of it, but for us it is as clear as day that when Hamas fires more than 2,000 rockets at civilian targets in Israel then we will not remain silent,” a spokeswoman for Schallenberg said.
Malaysia, Indonesia urge UNSC to stop Israeli ‘violence’
Israel’s “despicable actions” must be stopped immediately, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo agreed in a phone conversation.
Both leaders are also calling on the United Nations Security Council to intervene and stop Israel’s strikes on Gaza.
“We were of similar views that the international community, especially the United Nations Security Council, should act swiftly to cease all forms of violence committed by Israel, and save the lives of Palestinians,” Muhyiddin said in a televised address.
“To date, the UN Security Council has not issued any statement on the current situation in Palestine due to opposition from the United States of America,” he said.
‘Shocked and devastated’: UNRWA
Tamara Alrifai, director of strategic communications and spokeswoman at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said the agency was “extremely shocked and devastated” at the news of the bombardment of the Shati refugee camp.
“We are extremely distressed about that development, just like we are distressed about the entire situation in Gaza and actually the entire situation of the occupied Palestinian territory,” she told Al Jazeera.
“What’s happening in Gaza cannot be disassociated with what’s happening in the West Bank, the protests and the indiscriminate use of force by the Israeli security forces that were the trigger for the events in Gaza and for what is now a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza”.
Israel has said its forces are not targeting civilians, but that Hamas fighters have been hiding among them. Alrifai rejected that Hamas members have been sheltering in UN refugee camps and facilities such as Shati camp.
“This is total disinformation, that Hamas [is] hiding in UN camps and that being the reason for striking either extremely densely populated refugee camps or causing excessive damage to the UNRWA headquarters, like what happened two days ago,” Alrifai said.
Targeting of houses and agricultural land ongoing
Al Jazeera’s Youmna al-Sayed, reporting from Gaza City, gave this update:
“The targeting of houses and agricultural land still goes on until this moment,” she said, adding that in the early hours of the day there was an air raid on Mahabharat street, in the west of Gaza, while houses were also hit in Rafah and in Jabalia.
“Every night we say that this is the most violent night since the beginning of the conflict, but every night that follows gets even more violent,” al-Sayed said. “The situation is not getting any easier.”
Gaza’s main power lines at risk of collapsing
The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company warned that that vital power lines in the besieged enclave are at risk of collapsing due to the relentless Israeli shelling, according to Palestinian Wafa news agency.
Eight out of 10 main electricity power lines coming from the Israeli side have been severally disrupted, the agency said, while the company urged all “relevant parties” to intervene urgently.
Egypt sends ambulances to pick up wounded from Gaza
Egypt sent 10 ambulances into Gaza to pick up casualties of Israeli bombardments for treatment in Egyptian hospitals, medical and security sources told Reuters news agency.
The ambulances entered Gaza at the Rafah crossing, which is otherwise closed for five days over the Eid al-Fitr holiday and the weekend and is due to reopen on Monday.
A further five ambulances have been deployed to enter Gaza later and three Egyptian hospitals have been readied to provide treatment, the sources and local health officials said.
Images of Israeli air raids
Images posted by local news agency Shehab shows scenes of Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip and its impact.
مشاهد من القصف الإسرائيلي المتواصل على قطاع غزة والذي يستهدف منازل الآمنين والبنية التحتية pic.twitter.com/75Xtv3Wx5I
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) May 15, 2021
Translation: Scenes of the continued Israeli shelling of the Gaza Strip, targeting houses and infrastructures
استهداف طائرات الاحتلال عائلة المباشر في خانيونس جنوب قطاع غزة pic.twitter.com/3lMP7U1M2F
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) May 15, 2021
Translator: The occupation warplanes targeted the Al-Mubasher family in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Funerals held in Nablus
Funerals are being held in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus for Palestinian protesters killed on Friday by Israeli forces. At least 11 Palestinians were killed as protests swept across the occupied West Bank.
Israel says 15 arrested linked to violence in Lod
Israeli police said they arrested 15 suspects involved in recent violence in the central city of Lod.
According to an Israeli police statement, they also seized weapons, Molotov cocktails and fireworks.
Demonstrations expected worldwide in support of Palestinians
Hundreds of people gathered in the Australian city of Melbourne to express their solidarity with Palestinians.
More demonstrations are expected to be held around the world on Saturday as Palestinians mark the Nakba.
“Israel should stop the attack on Gaza [and] stop the ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem,” artist and activist Aseel Tayah, who is originally from Jerusalem, told Al Jazeera after singing in solidarity with Palestinians at the rally in Melbourne.
‘This is truly a massacre’
Nabil Abu al-Reesh, a doctor based in the Gaza Strip, gave his account of Israel’s airstrike that targeted a four-story house on the edge of al-Shati refugee camp.
“We are still trying to recover more bodies and trying to understand who is who,” al-Reesh, who is treating survivors at al-Shifa Hospital, said.
“This is truly a massacre that cannot be described,” he said.
“I don’t know how he managed to stay alive,” he added, pointing to an infant who is the only survivor of a family that was killed by the Israeli airstrike.
“Maybe he survived to witness what happened to the rest of his family,” he said.
Read more here.
Injuries reported as Palestinians protest in West Bank
Injuries have been reported in the West Bank following confrontations between Palestinian protesters and the occupying Israeli security forces.
A social media post by the Shehab news agency showed Palestinian protesters carrying their injured fellow marchers on Saturday morning in Nablus near the Hawara checkpoint.
Early on Saturday, thousands of worshippers coming from morning prayers in Nablus joined a large march in the city denouncing the Israeli occupation and the latest deadly bombings in Gaza.
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) May 15, 2021
Shelling reported in Gaza’s Khan Yunis
Israeli artillery fire has reportedly hit some agricultural lands in the eastern part of Gaza’s Khan Yunis governorate.
Safa Press also reported on Saturday that there was renewed shelling at the coastal area of Gaza.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or property damage.
Body of child recovered from Gaza ruins after Israeli bombardment
Members of a medical team in Gaza have recovered from under the rubble the body of another child following Israel’s bombardment of residential property in al-Shati refugee camp.
Several people remain missing and are believed to be buried under the rubble of the bombing site.
Thousands gather in Nablus to denounce Israeli occupation
Thousands of Palestinians marched to denounce the continued Israeli occupation and the ongoing bombardment of Gaza.
The protesters were heading home after dawn prayers when they joined the march in the city of Nablus, according to a video posted on social media by Safa Press agency.
📹 متابعة صفا| مسيرة حاشدة في نابلس بعد صلاة الفجر العظيم نصرة لغزة ودعما للمقاومة pic.twitter.com/BaHCZr6G8H
— وكالة صفا (@SafaPs) May 15, 2021
Israeli airstrike hits home in Shujayea
Safa Press agency reported that an Israeli air raid has hit and destroyed a house in the Shujayea neighbourhood of Gaza City.
There were no immediate reports on casualties.
Shujayea was the site of heavy Israeli bombardment in 2014 that killed several civilians. The incident was described as a “massacre”.