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As Gaza Death Toll Rises, Biden Supports Cease-Fire

Israel launched another wave of airstrikes Monday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 17, 2021 6:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Israeli military unleashed another heavy wave of airstrikes Monday on the Gaza Strip, saying it destroyed militant tunnels and the homes of nine Hamas commanders. International diplomacy to end the weeklong war that has killed hundreds appeared to make little headway. Israel has said it will press on for now with its attacks against Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, and the United States signaled it would not pressure the two sides for a cease-fire. The latest attacks destroyed the five-story building housing the Hamas-run Religious Affairs Ministry, a building Israel said housed the main operations center of Hamas' internal security forces, the AP reports.

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At least 212 Palestinians have been killed in the week of airstrikes, including 61 children and 36 women, with more than 1,400 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy, have been killed in the ongoing rocket attacks launched from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel. President Biden expressed support for a cease-fire in a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, though he stopped short of joining the growing demands from Democrats and others for an immediate halt to the fighting, the AP reports. Biden also "encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians," according to a White House readout.

(Read more Gaza stories.)

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