Israel says it will step up strikes on Hamas tunnels despite cease-fire calls

The Israeli military on Tuesday said it plans to expand its bombardment of the Hamas tunnel networks that run under civilian areas in Gaza in the coming days despite calls for a cease-fire

Here’s what to know:

  • The Palestinian death toll in Gaza climbed to 213, including at least 61 children, according to local health officials. In the West Bank, at least 17 Palestinians have been killed since Friday, officials there said.
  • The death toll in Israel climbed to 12, including two children. Two Thai workers were killed Tuesday by rockets fired from Gaza, police said.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that the Biden administration had “received further information” regarding Israel’s strike on a high-rise building in Gaza that hosted offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera. He declined to comment further.
  • Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Israel staged a general strike Tuesday to protest Israel’s air campaign in Gaza and the ongoing occupation. Clashes erupted between Israeli soldiers and protesters in the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Ramallah.
  • President Biden joined calls for a cease-fire Monday, urging both Israel and Hamas to “protect innocent civilians” in a subtle rebuke of Israel. House Democrats will ask the Biden administration to halt the sale of precision-guided missiles to Israel pending a review, according to Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli military said 62 fighter jets dropped 110 “guided armaments” overnight on targets in Gaza, focusing on the Hamas tunnel network that snakes under densely populated territory.

President Biden has joined growing international calls for a cease-fire, but there was no sign the operation was coming to an end. Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus called the tunnels the “backbone” of Hamas’s operations and said the campaign to obliterate the subterranean network “will be expanded” in the coming days.

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