Israel fired shells towards Lebanon in response to rocket launches, as US President Joe Biden continued to press Israel and Hamas, which governs the Palestinian territory of Gaza, to agree to a ceasefire after a week of violence that has killed more than 200 people.
A Lebanese security source said Israel fired 22 shells towards Lebanon. Israeli security forces said six rockets had been fired from south Lebanon.
At least 212 people, including 61 children, have been killed in Gaza since violence erupted just over a week ago. Some 1,500 Palestinians have been wounded.
Israel has reported 10 dead, including two children.
Biden held his third phone conversation with Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he continued efforts to secure a ceasefire.
The White House said Biden “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians” and that the two leaders “discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza”.
Here are the latest updates:
Amnesty condemns US approval of arms sales to Israel
Human rights group Amnesty has condemned US plans to sell weapons worth $735m to Israel in the midst of the latest conflict with Palestinian armed groups saying the approval undermines the US commitment to upholding human rights around the world.
“By supplying weapons that could be used to commit war crimes, the US government is taking the risk of fueling further attacks against civilians and seeing more people killed or injured by US weapons,” Philippe Nassif, Amnesty International USA’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement urging Biden to reconsider the decision.
Israel shells southern Lebanon after failed rocket launches
Six shells were fired from Lebanon towards northern Israel on Monday but did not cross the border, the Israeli military said.
It said that in response, artillery was fired at “the sources of the launches” in Lebanon.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon said it had detected rocket fire around Rashaya Al Foukhar and urged all parties to “exercise maximum restraint”.
On Monday 17 May at around 1130pm, UNIFIL detected firing of rockets from general area of Rashaya Al Foukhar north of Kfar Chouba in s. Lebanon. Immediately after we were also informed by the parties.
IDF returned artillery fire directed at location from where rockets originated.
— UNIFIL (@UNIFIL_) May 17, 2021
Gaza images suggest Israel committing ‘war crimes’, law professor says
Ardi Imseis, a law professor at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, said Israel is responding with disproportionate force in the Gaza Strip and probably committing war crimes as a result.
“We have reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes are being committed, violations of international humanitarian law, primarily through lack of respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution,” Imseis told Al Jazeera.
The violations appear to come “primarily from the Israeli side, but not exclusively”, Imseis said.
US ‘delay’ in ceasefire support ‘has caused slaughter of children’: Ilhan Omar
US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said US President Joe Biden’s delay in expressing support for a ceasefire “has caused the slaughter of children and destruction of lives”.
The tweet came after Biden told Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call that he backed a ceasefire.
Finally!! Our delay in supporting a ceasefire has caused the slaughter of children and destruction of lives.
Now Biden has to push for an end to the occupation. https://t.co/pfgDoIfpK0
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) May 17, 2021
At least 61 children have died since Israel began its bombardment on May 10, following rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip and Israeli attacks on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem. Two children in Israel have also died.
Biden says he supports ceasefire, repeats support for Israel
US President Joe Biden “expressed his support for a ceasefire” during a conversation with Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday afternoon, according to a White House readout of the conversation.
Biden also “welcomed efforts to address intercommunal violence and to bring calm to Jerusalem” and “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians”.
Israel has come under criticism for the civilian death toll during its air raids.
Still, Biden “reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks”, the readout said.
For all the updates from Monday, May 17, click here.