Explosions light up the night sky in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave early on Tuesday. AFP
The UN Security Council was due to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday amid a flurry of urgent diplomacy aimed at stemming hostilities between Israel and armed Palestinian groups that have left over 200 dead, most of them Palestinian.
Israeli jets kept up a barrage of air strikes against the Palestinian enclave of Gaza on Monday evening, as a week of violence pushed world leaders to step up mediation.
President Joe Biden expressed support for a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers in a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but he stopped short of demanding an immediate stop to the eight days of Israeli air strikes and Hamas rocket barrages.
Palestinian medics run amidst debris on the ground during Israeli air strikes on Gaza City on Monday. AFP
Air strikes sent dust clouds billowing into the skyline, as the Hamas group that controls the besieged and densely populated coastal strip threatened more rocket strikes on Tel Aviv if bombing of residential areas does not stop.
In a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night, US President Joe Biden said he backed a ceasefire, shortly after diplomats said Washington had blocked a third draft of a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to the violence.
In total 212 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including at least 61 children.
Biden's carefully worded statement, in a White House readout Monday of his second known call to Netanyahu in three days as the attacks pounded on, came with the administration under pressure to respond more forcefully despite its determination to wrench the U.S. foreign policy focus away from Middle East conflicts.
Gaza resident Roba Abu al-Awf, 20, said she was bracing for a rough night.
"We have nothing to do but sit at home," she said. "Death could come at any moment -- the bombing is crazy and indiscriminate."
Flags of the United Nations and the United States of America are seen in New York City. AFP
Israel launched its air campaign on the Gaza Strip on May 10 after the enclave's rulers, Hamas group, fired rockets towards the Jewish state, an escalation sparked by unrest in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
In total 212 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including at least 61 children, and more than 1,400 wounded — whilst in Israel, ten people have died, including one child, with hundreds injured, according to officials on both sides.
Tuesday's emergency UNSC session — the fourth since the conflict escalated — was called after the United States, a key Israel ally, blocked the adoption of a joint statement calling for a halt to the violence for the third time in a week on Monday.
Since the conflict began on Friday, 31 Palestinians — including six children — have been killed, while 275 people have been wounded, said health authorities.
Gaza medical officials said 34 Palestinians had been killed in the two days of fighting, almost half of them civilians. Dozens of Israelis were injured.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) called on Israeli authorities to halt escalation and avoid exacerbating tension and instability in the region.
A number of senior officials and members of the UAE Embassy in the Sultanate of Oman were also among the recipients.
More than 13,500 people - about 12% of the region's population - have fled across the border since Azerbaijan’s swift military operation to fully reclaim the region after three decades of separatist rule, Armenia's government said Tuesday morning.
President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a message of condolences to Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of Kuwait, on the death of Sheikh Mubarak Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The two-day event will bring together over 3,000 distinguished attendees including influential media personalities, ministers and heads of leading local, Arab and international media organisations, as well as thought leaders, intellectuals and writers.