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Israel strikes Gaza tunnels as truce efforts remain elusive

Israeli soldiers gather at a staging ground near the border with the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Sunday, May 16, 2021.

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will “continue to strike terror targets” in the Gaza Strip after a week of fighting with Palestinians.

In an address after meeting with top defense officials, Netanyahu said Monday that Israel will “continue to operate as long as necessary in order to return calm and security to all Israeli citizens.”

The fighting broke out May 10, when Hamas fired long-range rockets at Jerusalem after weeks of clashes in the holy city between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police.

Also on Monday, the United States again blocked a proposed U.N. Security Council statement calling for an end to “the crisis related to Gaza” and the protection of civilians, especially children.

Council diplomats said there was a 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) deadline Monday for countries to comment on the statement and Washington objected to it.

At a high-level emergency council meeting on Sunday, there were near unanimous calls for an end to the week-long conflict.

The proposed council press statement by China, Norway and Tunisia, obtained by The Associated Press, didn't name Israel or Gaza’s Hamas rulers, instead expressing “grave concern” at the Gaza crisis and the loss of civilian lives and casualties.

The U.S. says it's "engaging in intense diplomatic efforts at the highest levels to try to bring an end to this conflict.”

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