Explosive experts delicately removed an Israeli missile from a home today after the device crashed into a property in Gaza and landed unexploded on a double bed.
Teams from the Palestinian Interior Ministry carefully used a crane to remove the rocket after it crashed into the house in Khan Yunis, which lies in the southern Gaza Strip.
Shocking images showed rock and debris strewn across the bedroom of the house as experts tried to neutralise the device.
The scenes came as Israel unleashed another wave of air strikes across the Gaza Strip and Hamas fired more rockets as violent clashes continued.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back against calls from the US to wind down the Gaza offensive, appearing determined to inflict maximum damage on Hamas.
But officials close to the negotiations say they expect a truce to be announced in the next 24 hours.
An explosive experts attempts to neutralise the Israeli missile after it crashed into a house in Khan Yunis, which lies in the southern Gaza Strip
The team of experts carefully used a crane to remove the rocket after it crashed into the house in Khan Yunis
An expert examines the Israeli missile after it landed unexploded into a house in the Gaza strip
Teams from the Palestinian Interior Ministry arrived to the property in Gaza after the rocket landed unexploded on a double bed
In another possible sign of progress, Mr Netanyahu scheduled a meeting later on Thursday with his Security Cabinet, where the issue of a ceasefire is likely to be debated.
Today explosions shook Gaza City and orange flares lit up the pre-dawn sky, with bombing raids also reported in the central town of Deir al-Balah and the southern town of Khan Yunis.
As the sun rose, residents surveyed the rubble from at least five family homes destroyed in Khan Yunis. There were also heavy air strikes on a commercial thoroughfare in Gaza City.
The Israeli military said it struck at least three homes of Hamas commanders in Khan Yunis and another in Rafah, targeting ‘military infrastructure’ as well as a weapons storage unit at a home in Gaza City.
With hundreds already killed in the worst fighting since Israel and Hamas’ 2014 war, US President Joe Biden told Israel that he expected ‘a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire’ – but Mr Netanyahu pushed back, saying he was ‘determined to continue this operation until its aim is met’.
It marked the first public rift between the two close allies since the fighting began and poses a difficult test of the US-Israel relationship early in Mr Biden’s presidency.
Still, an Egyptian intelligence official said a ceasefire is likely late on Thursday or early Friday, after the US appeal bolstered Cairo’s own efforts to halt the fighting.
The unexploded Israeli missile crashed into the house as violent clashes between the two nations continued
Rock and debris were left strewn across the bedroom of the house as experts tried to neutralise the device
A crane is used to carefully remove the unexploded missile from the home in Gaza
The scenes came as explosions shook Gaza City and orange flares lit up the pre-dawn sky, with bombing raids also reported in the central town of Deir al-Balah
Khalid Okasha, director of the Egyptian Centre for Strategic Studies, which has close ties to the government, also said a ceasefire was likely in that timeframe, as did Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official.
Visiting the region, German foreign minister Heiko Maas said Israel has ‘the right to defend itself against such unacceptable attacks’. But he also expressed concern about the rising number of civilian victims and voiced support for truce efforts.
United Nations Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland was also in the Gulf state of Qatar to help press forward with efforts to restore calm, a diplomatic official said.
Yesterday, Israeli strikes on Gaza killed seven people including a disabled man, his pregnant wife and their three-year-old child, the health ministry said.
Another person died of wounds sustained the day before, the ministry in Gaza told AFP.
In New York, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged for an immediate ceasefire, speaking at the start of a UN General Assembly emergency meeting.
A Palestinian man walks through the rubble after buildings were damaged during Israeli strikes
Plumes of smoke rise into the air following Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City on May 20
He called on Israel and Hamas ‘to allow for mediation efforts to intensify in order to bring the fighting to an end’.
The current round of fighting between Israel and Hamas began on May 10, when the militant group fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Heavy-handed police tactics at the compound and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers had inflamed tensions.
Since then, Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes that it says have targeted Hamas’ infrastructure, and Hamas and other militant groups embedded in residential areas have fired more than 3,700 rockets at Israeli cities.
At least 227 Palestinians have been killed, including 64 children and 38 women, with 1,620 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not break the numbers down into fighters and civilians.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad say at least 20 of their fighters have been killed, while Israel says the number is at least 130. Some 58,000 Palestinians have fled their homes.
Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and a soldier, have been killed.