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Is there any ceasefire on the horizon for Israel and Palestine?

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza leveled three buildings and killed dozens of people on Sunday, including children. Rocket fire from Gaza into Israel also continued with reports of up to 3,000 rockets fired since the start of the conflict. International allies, including members of the U.N. Security Council, are calling for a ceasefire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signaled the conflict with Hamas will continue “full force.” NPR Correspondent Daniel Estrin joins from Jerusalem to discuss the situation on the ground and when a ceasefire might be reached.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Earlier today I spoke with NPR Correspondent Daniel Estrin who is in Jerusalem. Daniel, can you tell us about the latest set of attacks?

  • Daniel Estrin:

    Well, today we saw the deadliest single attack since the start of the fighting in Gaza. It Took place overnight, and my colleague in Gaza described in the middle of the night hearing in central Gaza City these booms, these sounds that he's never heard before, a kind of 'boom, boom' and several multistory homes collapsed on the same street. This was just a couple blocks away from Al-Shifa Hospital, the main hospital in Gaza. And large extended families were trapped under the rubble. At least 37 people died. That number could rise, including eight children and 13 women. Rescue teams are still digging under the rubble, searching for survivors.

    We spoke to neighbors in the area who said that the Israeli military did not call and warn them of this attack as the Israeli military has done with other attacks. The Israeli military says that in this case, they were targeting underground Hamas infrastructure and that that infrastructure collapsed and when it collapsed, that the foundations of the homes above it also collapsed. We have seen other strikes as well. The home of the top Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahiyeh Sinwar, his home was bombed in an Israeli strike. All in all, Israel said that it has targeted so far fifteen hundred targets and in Gaza. And Palestinians told me that overnight the intensity of the bombings was something that they had never felt before in all the years that they've experienced these kinds of attacks and rounds of conflict.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    And what about the Israelis and how were they coping with the rocket attacks being launched at them?

  • Daniel Estrin:

    Well, so far, Israel says that more than 2,800 rockets have been launched at Israel. This is the highest number of rockets launched ever in such a short period of time. As we speak, there are no new deaths on the Israeli side today from rocket fire, but a lot of air raid sirens of towns along the Gaza border, Israeli towns. We'll hear the air raid siren and then they have about 15 seconds to run to a protected area in the Tel Aviv area. That's about a minute and a half that people have to run for safety. 90 percent of rockets have been intercepted midair, according to Israel. And that's because Israel has the Iron Dome anti-missile battery, which intercepts these rockets before they land.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Any idea how long this could last or the progress of any ceasefire talks?

  • Daniel Estrin:

    It appears that we're looking at days and not weeks. After yesterday's bombing of the Associated Press building, it seems to be that combined with the killing of a Palestinian family in an airstrike yesterday as well, led to more pressure to reach an immediate or ceasefire soon. Now, an official with the Palestinian Authority spoke with us and said that the US, Qatar, Egypt are all deeply involved in these negotiations and they want a cease-fire quickly, immediately, but that Israel has asked for more time. Today, the United Nations Security Council has met and most of those countries expected to push for an immediate ceasefire. The European Union has called an exceptional emergency meeting on Tuesday of EU foreign ministers. That seems to be kind of a deadline, putting a deadline in the sand, saying Tuesday is the day that we would not want to see any more fighting. And that could be a signal also to the US to pressure Israel to wrap this up.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Daniel Estrin from NPR, joining us from Jerusalem. Thanks so much.

  • Daniel Estrin:

    Thank you so much.

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