Israel has continued its attacks on the Gaza Strip contrary to claims by local sources that a cease-fire was reached. It launched a wave of airstrikes Monday across the Gaza Strip following rocket fire from the enclave, which injured seven Israelis north of Tel Aviv. A total of 500 houses in the Gaza Strip were damaged in the latest Israeli airstrikes, Palestine's public works minister said late Tuesday.
"In Israeli airstrikes against Gaza, 30 houses were completely destroyed and 500 houses were damaged," Mufeed al-Hasayneh said in a statement.
He added that they are working to remove any traces of the airstrikes "to alleviate the pain of the people."
Hamas announced late Monday that Egypt had managed to secure a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza-based resistance factions. While there was no comment from Egypt, several Israeli officials denied that a cease-fire deal had been reached.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army has sent reinforcements to the fraught Gaza-Israel buffer zone ahead of anticipated Palestinian demonstrations Saturday marking the first anniversary of Gaza's "Great Return" march.
Yesterday, Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee tweeted photos purporting to show large military encampments, teeming with soldiers and tanks, set up along the buffer zone.
He also posted video footage purportedly showing the arrival of fresh troops to the area.
According to Adraee, an additional infantry brigade and artillery battalion has been sent to the buffer zone in advance of Saturday's anticipated demonstration.
The U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process expressed concerns Tuesday that violence in Gaza may lead to devastating consequences.
"I am concerned that we may, once again, be facing another very dangerous escalation of violence in Gaza, with potentially catastrophic consequences," Nickolay Mladenov told the U.N. Security Council.
"The last two days show how precariously close we came to the brink of war once again," Mladenov said.
Mladenov, who also serves as the U.N. secretary-general's personal representative to the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, said the firing of rockets by Israel violates international law and must stop.
Mladenov urged all Palestinian factions to work with Egypt in order to implement the 2017 Cairo agreement, which, if enacted, would give the Palestinian Authority control over the Gaza Strip in exchange for an end to the sanctions placed on the strip, which includes electricity cuts.
Hamas has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, after winning the territory from Fatah in elections.
Mladenov further shared his concerns over the lack of progress on the two-state solution between Israel and Palestine, which is in line with U.N. resolutions.
"There is no viable alternative to the two-state solution," he said. "Creating conditions for the parties to return to meaningful negotiations remains critical."
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