United nations secretary general António Guterres has tweeted calling for “an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities in Gaza and Israel”.
Guterres appealed for the ceasefire “out of respect for the spirit of Eid”:
Eid al-Fitr, which began on Wednesday night and continues into Thursday night, marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and is usually a time of celebration.
So to summarise what has happened in the past few hours.
The Israeli defence force tweeted at 1am (Gaza time: GMT+3) on Friday 14 May that “IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza strip”.
It was unclear from this statement whether there were Israeli boots on the ground in Gaza, and over the past few hours we have received extensive footage and reports of airstrikes in the Gaza strip by Israeli forces. Now the IDF has revised its statement to (the Times of Israel reports):
“There are currently no IDF ground troops inside the Gaza strip. IDF air and ground forces are carrying out strikes on targets in the Gaza strip.”
The IDF’s statement saying that there are currently no IDF ground troops inside the strip, per Judah Ari Gross, the Times of Israel’s military correspondent:
“Clarification: there are currently no IDF ground troops inside the Gaza strip. IDF air and ground forces are carrying out strikes on targets in the Gaza strip.”
This video from Palestinian journalist Aya Isleem shows the moment of attack by Israeli aircraft in Gaza (the Guardian has not verified this independently):
She has also posted these videos that capture the sound in Gaza at the moment (again, we have not verified these independently):
Here is our full report on what we know so far:
More on the US advising citizens not to travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories:
In a notice issued on Thursday, the US state department raised its travel advisory for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza to level 3 – “reconsider travel”. It had previously been at level 2, which recommends travelers “exercise increased caution”.
The revised alert cited continuing rocket fire from Gaza into areas across southern and central Israel, including Jerusalem, Israel’s military response to the attacks, and a “marked increase” in violence and protests throughout Israel.
“Protests and violence may continue to occur, some with little or no warning,” it said.
AFP reports that the Israeli army now says it has not entered the Gaza strip:
Journalist Anshel Pfeffer, who reports for Haaretz and the Economist, has tweeted: “The Israeli army’s line now, after a series of contradicting briefings over the last couple of hours, is that there are no Israeli troops actually inside the Gaza strip right now. Make of it what you will.”
The Al Quds newspaper reports, citing the public broadcaster KAN, that the US has “warned its citizens not to travel to Israel and is considering halting flights to Tel Aviv”:
According to Israeli media (Amichai Stein is a correspondent for KAN, Israel’s public broadcaster), an IDF spokesperson told his colleague that ground troops did not enter the Gaza strip:
What the IDF said in their tweet was that “IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip”.
Again, there is still confusion over whether this escalation signals the launch of a full-scale ground invasion of Gaza by Israel.
Journalist Anshel Pfeffer, who reports for Haaretz and the Economist, tweeted:
Some kind of Israeli ground offensive has began in the last hour in the Gaza Strip. It’s unclear at present what scale of forces, whether it’s the four brigades that were in staging-areas or a smaller force.
No confirmed details yet but this doesn’t like a large-scale incursion in to Gaza quite yet but something smaller.
Conflicting reports from different sources right now over whether the “ground attack” is actual boots on the ground or just ground forces (tanks, artillery) firing in to the Gaza Strip. We should know soon enough