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Israel launches heavy airstrikes on Gaza as pressure increases on US to help broker cease-fire

Israeli forces launched a wave of airstrikes into the Gaza Strip early Monday morning as the country's ongoing conflict with Hamas, which controls the territory, continues.

Photos and videos of the attack showed the dark cityscape illuminated by explosions. The Associated Press reported explosions continued for about 10 minutes and that the attack was heavier, longer and more widespread than previous assaults.

Israeli troops confirmed the attack on Twitter, writing that "terror targets" were being struck by warplanes. Differing reports on social media alleged that roads and other critical pieces of infrastructure were being targeted as well.

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No reports of injuries were immediately available.

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The country's prime minister, Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE, said earlier Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" that Israeli troops were choosing targets meant to "degrade" Hamas militants' capabilities.

“I think any country has to defend itself and has a natural right of self-defense. We'll do whatever it takes to restore order and quiet, and on the security of our people in deterrence. We're trying to degrade Hamas’s terrorist abilities, and to degrade their will to do this again,” he said.

The latest series of airstrikes come a day after 42 Palestinians were killed in the deadliest day of hostilities so far.

Hamas has launched its own rockets toward civilian areas in Israel, including one that struck a synagogue in the city of Ashkelon. No injuries were reported.

Democrats in Congress have increased their calls for the Biden administration to orchestrate or call for a cease-fire, while the U.S. has for the last several days blocked efforts by China, Tunisia and Norway to release a joint United Nations Security Council statement calling for an end to the hostilities.

Some progressive members of the party have gone further, and accused the U.S. of being complicit in the deaths of Palestinian civilians.

Later Sunday, 28 Senate Democrats issued a statement calling for Israel's military and Hamas to reach a cease-fire agreement.