A United States envoy headed by the US secretary for Israel-Palestinian affairs, Hady Amr, has arrived in Israel as part of efforts to de-escalate continued tensions in the region.

According to reports by The Guardian, Amr will hold talks with both Israeli officials and Palestinian leaders to encourage a “sustainable calm”.

The arrival of the envoy comes ahead of proposed United Nations Security Council meeting, scheduled to hold on Sunday 16 May, to discuss the increasing violence and attacks in Israel and Gaza.

The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield revealed this in a tweet on Friday, where she also stated the US commitment ” …to actively engage in diplomacy at the highest levels to try to de-escalate tensions.”

The UN noted more than 200 homes and 24 schools in Gaza had been destroyed or severely damaged in Israeli air raids which began on Monday. It also said residents’ access to water could be limited because of electricity blackouts and damage wrecked on pipe networks.

Hours after the arrival of the US envoy, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reported via its Twitter account that, “Barrages of rockets are being fired non-stop from Gaza into southern Israel. Tonight a rocket hits the city of Ashdod, see the damage for yourself. This won’t go unanswered.”

According to reports by Association Press, an Israeli air attack was indeed launched on Saturday. The attack on Gaza city killed eight children and two women in a destroyed three-storey building.

Militants in Gaza replied to the attack within hours, launching a heavy barrage of rockets into central Israel. Air raid sirens blared in Tel Aviv and other cities, while Israeli air defences intercepted the incoming fire with missiles