- 22 people, including four children, injured when the building in Gaza City was hit by at least two missiles
- Seven-storey office block and a shopping centre were also bombed in the southern town of Rafah this morning
- Residents received an automated phone call telling them buildings harbouring militants would be targeted
- Attacks mark the first time Israeli forces have targeted tall buildings since fighting began on July 8
- A total of eight people killed in today’s airstrikes, Palestinian health officials confirm
- Four homes, one belonging to a Hamas member, destroyed in an air strike in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis
- Strike on a car kills Mohammed al-Ghoul, described as Hamas official responsible for ‘terror fund transactions’
- Mother and her three children killed when their home in the Jabalya refugee camp was bombed
Israeli airstrikes leveled a 12-floor apartment block in Gaza City, injuring 22 people including four children, after residents were reportedly given just ten minutes’ warning to get out.
The tower block, containing 44 flats, collapsed in a cloud of fire and smoke after it was hit by at least two missiles, and was followed just hours later by the bombing of a seven-storey office building as well as a shopping centre in the southern town of Rafah early this morning.
The latest series of strikes, which have killed a total of eight people, have signaled a new escalation in seven weeks of fighting, with the targeting of large buildings apparently a new military tactic by Israel.
Destroyed: A 12-storey apartment block collapses in a cloud of fire and smoke after it was hit by at least two missiles in Gaza City. Some 22 people, including four children were injured in the attack, which came after residents were given just ten minutes’ warning that they should evacuate
Further attacks: Early this morning a seven-storey office building and shopping centre were destroyed by airstrikes in the southern town of Rafah
Blaze: Smoke and fire can be seen billowing from the site of the shopping centre in Rafah, which was gutted by flames following the airstrike
Over the weekend, the army began warning Gaza residents in automated phone calls that it would target buildings harboring ‘terrorist infrastructure’ and that they should stay away.
A senior military official confirmed that Israel has a policy of striking at buildings containing Hamas operational centers or those from which military activities are launched. The official said each strike required prior approval from military lawyers and is carried out only after the local population is warned.
However, the official – speaking anonymously – said, there was now a widening of locations that the military can target.
Warning: A senior military official confirmed that Israel has a policy of striking at buildings containing Hamas operational centers or those from which military activities are launched. The official said each strike required prior approval from military lawyers and is carried out only after the local population is warned
Elsewhere, five rockets were fired from Syria and fell in open areas in northern Israel. It was not immediately clear whether they were fired by pro-government forces or rebel groups.
Amid persistent violence, Egypt has continued to urge Israel and the Palestinians to resume indirect talks in Cairo on a durable cease-fire, but has stopped short of issuing invitations.
Several rounds of indirect talks between Israel and Hamas have collapsed, along with the temporary cease-fires that accompanied them. The gaps between Israel and the Islamic militant group on a new border deal for blockaded Gaza remain vast, and there has been no sign that either is willing to budge.
Treatment: The injured man is given medical help by emergency workers after he was carried away from the site of the blast
Disbelief: A man walks past the remains of the building, where items such as curtains and furniture can be seen amidst the rubble
The Israeli military said it had carried out some 20 strikes on Gaza since midnight on Saturday.
In Rafah, Israeli aircraft bombed the seven-story Zourab building, which houses an office of the Hamas-run Interior Ministry. Witnesses said the building was levelled and that the strikes caused severe damage to nearby shops, homes and cars.
Another strike hit a nearby shopping center with dozens of shops, sparking a fire that gutted the two-story building. After daybreak this morning, smoke was still rising from the site as shop owners inspected the damage, while windows and doors in neighbouring buildings had been blown out.
Palestinian officials said three people were injured.
Sombre: The U.N. estimates that more than 17,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged beyond repair since the war began on July 8. In some of the attacks, family homes with three or four floors were razed to the ground
Rescue mission: Palestinian firefighters work to reopen a main road in front of the rubble of al-Zafer apartment tower
Death toll: More than 2,100 Palestinians, including close to 500 children, have been killed, according to Palestinian health officials and U.N. figures. Israel has lost 64 soldiers and four civilians
Morning after: A young Palestinian boy looks out of a car window as it drives past the rubble of the residential tower
Danger: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today warned Gaza residents to leave any site where Palestinian militants were operating, saying the locations could be attacked
Drama: Israeli aircraft had first fired a non-explosive rocket at the building, a sign to residents to get out, before attacking it on Saturday
Waste: A pile of debris where the ravaged apartment building once stood
The military said the two buildings were attacked because they housed facilities linked to militants, but did not provide details. The Gaza City apartment tower toppled yesterday was targeted because a Hamas command center operated from there, the army said.
Video footage taken close to the scene showed a huge explosion as the Al Zafer building was engulfed in a fireball and collapsed in a cloud of smoke and dust.
Israeli aircraft had first fired a non-explosive rocket at the building, a sign to residents to get out, before attacking it on Saturday.
Israel launched more air strikes on Gaza on Sunday, killing eight Palestinians, medical officials said.
Gutted: A Palestinian woman and child look at the charred remains of a car that was targeted by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City this morning
Charred remains: Palestinians gather around what is left of the shopping centre as they picked through the rubble at the site
Wrecked: Once filled with shoppers, the two-storey commercial centre has been completely gutted by fire
Reasoning: Israel says it is targeting sites linked to militants, including rocket launchers, command centers and weapons depots. The U.N. says about three-quarters of the Palestinians killed have been civilians
Calls for peace: Egypt has called on Israel and the Palestinians to halt hostilities and resume peace talks, but both sides kept up attacks
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today warned Gaza residents to leave any site where Palestinian militants were operating, saying the locations could be attacked.
‘I call on the inhabitants of Gaza to vacate immediately every site from which Hamas is carrying out terrorist activity. Every one of these places is a target for us,’ he said during a broadcast.
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin today joined the hundreds of mourners who attended the funeral of a four-year-old Israeli boy, Daniel Tregerman, who was killed by a mortar bomb close to the Gaza border on Friday.
Hours after Mr Netanyahu spoke, a cluster of four homes, one belonging to a Hamas member, was destroyed in an air strike in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, neighbours said.
Ten people were wounded by flying debris, but no fatalities were reported. Neighbours said about ten minutes before the attack, a warning missile was fired and residents fled.
Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra, who confirmed the casualty figures for the strikes, said two people were killed in a pair of airstrikes near a coastal road on Sunday, including one on a group of people coming out of a mosque after morning prayers.
Two more people died when a motorcycle following a car evacuating the wounded from the strikes was targeted, he said.
Another man was killed in an airstrike on a car, while an 18-month-old toddler and a 17-year-old were killed in an airstrike on an apartment building in Gaza City. Three people were killed in an airstrike on a house in Deir el-Balah in central Gaza, police said.
In Gaza City, an Israeli strike on a car killed Mohammed al-Ghoul, described by the Israeli military as a Hamas official responsible for ‘terror fund transactions’. U.S. dollars were found in the wrecked vehicle, witnesses said.
Parents: The parents of Daniel Tregerman, a four-year-old Israeli boy killed by a mortar bomb yesterday comfort one another before his funeral today
Mouring: Family members grieve for the youngster, who was the first Israeli casualty since the collapse of the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas
Support: Family members comfort one another as they lay Daniel to rest
Funeral: The family of Daniel Tregerman stand close to his grave after the four-year-old’s burial ceremony in Hevel Shalom, Israel, today
Ghoul was targeted three days after Israel assassinated three top Hamas commanders in the southern Gaza Strip.
Militants kept up constant rocket and mortar strikes on southern Israel, wounding three Israelis at the Erez border crossing with the Gaza Strip. The military said more than 70 rockets were launched on Sunday alone.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described Netanyahu’s warnings to Gazans to steer clear of potential targets ‘a clear example of war crimes’ against Gaza’s civilian population.
The U.N. estimates that more than 17,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged beyond repair since the war began on July 8. In some of the attacks, family homes with three or four floors were razed to the ground.
However, the weekend strikes marked the first time large buildings were toppled.
Since the fighting began, Israel has launched some 5,000 airstrikes at Gaza, while Gaza militants have fired close to 4,000 rockets and mortars, according to the Israeli military.
More than 2,100 Palestinians, including close to 500 children, have been killed, according to Palestinian health officials and U.N. figures. Israel has lost 64 soldiers and four civilians.
Explosion: A house in the Al-Shatea refugee camp in Gaza City is struck in an apparent Israeli airstrike, sending debris flying through the air
Carnage: Clothing, bricks and pieces of furniture are hurled through the air in the force of the blast, which killed a mother and her three children
Explosion: A thick cloud of dust is formed as the building collapses following the strike on the house. It was not immediately clear why the dwelling was hit, and neighbours said no warning was given
Clearing: As the smoke clears, the remains of the property can be seen through the thick dust
Blast: Palestinians take cover behind a tree as they shield themselves from the blast
Israel says it is targeting sites linked to militants, including rocket launchers, command centers and weapons depots. The U.N. says about three-quarters of the Palestinians killed have been civilians.
Many families in Gaza have been sheltering at U.N.-run schools, and the start of the school year has been delayed indefinitely by the Gaza Education Ministry.
Scott Anderson, Deputy Director of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said although school has been cancelled, instruction could be provided by other means.
‘It is very important that we use our satellite channel, our Internet active learning program, the computer labs and the self-help material – all these lessons we learnt in Syria and they have proved to be very successful there,’ he said, referring to remote schooling during Syria’s civil war.
Innocents: Palestinian children line up in the courtyard of a UN school, that has become a shelter for hundreds of families
Tragedy: Around 500 Palestinian children have been killed since fighting started on July 8
War: Hamas has said it will not stop fighting until the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza is lifted. Both Israel and Egypt view Hamas as a security threat and are reluctant to make sweeping concessions without guarantees weapons will not enter the economically crippled enclave