An Israeli airstrike on Friday destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed the offices of the Associated Press and other media outlets. This is the last step by the military to silence reporting from the territory during the battle with the militant group Hamas.
The strike took place almost an hour after the military ordered people to leave the building, which also housed Al Jazeera, other offices and residential apartments. As a result of the impact, the entire 12-story building collapsed, collapsing in a giant cloud of dust. There was no direct explanation for the attack.
The strike came just hours after another Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp in Gaza City killed at least 10 large Palestinians, mostly children, in the deadliest single strike in the current conflict. Both sides sought to gain an advantage as ceasefire efforts gained momentum.
The latest outbreak of violence began in Jerusalem and spread throughout the region, with Jewish-Arab clashes and riots in Israel’s mixed cities. Massive Palestinian protests also took place in the occupied West Bank on Friday, in which 11 people were shot and killed by Israeli forces.
The growing violence has raised fears of a new Palestinian “intifada” or uprising at a time when peace talks had not been held for many years. On Saturday, the Palestinians celebrated the Day of the Nakba (disaster) when they commemorate the roughly 700,000 people who were expelled from their homes or fled from their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war associated with its creation. This increased the likelihood of even more concern.
US diplomat Hadi Amr arrived on Friday as part of Washington’s efforts to de-escalate the conflict, and the UN Security Council was due to meet on Sunday. But Israel rejected Egypt’s offer for a one-year truce that Hamas rulers accepted, an Egyptian official said Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the talks.
Since Monday evening, Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, which has struck the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, at least 139 people were killed, including 39 children and 22 women; in Israel killed eight people, including a man killed on Saturday in a rocket explosion in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv.
The attack on the building that houses the media offices occurred in the afternoon, after the owner of the building received a call from the Israeli military warning that he would be hit. AP personnel and others in the building were immediately evacuated.
Al Jazeera, a news network funded by the Qatari government, broadcast live air strikes when the building collapsed.
“There will be no silence on this channel. “Al Jazeera will not be silenced,” said the TV presenter, her voice full of emotion. “We can guarantee you that right now.”
Earlier on Saturday, an airstrike on a three-story house in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City killed eight children and two women from a large family.
Mohammed Hadidi told reporters that his wife and five children went to celebrate Eid al-Adha with relatives. She and three children between the ages of 6 and 14 died, and an 11-year-old boy went missing. It is known that only his five-month-old son, Omar, survived.
Among the ruins were children’s toys and the board game “Monopoly”, as well as plates of uneaten food from the festive gathering.
“There was no warning,” said Jamal al-Naji, a neighbor who lives in the same building.
“You filmed people eating and then bombed them?” he said, addressing Israel. “Why are you opposing us? Go and fight strong people! “
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hamas said it fired a missile salvo at southern Israel in response to the airstrike.
Violent Israeli shelling early Friday killed a family of six in their home and sent thousands to flee to UN shelters. The military said that 160 combat aircraft participated in the operation, dropping about 80 tons of explosives in 40 minutes, and they managed to destroy the extensive network of tunnels used by Hamas.
Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said the military is committed to minimizing collateral damage when it hits military targets. But measures taken in other strikes, such as warning shots to force civilians to leave, were “impracticable” this time.
Israeli media reported that dozens of militants were killed in the tunnels, according to the military. Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants confirmed that 20 people were killed in their ranks, but the military said the real number was much higher.
Gaza’s infrastructure, already in widespread destruction due to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas’ seizure of power in 2007, is showing signs of further destruction, exacerbating the suffering of residents. The only power plant on the site may run out of fuel in the coming days.
The UN said Gazans already suffer daily power outages of 8-12 hours, and at least 230,000 people have limited access to piped water. The impoverished and densely populated area is home to 2 million Palestinians, most of whom are descendants of refugees from what is now Israel.
The conflict received widespread resonance. Violence occurs at night in Israeli cities with a mixed Arab and Jewish population, with crowds from each community fighting in the streets and trashing each other’s property.