Missiles from an Israeli airstrike destroyed the 16-story al-Shorouk tower in the al-Rimal area, west of Gaza City, on the third day of the war with Hamas, reported NY Post.
The attack caused the structure of the building to be smashed. A cloud of black smoke appeared with the sound of Israeli warplanes flying overhead.
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) May 12, 2021
An hour earlier, residents had been warned that Israeli forces would attack the building with a powerful bomb that would “knock off the roof.”
The 16-story al-Shorouk tower that houses domestic and foreign media facilities and shops and apartments was also hit by rockets during Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza.
After Israeli police clashed with Palestinians near the al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, prompting Israel to launch its offensive.
Israel has previously used its military capabilities to try to target individual apartments or offices inside a house, but in “Operation Defenders of the Walls,” which began this week, they have attacked the entire structure.
Meanwhile, Hamas managed to fire missiles at Israel, most of which were intercepted by Israel’s sophisticated Iron Dome anti-missile defense system.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed 56 Palestinians were killed by Israeli airstrikes before the al-Shorouk tower was struck, including 14 children, five women, and one elderly person. There had been at least 335 casualties.
On the Israeli side, seven people were killed, including a 21-year-old soldier and a 6-year-old boy.
Late Wednesday, top Israeli security officials approved a proposal to “intensify military attacks” on Hamas.
“The campaign is still far from over,” a cabinet member told Israel’s Ynetnews. “Whatever we don’t do now, we will have to do in six months or a year from now.”
Another cabinet member said that “this will not end in the next few days.”
“Israel will not stop and has no interest in stopping. It is all moving in the right direction. We will act until they admit that opening fire was a mistake, just as Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah did after the Second Lebanon War in 2006,” the Jerusalem Post citing the politician reported.
Early on Thursday, Israel trained infantry troops along the Gaza border for a potential land invasion, while the military launched further airstrikes against Hamas targets.
Hamas announced that it had begun using a new rocket called Ayyash 250 that could reach any point in Israel, according to the Times of Israel.
Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing, said military chief Mohammad Deif called for “international airline companies to immediately cease their flights to any airport in occupied Palestine.”
“We tell the enemy: your airports and every point from northern Palestine to its south are in the reach of our rockets,” Obeida said.
On Thursday, the Israeli military said that 400 of the 1,600 rockets fired by Gaza groups had missed their target, possibly resulting in Palestinian civilian casualties.
According to the IDF, hundreds of those killed were terrorists, and some of the Palestinian deaths were caused by rockets that were misfired and did not hit Israel.
Israel accused Hamas of intentionally targeting military targets in heavily populated areas to use civilians as human shields.
“There is basically a city beneath a city in Gaza,” Israeli Army Spokesperson Jonathan Conricus said. “There’s an elaborate network of tunnels by Hamas and Islamic Jihad—mostly in the areas that are far from the border. The tunnels are used mostly for defensive purposes as a way to be out of our sight.”