A large residential tower block in Gaza has collapsed today after one of several dozen Israeli cross-border air strikes on Tuesday night, as Hamas vowed to turn Israel into ‘a hell’ amid an escalating conflict between the sides.
Earlier, rockets from Gaza killed two Israeli women following a night of cross-border strikes that recalled Israel and Gaza’s last major conflict in 2014. A third woman – a 50-year-old – was later killed in a Tel Aviv suburb.
Meanwhile, twenty-eight Palestinians – including ten children – have been killed in Israeli strikes, according to health officials in Gaza. The Israeli military claimed at least 16 of the dead were militants, while seven deaths have been attributed to the same family, including three children.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier ‘deplored’ the deaths of the two women in Israel, adding that Israel would ‘further increase both the intensity and the rate’ its own air strikes against Gaza.
‘Hamas will be hit in ways that it does not expect,’ Netanyahu said. ‘We have eliminated commanders, hit many important targets and we have decided to attack harder and increase the pace of attacks.’
The two women, one aged in her 60s, the other in her 80s, were killed in Israeli city Ashkelon, while the city’s Barzilai Medical Center said it was treating around 70 people. One of the woman was identified by The Jerusalem Post as Soumya Santhosh, an Indian national working in Israel as a caregiver.
Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said later a 50-year-old woman was killed when a rocket hit a building in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion.
After initial strikes from Gaza targeted Ashkelon, an Israeli city close to the border, Tel Aviv was under fire by late Tuesday from a barrage of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip. The outgoing volleys set off air raid sirens across the city, and the main international airport quickly closed.
Hamas said it launched a total of 130 rockets, its most intense strike so far, in response to Israel’s destruction of the 12-storey building in Gaza earlier in the evening.
The sound of the outgoing rockets could be heard in Gaza. As the rockets rose into the skies, mosques across Gaza blared with chants of ‘God is great,’ ‘victory to Islam’ and ‘resistance.’
One rocket struck a bus in the central city of Holon, just south of Tel Aviv. Medics said three people, including a five-year-old girl, were wounded and the bus went up in flames.
The cross-border violence has been fuelled by Israel’s evictions of Muslim communities living in east Jerusalem which led to angry riots breaking out on Temple Mount over the weekend, with hundreds left injured on Monday as riot police shot rubber bullets and fired tear gas at protesters.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump posted to his website, saying that America ‘will always strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself’ as he criticised President Joe Biden over the growing crisis.
Earlier, the White House had said the president was being briefed on the escalating situation.
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Source: Daily Mail