Israel kills 33 Palestinians, including 8 children, in 'single deadliest attack' on Gaza

Israel kills 33 Palestinians, including 8 children, in 'single deadliest attack' on Gaza
At least 33 people were killed in Israeli strikes which flattened three buildings in downtown Gaza on Sunday morning, medical sources have said.
3 min read
Rescuers rushed to find survivors after the Israeli strikes [AFP]
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 33 people on Sunday, medics said, making it the deadliest single attack since violence broke out between Israel and Hamas on Monday.

Ten women and eight children were among those killed, the Gaza Health Ministry said, adding that at least 50 people others were wounded in the bombardment.

The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers race to pull bodies from the rubble.

Earlier, the Israel said it destroyed the home of Gaza's top Hamas leader in a separate strike in the southern town of Khan Younis. It was the third such attack in the last two days on the alleged homes of Hamas leaders.

Israel said it struck the homes of Yehia Sinwar, the most senior Hamas leader inside the territory, and his brother Muhammad, another senior Hamas member.

On Saturday it destroyed the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a senior figure in Hamas' political branch.

Hamas' upper echelon has gone into hiding in Gaza, and it is unlikely any were at home at the time of the strikes. Hamas’ top leader, Ismail Haniyeh, divides his time between Turkey and Qatar.

An Egyptian diplomat said Israel’s targeting of Hamas political leaders would complicate ceasefire efforts.

The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity on the closed-door negotiations, said Cairo is working to broker an end to the violence. A US diplomat has also been dispatched to the region and the UN Security Council is set to meet on Sunday.

The Egyptian diplomat said that Israel's attempt to destroy Hamas' rocket capabilities would require a ground invasion that would "inflame the whole region".

Egypt, which made peace with Israel decades ago, has threatened to "suspend" cooperation in various fields, the official said, without elaborating.

Israel's deadly airstrikes on Gaza began following a series of provocations in east Jerusalem earlier this month.

Israeli settlers attempted to forcibly evict a number of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah area, leading to protests, and Israeli police attacked worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Read more: Fighting Israel's erasure of Palestinian identity in Jerusalem

Hamas launched rockets at Israel on Monday after hundreds of worshippers were injured by Israeli security forces at Al-Aqsa.

Israel, which boasts an effective Iron Dome air-defence system to protect itself from rocket attacks, has responded with deadly airstrikes.

The turmoil has also spilled over elsewhere, fuelling protests in the occupied West Bank and stoking violence within Israel between its Jewish and Palestinian citizens, with clashes and vigilante attacks on people and property.

At least 202 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including 53 children and 31 women, with more than 5,588 wounded, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA. In Israel, eight people have been killed.

Hamas and other Palestinian groups have fired some 2,900 rockets into Israel. The military said 450 of the rockets had fallen short or misfired, while Israeli air defences intercepted 1,150.

Israel has meanwhile carried out hundreds of airstrikes across the impoverished and blockaded territory, which is home to more than two million Palestinians, and brought down a number of high-rise buildings.

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