Richard Ginika Izuo
Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to sustain airstrikes on Palestine to teach recalcitrant Hamas militants a bitter lesson.
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people Sunday, medics said; as Netanyahu signaled the fourth war between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza would rage on despite international efforts to broker a cease-fire.
In a televised address, Netanyahu said Sunday evening the attacks were continuing at “full-force” and will “take time.“ Israel “wants to levy a heavy price” from Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers; he said, flanked by his defense Minister and political rival, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, in a show of unity.
The Israeli air assault early Sunday was the deadliest single attack since heavy fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas nearly a week ago; marking the worst fighting here since the devastating 2014 war in Gaza.
The airstrikes hit a major downtown street of residential buildings and storefronts over the course of five minutes after midnight; destroying two adjacent buildings and one about 50 yards (meters) down the road.
At one point, a rescuer shouted, “Can you hear me?” into a hole in the rubble. “Are you OK?”
Minutes later, first responders pulled a survivor out and carried him off on an orange stretcher.
The Gaza Health Ministry said 16 women and 10 children were among those killed; with more than 50 people wounded, and rescue efforts are still underway.
Earlier, the Israeli military said it destroyed the home of Gaza’s top Hamas leader; Yahiyeh Sinwar, in a separate strike in the southern town of Khan Younis.
It was the third such attack in the last two days on the homes of senior Hamas leaders; who have gone underground.
Israel appears to have stepped up strikes in recent days to inflict as much damage as possible on Hamas as international mediators work to end the fighting and stave off an Israeli ground invasion of the territory. But targeting the group’s leaders could hinder those efforts. A U.S. diplomat is in the region to try to de-escalate tensions, and the U.N. Security Council is set to meet Sunday.
In its airstrikes, Israel has leveled a number of Gaza City’s tallest office and residential buildings; alleging they contain Hamas military infrastructure.
Among them was the building housing The Associated Press office and those of other media outlets.
The latest outbreak of violence began in east Jerusalem last month; when Palestinian protests and clashes with police broke out in response to Israeli police tactics during Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of; Palestinian families by Jewish settlers.
A focal point of clashes was the Al-Aqsa Mosque; a frequent flashpoint that is located on a hilltop compound that is revered by both Muslims and Jews.
Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem late Monday, triggering the Israeli assault on impoverished Gaza; which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians and has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power from rival Palestinian forces in 2007.
At least 188 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including 55 children and 33 women, with 1,230 people wounded.
Eight people in Israel have been killed, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier.