Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 33 more Palestinians on Sunday, medics said, making it the deadliest single attack since heavy fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas rulers nearly a week ago.
The Gaza Health Ministry said 12 women and eight children were among those killed, with another 50 people wounded in the attack, and says 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.
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.
At least 188 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including 55 children and 33 women, with 1,230 people wounded.
An Egyptian diplomat said Israel’s targeting of Hamas political leaders would complicate ceasefire efforts. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door negotiations, said Cairo is working to broker an end to the fighting, as are other international actors.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has affirmed its support for Israel while working to de-escalate the crisis. US diplomat Hady Amr met Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, who thanked the US for its support.
Israel has since carried out hundreds of airstrikes across impoverished Gaza, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians and has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since 2007.
On Saturday, Israel bombed the 13-storey Al Jala Building, where the office of The Associated Press was located. The building also housed the TV network Al Jazeera and other media outlets, along with several floors of apartments.