Israel bombed a house in Gaza where a family had gathered to celebrate the end of Ramadan and an office housing international media as a new flurry of Hamas missiles rained down on Tel Aviv Saturday, increasing fears that a de-escalation of the conflict could soon be out of reach.
Binyamin Netanyahu Israeli prime minister, blaming Hamas for starting nearly a week of hostilities by firing rockets at Israel, said on Saturday Israel will continue to strike in Gaza as long as necessary and do its utmost to avoid civilian casualties.
“The party that bears the guilt for this confrontation is not us, it’s those attacking us,” Mr Netanyahu said in a televised speech. “We are still in the midst of this operation, it is still not over and this operation will continue as long as necessary.”
“Unlike Hamas, which deliberately intends to harm civilians while hiding behind civilians, we are doing everything, but everything, to avoid or limit as much as possible harming civilians and to directly strike terrorists instead.”
Israel pounded Gaza on Saturday, destroying a tower block that housed news media organisations, while Palestinian rocket salvoes hit Tel Aviv with no sign of an end to almost a week of fighting.
Israeli airstrikes killed at least 140 people, including 39 children, have been killed in Gaza since the conflict erupted on Monday. Israel has reported 10 dead, including two children.
Israel’s military brought down a 12-storey block in Gaza City that housed the US Associated Press (AP) and Qatar-based Al Jazeera media operations, as well as other offices and apartments.
Israel gave advance warning of the strike so it could be evacuated. The Israeli military said later the building was a legitimate military target because it contained military assets of Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza.
The US told Israel “that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility,”
William Roache (Analysis Editor Newspresslive )