Israeli warplanes destroyed the Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least eight children in a refugee camp and clad a skyscraper housing international media offices when Hamas fired another rocket fire at central Israel.
For the sixth time in a row, the bombings have raised fears of a return to all-out war between Israel and the militant group Hamas.
US diplomat Hady Amr arrived in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv on Saturday to meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials to urge calm.
A missile hit a neighborhood in central Israel’s Ramat Gan, where raw materials showed fire and debris on the streets. Magen David ambulance service said a man died on the scene.
The Hamas rocket fire in central Israel occurred just hours after the Israeli air strike on the al-Shati refugee camp west of Gaza City. In addition to the eight children killed, two adults died in the strike, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. This is one of the deadliest isolated incidents since the long-running conflict between Israel and Hamas earlier this week.
Mohammed Hadidi told reporters that his wife and five children went to celebrate Eid al-Fitr with relatives, according to the Associated Press. She and three of the children, ages 6-14, were killed while an 11-year-old was missing, he said. It was known that only his 5 month old son Omar survived.
Live footage later showed an Israeli air strike that destroyed a skyscraper that housed the offices of the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in the Gaza Strip. The AP said the building was hit about an hour after the Israeli military ordered the evacuation of the building, which also housed other offices and apartments.
The final chapter of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, was sparked by riots in Jerusalem. Since Monday, Hamas has fired more than 2,300 rockets at Israel and the Israeli military has hit Gaza with air strikes.
At least 129 Palestinians – including 39 children – were killed in the Gaza Strip. Nine people were killed in Israel. Hundreds were wounded on both sides.
While the clashes were largely confined to Gaza, they spread across the West Bank on Friday. Eleven people died and more than 250 were injured on Friday, according to health officials.
Intermunicipal violence has now spread to several cities and neighborhoods in Israel. Scenes of vigilante groups striking out and hurling stones have unsettled the nation and sparked appeals for calm, but showed no sign of easing. According to police, 15 people were arrested overnight in the city of Lod for involvement in rioting, while a number of rioters were also arrested in East Jerusalem.
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The Palestinians will celebrate Nakba Day on Saturday, which commemorates the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people during the founding of Israel in 1948. Demonstrations in support of their cause are also planned in several cities around the world, including London and Berlin.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned Friday that more attacks were coming, saying that Hamas “has attacked our capital, they have sent rockets into our city, they are paying a high price for it”
The Israeli military has called up 9,000 reservists and gathered troops along the Gaza border. While there was alarm and confusion late Thursday after the Israeli military announced that “ground forces” were attacking the area, the military later made it clear that its forces were within its country’s borders.
Lawahez Jabari, Paul Goldman and The Associated Press contributed.