According to the Associated Press, Israel launched a fierce military offensive in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing up to ten senior Hamas military leaders and toppling a pair of high-rise towers housing Hamas facilities in a series of airstrikes.
In the latest escalation in Israel-Hamas fighting in Gaza, Israeli airstrikes toppled the majority of a large high-rise building in central Gaza City, killing at least 48 Palestinians, including 14 children and three women. Over 300 people have been injured, with 86 children and 39 women among them.
The collapse of a Gaza building was broadcast on Israeli television, with commentators predicting a missile barrage from Gaza militants. According to AFP, Hamas has said it has fired 130 rockets at Israel in response to Israeli attacks.
Earlier in the day, Israeli military airstrikes in Gaza and Khan Younis claimed the lives of many top Hamas militant commanders. On Wednesday, the army issued a statement claiming that it had carried out a “intensive and first-of-its-kind operation.” Those targeted, it said, were “key members of the Hamas General Staff” who were close to the group’s military wing’s leader.
As Hamas and other Palestinian militants fired numerous missile barrages at Tel Aviv and Beersheba, Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza into Wednesday morning. The level of violence has risen, with 43 Palestinians killed in Gaza and five in Israel as a result of airstrikes. After they were rebuilt, one multi-story residential building in Gaza collapsed and another was severely damaged. Israel confirmed that its jets had targeted and killed several Hamas intelligence leaders early on Wednesday.