U.S. diplomat Hady Amr is due to meet with senior Israeli, Palestinian and UN officials to push for calm.
By Cassandra Vinograd
Israeli warplanes pounded the Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least eight children in a refugee camp and flattening a high-rise building housing the offices of international media outlets as Hamas unleashed a new barrage of rockets targeting central Israel.
The bombardments — for a sixth consecutive day — fed fears of a return to all-out war between Israel and the militant group Hamas.
U.S. diplomat Hady Amr arrived Saturday in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv to meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials to push for calm, though sirens blaring throughout the city to alert incoming rocket fire signaled the conflict showed no signs of abating.
One rocket hit a neighbourhood in central Israel’s Ramat Gan, where raw footage showed fire and debris in the streets. The Magen David ambulance service said one man died at the scene.
The Hamas rocket fire targeting central Israel came just hours after the Israeli airstrike on the al-Shati refugee camp to the west of Gaza City. In addition to the eight children killed, two adults died in the strike, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry — making it one of the deadliest single incidents since the long-running conflict between Israel and Hamas reignited earlier this week.
Mohammed Hadidi told reporters his wife and five children had gone to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday with relatives, according to the Associated Press. She and three of the children, aged 6 to 14, were killed, while an 11-year-old was missing, he said. Only his 5-month-old son Omar was known to have survived.
Live footage later showed an Israeli airstrike destroying a high-rise building 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 Israel’s military ordered people to evacuate the building, which was also home to other offices and apartments.
The latest chapter in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the militant group governing Gaza, was triggered by unrest in Jerusalem. Since Monday, Hamas has fired more than 2,300 missiles into Israel and Israel’s military has pummeled Gaza with airstrikes.
At least 129 Palestinians — including 39 children — have been killed in Gaza. In Israel, nine people have been killed. Hundreds have been wounded on both sides.