HomeWORLD NEWSIsrael Pounds Gaza, Hits Media Building Housing AP And Jazeera

Israel Pounds Gaza, Hits Media Building Housing AP And Jazeera

Israeli air strikes pounded the Gaza Strip Saturday, killing 10 members of an extended family and demolishing a building housing international media outlets, as Palestinian militants fired back barrages of rockets.

On the sixth day since the conflict escalated, the death toll rose and violence also swept the occupied West Bank as a US envoy prepared to hold talks with officials seeking a de-escalation.

Despite intensifying diplomatic efforts, Israel’s fighter jets struck several sites in the densely-populated Gaza Strip which it has blockaded for more than a decade, while Palestinian Islamists unleashed rockets again towards Israel, killing one.

Balls of flame reached high into the sky as Israel’s air force on Saturday afternoon flattened a 13-floor building housing Qatar-based Al Jazeera television and the Associated Press news agency in the Gaza Strip, after giving a warning to evacuate.

“Clearly there is a decision not only to sow destruction and killing, but also to silence those who broadcast it,” Walid al-Omari, Al Jazeera head for Israel and the occupied territories, said.

Jawad Mehdi, the owner of the Jala Tower, said an Israeli intelligence officer warned him he had just one hour to ensure the evacuation of the building.

Israel claimed that “military intelligence” of Hamas, the Gaza Strip’s Islamist rulers, were also in the building.

Earlier, an Israeli strike on a three-storey building in the Shati refugee camp killed 10 members of an extended family — two related mothers and their four children each. Israel’s army said the building was used by “Hamas terror organisation senior officials”.

Mohammed al-Hadidi said he had lost most of his family in an air strike in Gaza.

“What did they do to deserve this? We’re civilians,” said the devastated father, whose surviving five-month-old baby was wounded in the explosion.

Israeli air and artillery strikes on Gaza since Monday have killed 139 people including 39 children, and wounded 1,000 more, health officials say.

Palestinian armed groups have fired 2,300 rockets at Israel, killing 10 people, including a child and a soldier. Over 560 Israelis have been wounded.

On Saturday afternoon, a rocket fired from Gaza killed an Israeli man in the central town of Ramat Gen near Tel Aviv, police and medics said.

Violence also raged in the West Bank and there were fears of an escalation as Palestinians Saturday mark the Nakba, the “catastrophe” of Israel’s creation in 1948, which turned hundreds of thousands into refugees.

Eleven Palestinians were killed Friday in West Bank clashes.

A Palestinian security source said the fighting was the “most intense” since the second intifada, or uprising, that began in 2000.

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Signature TV is a multi-media company, owners and operators of signaturetv.org and producers of The Signature Show on AIT and Corruption Tori. Our programmes are broadcast on the AIT Network and on Seven NTA stations across the country. We are content providers for a number of television networks and some State TV stations, with a respected 24/7, high online and offline followership. We are also Communications/Media Consultants to MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation and OSIWA.

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