In the Gaza Strip, an Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building that housed The Associated Press’ offices. The airstrike occurred about an hour after the Israeli military ordered the building’s occupants to evacuate. The reason for the attack on the building was unknown at the time.
The Associated Press, Al-Jazeera, and a variety of offices and apartments are all located in the same building.
Earlier on Saturday, an Israeli air raid on a densely populated refugee camp in Gaza City killed at least ten Palestinians from an extended family, mostly teenagers, in the deadliest single strike of the current war with Hamas rulers in Gaza. As cease-fire efforts gained traction, both sides pushed for an advantage.
The latest round of violence started in Jerusalem and has since spread across the city, with Jewish-Arab clashes and rioting in Israel’s mixed cities.
In the occupied West Bank, where Israeli forces fired and killed 11 Palestinians, there were also massive Palestinian demonstrations on Friday.
Fears of a new Palestinian “intifada,” or rebellion, have grown as the conflict has escalated, despite the fact that there have been no peace talks in years.
Palestinians commemorated the approximate 700,000 people who were expelled from or fled their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its establishment on Saturday, known as Nakba (Catastrophe) Day. This increased the risk of further unrest.
Hady Amr, a senior U.S. diplomat, arrived in Gaza on Friday as part of Washington’s attempts to de-escalate the crisis, and the United Nations Security Council is scheduled to meet on Sunday.
However, Israel rejected an Egyptian plan for a one-year cease-fire, which Hamas had approved, according to an Egyptian official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the talks.
Hamas has launched hundreds of rockets into Israel since Monday night, while Israel has hammered the Gaza Strip with strikes.
At least 139 people were killed in Gaza, including 39 children and 22 women; seven people were killed in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier.
A three-story house in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp was hit by an airstrike early Saturday, killing eight children and two women from an extended family.
Mohammed Hadidi told reporters that his wife and five children had gone to visit relatives to celebrate Eid al-Fitr.
Three of the children, ages 6 to 14, were killed, and an 11-year-old is still missing. Only Omar, his 5-month-old son, is believed to have survived.
Among the ruins were children’s toys and a Monopoly board game, as well as plates of leftover food from the holiday party.
“There was no warning,” said Jamal Al-Naji, a neighbor living in the same building.
“You filmed people eating and then you bombed them?” he said, addressing Israel.
“Why are you confronting us? Go and confront the strong people!” The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hamas said it fired a salvo of rockets at southern Israel in response to the airstrike.
The military told the building owner later on Saturday that it was about to strike the high-rise in Gaza City where The Associated Press and other media outlets, including Al Jazeera, have offices.
The building’s residents, including AP employees, were evacuated. The army advised the Associated Press that workers should leave immediately. A fierce Israeli barrage killed a family of six in their home early Friday, sending thousands fleeing to UN-run shelters.
According to the military, the operation involved 160 warplanes dropping 80 tonnes of explosives over the course of 40 minutes, destroying a massive Hamas tunnel network.
A military spokesperson, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, said the military strives to avoid collateral damage when attacking military targets.
However, precautions taken in previous attacks, such as firing warning shots to entice civilians to flee, were not “feasible this time.”
” Israeli media said the military believed dozens of militants were killed inside the tunnels. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups have confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks, but the military said the real number is far higher.
Gaza’s infrastructure, already in widespread disrepair because of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after Hamas seized power in 2007, showed signs of breaking down further, compounding residents’ misery. The territory’s sole power plant is at risk of running out of fuel in the coming days.
The UN said Gazans are already enduring daily power cuts of 8-12 hours and at least 230,000 have limited access to tap water.
The impoverished and densely populated territory is home to 2 million Palestinians, most of them the descendants of refugees from what is now Israel.
The conflict has reverberated widely. Israeli cities with mixed Arab and Jewish populations have seen nightly violence, with mobs from each community fighting in the streets and trashing each other’s property.
Late on Friday, someone threw a firebomb at an Arab family’s home in the Ajami neighborhood of Tel Aviv, striking two children.
A 12-year-old boy was in moderate condition with burns on his upper body and a 10-year-old girl was treated for a head injury, according to the Magen David Adom rescue service.
In the occupied West Bank, on the outskirts of Ramallah, Nablus and other towns and cities, hundreds of Palestinians protested the Gaza campaign and Israeli actions in Jerusalem.
Waving Palestinian flags, they trucked in tires that they set up in burning barricades and hurled stones at Israeli soldiers. At least 10 protesters were shot and killed by soldiers. An 11th Palestinian was killed when he tried to stab a soldier at a military position.
In east Jerusalem, online video showed young Jewish nationalists firing pistols as they traded volleys of stones with Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, which became a flashpoint for tensions over attempts by settlers to forcibly evict a number of Palestinian families from their homes.
On Israel’s northern border, troops opened fire when a group of Lebanese and Palestinian protesters on the other side cut through the border fence and briefly crossed. One Lebanese was killed.
Three rockets were fired toward Israel from neighboring Syria without causing any casualties or damage. It was not immediately known who fired them.
The tensions began in east Jerusalem earlier this month, with Palestinian protests against the Sheikh Jarrah evictions and Israeli police measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque, a frequent flashpoint located on a mount in the Old City revered by Muslims and Jews.
Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem late Monday, in an apparent attempt to present itself as the champion of the protesters.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that Hamas will “pay a very heavy price” for its rocket attacks as Israel has massed troops at the frontier.
US President Joe Biden has expressed support for Israel while saying he hopes to bring the violence under control. Hamas has fired some 2,000 rockets toward Israel since Monday, according to the Israeli military.
Most have been intercepted by anti-missile defenses, but they have brought life to a standstill in southern Israeli cities, caused disruptions at airports and have set off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.