2012-11-17 | 21:24:03
Gaza, 3 Muharram/November 17 (MINA) – Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya’s office building, today became the target of violent Israeli air strikes after Friday the Palestinian Interior Ministry’s office became victim of the wrath of the Israeli attack, the Islamic Mi’raj News Agency (MINA) correspondent reported from Gaza, Palestine.
Israel has bombed Hamas’ headquarters in Gaza, as Operation Pillar of Defense enters its fourth day, the IDF reported. Overnight Israel’s military targeted 85 more sites in the area.
¬Witnesses at the scene report massive damage from the strikes.
“The cabinet headquarters was targeted with four strikes and the government stresses that it remains committed to its positions and its stand alongside the people,” the Hamas government said in a statement.
Prime Minister’s Office which is located in the An-Nasr has been emptied since 5 days ago when security conditions Gaza beginning to heat up. In the interview with MINA correspondent last Tuesday, the Hamas official said that when security conditions began worrying, it is a common procedure that all ministry staff are immediately evacuated and the building emptied.
There were two series of strikes overnight: one at around 3am local time (01:00 GMT), and another at 5am (03:00 GMT). Activists reported that bodies were under the rubble of a house hit by the strike in Jabalia, situated in Gaza’s north.
During the second string of strikes the Hamas leadership’s buildings were hit, but they are said to have been empty. The IDF said it had targeted 85 more sites in the Gaza Strip during the past six hours, including the Hamas Gaza headquarters.
Eyewitnesses and Hamas officials said the headquarters in the Nasser neighbourhood of Gaza City was virtually leveled in the strike. “The headquarters was completely destroyed and neighbouring houses were damaged as a result of the barbaric Israeli bombing,” a Hamas official said.
On Friday morning, Haniya and a slew of other top Hamas government officials lined up in front of the building to welcome Egypt´s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, on a brief solidarity trip to the Gaza Strip.
The raid on the building came as Israel renewed strikes across Gaza, bombing the headquarters of the Hamas police force in western Gaza City and the government´s internal security headquarters in the north of the city.
In the northern Jabalia camp, a strike left at least five people injured from the same family, according a source at the Kamal Odwan hospital. The string of attacks came after a relative lull in the violence that began on Wednesday with an Israeli strike that killed a senior Hamas commander.
Since then, at least 30 Palestinians have been killed, with over 280 wounded, and Gaza militants have fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, killing three people and wounding 16.
Amid an intensifying air offensive against Gaza, the Israeli cabinet also authorized the call-up of 75,000 reserve troops, reportedly in preparation for the possible ground invasion.
At least 39 Palestinians have already been killed in the assault that has been going on for four days. Seven of the casualties were children. Three Israeli citizens also died in the violence.
But according to the official statement of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya, Hamas through its military wing the Al-Qassam Brigades Izzuddin will continue to fight in a mission called Hijaratus Sijjil (Stone Breaker). Currently Al-Qassam rockets rely on their new three Khornit, GRAD and Dawn 5. The last name can penetrate and hit Tel Aviv Israel Government Office, Knesset, MINA correspondent Muhammad Husien reported.
Al-Qassam has also confirmed through local radio that is has shot down an advanced Israeli military fighter jet F-16 yesterday. Previously Al-Qassam had shot down Israeli spy plane.
Israeli TV says more than dozens of missiles have hit Ashkelon — 50 km (31 miles) south of Aviv — Eshkol regional council in northwestern Negev in Israel’s Southern District, Be’er Tuvia in central Israel and the southern city of Ofakim.
Several Palestinian missiles also hit Ashdod, Israel’s sixth largest city located 32 kilometres (20 miles) south of Tel Aviv. Reports say the missiles that landed in Eshkol regional council have been fired from Sinai Desert in Egypt. Several Israeli soldiers have been wounded in the rocket fire in Eshkol, according to the Army.
Israel has called up about 75,000 army reservists amid reports of a possible ground incursion into the coastal enclave. 41 Palestinians have been killed since the Israeli airstrikes against the besieged territory began on Wednesday.
Israel’s Channel 2 says only 220 missiles, out of a total of 650, fired from Gaza have since Wednesday been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile shield. Israel on Saturday deployed its fifth Iron Dome system in Tel Aviv.
Israel has conducted more than 830 attacks on the Gaza Strip since the offensive kicked off on Wednesday, Israel’s Channel 2 said. Two people were injured on Saturday morning when Gaza missiles hit the southern city of Netivot in Israel.
Sirens are ringing out in settlements across Negev Desert region, including its largest city Be’er Sheva. Several missiles hit open areas in the city on Saturday morning according to the Israeli TV reports. (K-004/R-006).