The Israel Defense Force bombed out more buildings in Gaza City in the wee hours of Monday, pulverizing the densely populated enclave of 2 million Palestinians and focusing on the intelligence infrastructure of the Hamas militant group.
The IDF launched a joint operation on Monday, with its cyber, intelligence and air force units striking targets in Gaza City. The Israeli army said the targets included a Hamas intelligence compound in Gaza.
26 People Killed in Gaza on Sunday
The Israeli army also justified the razing of a high-rise building in Gaza City earlier last week, an act that attracted international criticism. The tower had hosted offices of international media groups like the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, in Sunday's attack on Gaza at least 26 Gazans died, taking the death toll of Palestinians to 174, Israeli media reported. In Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, eight Israeli policemen were injured when a car crashed into them at an intersection.
However, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, the death toll stands at 197, including 58 children and 34 women.
Though there is mounting pressure on Israel to halt the operations from International circles, there was no sign of any de-escalation even as the conflict enters the second week.
"All parties need to deescalate tensions - the violence must end immediately", US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter.
International news agencies said Israel was aggressively bombing roads, security buildings, militants' training camps and houses in on Gaza City.
At the same time, Hamas sent in a a barrage of rockets into Israel, particularly focusing on the cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon just after midnight on Sunday.
IDF reiterated that it was targeting 'terrorist targets throughout the Gaza Strip'.
Meanwhile, IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman said the attack on a tower hosting media offices was part of efforts to take down the Hamas intelligence and operational facilities.
"I want to see what would happen if one rocket was fired on Washington. They are firing salvos toward civilian populations," Zilberman said, according to the JPost. "We are in the middle of an operation. If Hamas and PIJ think they can hide behind the media, their buildings are not something they can hide behind," he added.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad Targeted
The IDF reiterates that the building that held the offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera was a convenient hideout for the Hamas militants. It says that the Hamas military intelligence as well as other offices belonging to Palestinian Islamic Jihad were operating from the building.
The latest conflict between Israel and Hamas, the worst in years, started when Hamas fired a barrage of rockets into Israel on last Monday. The attack followed weeks of tensions over the eviction of Arab families from an east Jerusalem neighborhood under the orders of an Israeli court. The Palestinian protests in Sheikh Jarrah over evictions had escalated when the Israeli security personnel engaged in clashes with protesters the near the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount, the third holiest site for Muslims.