The aircraft attacked Yahya Sinwar’s home in the early hours of Sunday, but it was not immediately clear if anyone was inside the house.
The attack shows the Israeli regime is looking for a face-saving exit from its latest adventure – which has seen Gaza-based resistance groups respond with unprecedented missile barrages and gain international legitimacy – by claiming victory through a big hit.
The attack on Sinwar’ home came only a day after Israeli fighter jets bombed the house of a member of Hamas’s political bureau in the Gaza Strip.
Local sources said Khalil al-Hayya’s house in the northeastern al-Tufah neighborhood of Gaza City was destroyed on Saturday morning as Israeli aircraft fired several missiles at it. He was apparently not in the house at the time of the airstrike.
At least 26 Palestinians, including ten women and 8 children were killed and more than 50 others were injured in the latest Israeli airstrikes targeting the al-Wehda Street in central Gaza city , health officials said Sunday.
One of the air raids killed a Gaza neurologist and left his wife and daughter wounded, Palestinian medics and relatives said.
Resistance fighters responded by firing fresh barrages of rockets at Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheva.
“After threatening to fire rockets at Tel Aviv, Hamas has fired a heavy barrage of rockets from Gaza into central & southern Israel,” the Israeli military wrote in a post published on its Twitter page early on Sunday.
The sound of sirens was heard all over the southern and central Israeli cities, including Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beersheva, followed by explosions.
Settlers dashed for bomb shelters as alerts warning of incoming rockets blared. Israeli medical staff said around 10 people were injured while running for shelters.
Gaza tower housing foreign media offices pulverized
On Saturday, Israel destroyed 12-story al-Jalaa building in Gaza City, which houses the offices of US news agency the Associated Press and Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera.
Seven press offices were destroyed and three journalists were wounded in the strike, Palestinian media reported, and debris and shrapnel flew dozens of yards away.
The Israel military claimed in a statement that the multi-story building contained Hamas military offices, alleging that it had given warnings to civilians to get out of the building before the attack.
AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt called the strike “an incredibly disturbing development.”
He said a dozen AP journalists and freelancers had been in the building and evacuated in time.
“We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza. The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today,” he said in a statement.
The US government said it had called upon the Israeli regime to ensure the safety of journalists.
“We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted.
The acting director general of Al Jazeera Media Network, Dr. Mostefa Souag, called the strike “barbaric” and said Israel should be held accountable.
“The aim of this heinous crime is to silence the media and to hide the untold carnage and suffering of the people of Gaza,” he stated.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late Saturday that the regime was “still in the midst of this operation, it is still not over and this operation will continue as long as necessary.”
Qassam Brigades unveils Qassem missile
Abu Hamza, a spokesman for al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad resistance movement, said Palestinian fighters have put several advanced military hardware, including the Qassem missile, into operation.
They were utilized as resistance groups launched more than 150 projectiles at the occupied territories.
Indigenous Palestinian missiles, he said, can now strike targets in the Israeli cities of Hadera, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot and other areas in the occupied lands, the Palestinian Arabic-language Sama news agency reported.
“We still have more surprises which will stun the enemy. We are telling stupid Netanyahu and his foolish army leadership: We are waiting for your ground forces to roll into the Gaza Strip to be shown part of our wrath,” Abu Hamza pointed out.
‘Time for direct confrontation with Israel’
Khaled Meshaal,the head of the diaspora Hamas office, said the Palestinian resistance will not allow Israel to score any victory or celebrate an achievement.
“This is an opportune moment for revenge and response. Time is ripe for the flare-up of an intifada (uprising) and an open confrontation with the Occupation,” Meshaal told London-based Arabic-language al-Araby TV.
“The Israeli Occupation is trying to pull off any sort of victory, but will not manage to do so. The value of the ongoing fighting lies in the fact that the Palestinian cause, al-Quds, sacred sites, Palestinians’ right of return, resistance and freedom of Palestinian inmates from Israeli prisons made headline news again.”
Meshaal noted that the Hamas leadership has explained to all mediators how tensions began in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem al-Quds, and that Israel must stop its aggression in order for hostilities to end.
“The resistance bloc is able to wait for months, respond to the aggression and defeat the occupation,” the senior Hamas leader said.
Meshaal finally condemned the normalization of relations between a number of Arab countries and Israel.
Tensions escalated in Jerusalem al-Quds, the occupied West Bank and Gaza amid the planned expulsion of dozens of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where illegal Israeli settlers are looking to take over the properties of Palestinian families.
At least 174 Palestinians, including 47 children and 29 women, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in the past week. Nearly 1,000 others have also been injured.
Also in the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have killed at least 13 Palestinians.
The United Nations Security Council is due to meet later Sunday to discuss the situation after the US blocked an earlier session proposed by Russia and other countries Friday.