- Overnight, violence between Israel and Hamas erupted, with 35 Palestinians killed in Gaza and three in Israel.
- Hundreds of air strikes were carried out by Israel in Gaza in the early hours of Wednesday.
- Multiple rocket barrages were launched at Tel Aviv and Beersheba by the Islamist group and other Palestinian militant groups.
Israel-Hamas hostilities erupted overnight, with at least 35 Palestinians killed in Gaza and five Israelis killed in the most intense aerial exchanges in years.
As the Islamist group and other Palestinian militants fired numerous missile barrages at Tel Aviv and Beersheba, Israel carried out hundreds of air strikes in Gaza into the early hours of Wednesday.
After being repeatedly hit by Israeli air strikes, one multi-story residential building in Gaza collapsed and another was severely damaged.
Early on Wednesday, Israel said its jets had shot and killed many Hamas intelligence leaders. Other airstrikes attacked rocket launch sites and Hamas offices, according to the military.
It was Israel’s heaviest offensive against Hamas since the 2014 Gaza war, and it sparked international concern that the situation could escalate out of control.
“Stop the fire immediately,” tweeted UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland. We’re on the verge of a full-fledged war. De-escalation is the responsibility of all leaders on all sides.
” The cost of the war in Gaza is staggering, and ordinary people are bearing the brunt of the attack. The United Nations is attempting to restore peace by coordinating with all sides. Put an end to the bloodshed right now.” he wrote
Gazans confirmed their homes trembling and the sky lighting up with Israeli attacks, outgoing rockets, and Israeli air defence missiles intercepting them into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Israelis moved to shelters or collapsed on pavements in communities more than 70 kilometres (45 miles) up the coast and into southern Israel as interceptor missiles streaked through the sky.
Two people were killed when a rocket hit a vehicle in the mixed Arab-Jewish town of Lod, near Tel Aviv. One of the victims was a 7-year-old girl, according to Israeli media.
In response to the bombing of Gaza City’s tower buildings, Hamas’ armed wing said it fired 210 rockets at Beersheba and Tel Aviv.
The militants’ attack on Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital, posed a new challenge for Israel in its fight against the Islamist Hamas group, which Israel and the US consider as a terrorist organisation.
The clashes in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the compound revered by Jews as Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, came after weeks of unrest in Jerusalem during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, with clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators in and around the mosque.
In recent days, tensions have risen ahead of a – now postponed – court hearing in a case that could result in Palestinian families being evicted from homes claimed by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem.
In the occupied West Bank, a 26-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli gunfire during stone-throwing clashes in a refugee camp near the city of Hebron.
Israel said it had dispatched 80 fighter jets to bomb Gaza and infantry and armour to reinforce the tanks already stationed on the border, evoking memories of the last Israeli ground incursion into Gaza in 2014 to deter rocket attacks.
According to the Gaza health ministry, over 2,100 Gazans were killed in the seven-week war that followed, along with 73 Israelis, and thousands of homes in Gaza were destroyed by Israeli forces.
Three plumes of dense, black smoke rose from a 13-story Gaza residential and office building on Tuesday as it toppled over after being demolished by Israeli air strikes, as seen in a video footage.
The building, in Gaza City’s Rimal neighbourhood, was said to house “many” Hamas offices, including ones for military research and development and military intelligence, according to the Israeli military.
Locals were well aware of the presence of a Hamas office, which was used by political leaders and officials dealing with the media.
According to witnesses and the Israeli military, residents in the block and the surrounding area had been warned to evacuate before the air attack.
Israeli attacks shortly before 2 a.m. on Wednesday severely damaged a second residential and office building in the same neighbourhood. The building’s residents and journalists had already left.
On Tuesday, Gaza health ministry officials placed the death toll at 32, but three more people, including a woman and a child, were killed shortly before 2 a.m. on Wednesday in an Israeli air strike on an apartment above a restaurant, according to a Hamas-affiliated radio station.
Israeli politicians and the military claimed to have killed “dozens” of militants and struck Hamas-controlled buildings.
Israel has carried out “hundreds” of strikes, according to Defence Minister Benny Gantz, and “buildings will continue to collapse.”
According to Gaza’s health ministry, ten of the 30 people killed were children and one was a woman.
A 50-year-old woman was killed when a missile struck a building in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion, according to Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service, and two others were killed in rocket attacks on Ashkelon.