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Israel targets Hamas leader in Gaza as destruction continues

The Israeli army has targeted the house of the Palestinian leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, with no sign of a let-up in the intense week-long conflict between the two sides.

Tel Aviv/Gaza City, 16 May 2021 (dpa/MIA) — The Israeli army has targeted the house of the Palestinian leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, with no sign of a let-up in the intense week-long conflict between the two sides.

The army on Sunday posted an aerial video on its Twitter feed of an explosion in a building it said was Sinwar’s home in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Sinwar has led the Islamist Hamas group in Gaza since 2017. His brother’s house was also targeted in the air strikes, Israel said.

The attacks are part of an Israeli campaign to strike at the Hamas leadership. Earlier, the army said it had targeted the house of Khalil al-Hayya, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, and other high-ranking officials.

The toll from the violence overnight threatens to rise after multiple reports of destruction in Gaza overnight.

Five houses were destroyed in the strip, eyewitnesses told dpa.

There are fears that many people may have died or are trapped under the rubble.

The violence over the last week has erupted into the worst conflict in Gaza since 2014.

Palestinian militants have fired some 2,900 rockets at Israel, according to army figures. Israel’s army launched at least 650 attacks in the densely populated coastal area.

According to the Health Ministry in Gaza, 174 people have been killed and 1,200 injured there so far.

According to the Magen David Adom rescue service, 10 people have been killed and hundreds injured in Israel as a result of the rocket fire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to pursue the operation in the coastal strip “as long as it takes.”

Israel blames Hamas, the de facto Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip, for any attacks from Gaza. The group is classified as a terrorist organization by Israel, the US and the European Union.

Overnight, Gazan officials reported that eight people had died and 45 had been injured. A doctor in Gaza’s largest hospital was among those killed, the Health Ministry said.

Israel’s security cabinet is set to meet on Sunday, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Rockets fired by militant Palestinians rained on Israeli cities on Saturday, while warning sirens wailed in the desert city of Beersheba in southern Israel and in border areas near Gaza, the Israeli army said.

Alarms also went off several times in Tel Aviv, with the latest alarm triggered in the Israeli coastal metropolis late Saturday.

At least one person was killed in a rocket attack on the greater Tel Aviv area on Saturday.

One bombing by the air force destroyed a high-rise in the Gaza Strip that housed the offices of several media organizations, including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

Diplomatic efforts to calm tensions have had little apparent effect so far.

US President Joe Biden spoke separately to Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas about the conflict.

EU foreign ministers will hold a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss the escalating conflict, foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said.

He had called the videoconference in light of the “unacceptable number of civilian casualties,” Borrell wrote on Twitter.

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