KARACHI: In one of the deadliest days of violence since Israel’s offensive in Gaza began, at least 113 Palestinians were killed as the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) intensified their aerial bombing campaign, the BBC reported. Ten IDF soldiers were also killed, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The home of a Hamas leader, a port, and Gaza’s only power plant were among the destroyed buildings. Reportedly, UN staffers were killed as well.
The intensified bombardment was part of a broader campaign to put a "gradual increase in the pressure" on the Hamas government, an IDF spokesman said.
The house of Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader who is now in hiding, was the target of an Israeli airstrike. The house was unoccupied.
"The destruction of stones will not break our will and we will continue our resistance until we gain freedom," he was quoted as saying on a Hamas website afterwards. A UNRWA spokesman tweeted that UN officials were also among the people killed.
Meanwhile, a senior official from the West Bank declared a truce after the shelling.
"After extensive calls and consultations with the brothers in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian leadership announces on behalf of everyone the willingness for a ceasefire and humanitarian truce for 24 hours," Yasser Abed Rabbo of the Palestine Liberation Organization said. While he claimed that he also spoke for Hamas, the Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the offer was "not serious", the Associated Press reported.
This Tuesday marks the 22nd day of fighting between Israel and Hamas after Israel launched an offensive on Gaza, ostensibly in response to the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers. Since then officials estimate that up to 1,100 people have died, the vast majority – 1,030 on the latest count – of whom are Palestinian. Almost 50 IDF soldiers have also been killed in the fighting.
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