The list of casualties continues to grow as Hamas and Israel stand poised on the brink of an all-out war. As of Thursday morning, the death toll appears to be near 100 - with Israeli air strikes felling 83 people in Gaza. Reports indicate that at least seven Israelis have also been killed as the conflict rages on.
On Tuesday, Israeli fighter jets struck a 14-floor high-rise building in western Gaza city after the Israeli army asked its inhabitants to evacuate. The Israeli police have also announced that a night curfew will be imposed in the central city of Lod, where clashes between Arabs and Jews have been spiralling for days.
"This was only the beginning. We will inflict blows on them that they have never dreamed of," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, DPA news agency reported. Later on Wednesday, the local media reported the government was planning to intensify its military operations targeting the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip following a security cabinet meeting.
As Israeli armed forces pounded Gaza with airstrikes, militants in the Palestinian territory carried on firing massive barrages of rockets toward Israel, where air raid sirens sounded and locals scrambled for cover. Fighter jets have so far targeted multiple residential buildings located in busy neighborhoods without warning. The death toll also includes children, including toddlers.
The 14-floor building in Gaza hit by Israeli planes on Wednesday was the third high-rise destroyed since the escalation of violence. Islamist Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants both were said to have had offices in the building, which also housed shops and cafes. Videos showed the building collapsing after the attack.
Israel has struck a range of targets in the Gaza Strip as part of its airstrike response to the more than 1,000 rockets Palestinian militants have launched towards its territory since Monday. Israeli airstrikes have destroyed all police buildings in the Gaza Strip, a spokesperson for the Hamas-led Interior Ministry said.
(With inputs from agencies)