Two Israeli airstrikes rattle Gaza City

Palestinians search for casualties at the site of Israeli strikes on houses, amid Israel-Hamas conflict, at Al Shati refugee camp Saturday in Gaza City. REUTERS/Ayman Al Hassi

JERUSALEM — At least two Israeli airstrikes shook Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday, sending rescue workers rushing to the scene amid destruction and unconfirmed reports of high casualties.

Many details remained unclear, but the Israeli military said its fighter jets had targeted “Hamas military infrastructure” at two sites in the area of Gaza City, without elaborating. Rescue workers and residents said that there were many killed and wounded at the scene and that at least one of the strikes was big enough to kick up huge clouds of dust.


Mahmoud Basal, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Civil Defense emergency rescue organization, said that more than 30 people had been killed and 50 wounded in separate strikes in at least three Gaza City residential neighborhoods — Tuffah, Shujaiyya and Shati — and that other victims were believed to still be trapped under rubble.

The toll could not be independently verified, and Gaza authorities do not distinguish between civilians and combatants when reporting casualty figures.

It was unclear what or whom the Israeli airstrikes had targeted. Since the beginning of the war, Israel has sought to assassinate senior members of Hamas in Gaza, including militant commanders and Hamas’ chief in the enclave, Yahya Sinwar.

While Israeli forces have had some success picking off midlevel figures, Sinwar and most of the leadership have successfully eluded them.

Hamas has taken advantage of the urban areas in Gaza to provide its fighters and weapons infrastructure with an extra layer of protection, running tunnels under neighborhoods, launching rockets near civilian homes and holding hostages in city centers. Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, has said that the group tries to keep civilians out of harm’s way.

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