Israel pounds Gaza from air as troops assemble
JERUSALEM — Israel accelerated its air offensive in the Gaza Strip overnight and destroyed the offices of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, in what appeared to be an intensifying focus on targeting sites connected to — and leaders of — the militant Islamist movement that rules the coastal strip.
Haniyeh’s offices, where he met yesterday morning with Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil, were reduced to a mound of concrete rubble, in one of what the Israeli military said were 200 airstrikes overnight. The bombing preceded the arrival Saturday morning of a large Tunisian delegation that includes the foreign minister.
Israel offered a brief truce while Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil visited Gaza Friday, but it crumbled quickly as Gaza continued to launch rockets across the border and Israel retaliated with airstrikes.
Among other buildings struck were smuggling tunnels beneath the strip’s southern border with Egypt, the civilian police headquarters and the house of a commander of Hamas, which Israel considers a terrorist group. The commander was not killed, but 30 people at the house were injured, Gaza medical officials said. Nine people were killed overnight, bringing the death toll of the operation, now in is fourth day, to 39, the officials said. Three Israelis have been killed by the rocket fire coming out of Gaza