Israel launched another air strike on the Gaza Strip early on Thursday, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to intensify attacks on the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
Today’s strike, the deadliest single bombing raid since the attacks began on Tuesday, has killed eight members of a family, including five children, Palestinian authorities told Reuters.
According to Palestinian health officials, 61 people, including 50 civilians, were killed in the strikes that were triggered after three Israeli teenagers were abducted in the West Bank and murdered late last month.
Hamas has said that it fired six rockets towards Israel in the early hours today. Mortars and rockets were also fired at Israeli gunboats shooting at the coastal territory, the news agency reported.
Israel has claimed that it is responding to the rocket attacks being carried out by Hamas. More than 200 rockets have been fired by the group into its territories.
The Israeli military said that 21 of around 105 rockets fired on Wednesday were intercepted by its Iron Dome missile defence system. There were no serious casualties.
Three missiles were targeted at a nuclear reactor housed in the southern city of Dimona. One of them was intercepted while two others failed to hit the target, the military said.
Hamas fired its longest-range rocket at the town of Haifa, located 115km from Gaza.
Israel had carried out 129 air strikes on Gaza on Wednesday. Around 550 sites have been attacked so far under Operation Protect Edge, reported BBC.
The strikes have been targeting the shelters of Hamas leaders, weapon production and storage facilities, and rocket launchers.
Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Israel’s strikes on Gaza will continue until Hamas ceases rocket attacks.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council will meet today to discuss the situation in the region.
Image: Gaza Strip barrier near the Karni Crossing. Photo: Public Domain.