Fresh Israeli airstrikes have bombed the Hamas government’s cabinet headquarters as both sides continued to hurl missiles at each other amid increasing violence in the region, Sky News reported on Saturday.
Witness reports said extensive damage was done to the building, which Egypt’s PM Hisham Qandil had visited on Friday.
“The cabinet headquarters was targeted with four strikes and the government stresses that it remains committed to its positions and its stand alongside the people,” the Hamas government said in a statement.
Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense on Wednesday, killing Hamas’ military chief Ahmed al-Jabari and attacking hundreds of rocket-launching sites, ammunition depots and “terrorist” cells that belong to radical Islamist groups operating in Gaza, primarily Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Palestinian militants have fired more than 450 rockets at Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
In a sign of further escalation, the Israeli Cabinet has authorized the military to mobilize up to 75,000 reservists in anticipation of a possible ground offensive on Gaza. Two elite army brigades have completed the preparation to enter the Palestinian enclave “if necessary,” according to the military.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed on Friday to both sides of the conflict “to stop this dangerous escalation and restore calm.” He also announced through his spokesman that he intended to visit the region shortly.