Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the deadly bombing of the Gaza Strip would continue despite an international outcry and efforts to broker a ceasefire.
In a televised address on Sunday, Netanyahu said the Israeli air raids were continuing at “full-force” and would “take time”, adding that his country “wants to levy a heavy price” from Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
Israeli air raids on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people early on Sunday, health authorities in Gaza said.
The violence marked the worst fighting since the devastating 2014 war in Gaza.
The air raids hit a busy downtown street of residential buildings and storefronts over the course of five minutes just after midnight, destroying two adjacent buildings and one about 50 metres down the road.
At one point, a rescuer shouted, “Can you hear me?” into a hole in the rubble. “Are you OK?” Minutes later, first responders pulled a survivor out and carried him off on an orange stretcher.
The Gaza Health Ministry said 16 women and 10 children were among those killed, with more than 50 people wounded, and rescue efforts were still under way.
Earlier, the Israeli military said it destroyed the home of Gaza’s top Hamas leader, Yahiyeh Sinwar, in a separate raid in the southern town of Khan Younis.
Israel appears to have stepped up air raids in recent days to inflict as much damage as possible on Hamas as international mediators work to end the fighting.
At least 192 people have been killed and 1,200 injured there so far, the Gaza Health Ministry said.
Rockets fired at Israel by Palestinian groups in Gaza, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have killed 10 Israelis.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES