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Israel targets homes of senior Hamas leaders

Houses of top political figures are latest targets, reports say, as Israeli bombardment resumes and death toll hits 208.

Last updated: 16 Jul 2014 14:53
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Israel has intensified its bombing campaign of the Gaza Strip, targeting the houses of senior Hamas leaders as the death toll of its nine-day campaign in the Palestinian enclave hit 208.

Attacks in Gaza killed at least seven Palestinians in the early hours of Wednesday, Gaza health officials told the Reuters news agency, and destroyed the house of Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas political leader.

The AP news agency reported that the Gaza interior ministry said Israel targeted 30 houses, including those of senior Hamas leaders Zahar, Jamila Shanti, Fathi Hamas and Ismail Ashkar.

Zahar was a key figure in Hamas rise to power in 2007, while the other three were members of the Palestinian parliament elected in 2006. Many Hamas leaders have gone into hiding since the beginning of the Israeli offensive.

Three people from the Abu Daqqa family were killed and another five injured on Wednesday in an attack in Khan Younis, said the health ministry spokesman, Ashraf al-Qedra.

Among the dead was a 10-year-old boy and a 65-year-old woman, with witnesses saying the missile struck a car in Bani Suheila in the eastern part of the city.

Israel resumed its bombardment on Tuesday, hours after agreeing to an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire on which Hamas, the group that controls Gaza, said it was never consulted. 

According to Palestinian health officials, the Israeli bombardment has killed 205 people and injured 1,530 since it began last Tuesday. The majority of casualties are civilians.

Israel says it is bombing Gaza to stop Palestinian fighters firing rockets into Israel.  An estimated 700 projectiles fired into Israel by Palestinian groups. One Israeli has been killed. 

The Israeli military said on Wednesday that it had sent warning messages to residents in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes by 5am GMT ahead of renewed attacks. 

Israel also called for tens of thousands of residents in areas close to the Gaza-Israel border to leave their homes.

Palestinian officials said residents in two Gaza City neighbourhoods had received the warnings but the Gaza interior ministry described them as psychological warfare.

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