At least nine children are among the 28 Palestinians killed in the last 24 hours by dozens of Israeli air attacks targeting the besieged Gaza Strip.
The cross-border violence, which erupted on Monday following weeks of rising tensions in Jerusalem, is the worst the volatile region has experienced in years.
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Salameh Marouf, the head of the Gaza-based government information office, told Al Jazeera that “the Israeli occupation carried out more than 56 air strikes against the Gaza Strip in which more than 120 missiles were used against civilian targets”.
He added that Israel “intentionally targeted service facilities, such as near the water desalination facility to the north of Gaza, which put it out of service”.
The air raids and rocket attacks followed a violent Israeli crackdown in recent days at Jerusalem’s holy site known as the Temple Mount to Jews and the Noble Sanctuary to Muslims.
Tensions have mounted in the city, the occupied West Bank and Gaza throughout the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, amid growing anger about the potential forced expulsion of Palestinians from the occupied East Jerusalem homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers.
“An Israeli missile hit the apartment which is located in our residential building. Then another missile hit the apartment from the other side. People started screaming,” said Luai Humaid, one of the inhabitants of Al-Jundi residential tower which was targeted by an Israeli air attack on Monday.
“We went upstairs and we found two people dead and many injured. The situation is out of control. I hope a truce is reached. I am worried for the children who feel terrified,” he said.
Muhammad Subih, whose 57-year-old sister Amira Subuh was killed by an Israeli air attack along with her disabled son, Abdulrahman, 17, told Al Jazeera: “My sister and her son were killed while sleeping. They did nothing. They were targeted without any warning. We had to pull their bodies out of the rubble.”
Yousef Subih, brother of Abdulrahman, told Al Jazeera that his father was killed in an Israeli attack in 2003.
“Today, they killed my mother. Israel just wants to terrorise us through air strikes. They don’t care about elders or the disabled.”
Israeli forces continued to bombard the territory well into Tuesday morning, targeting sites in Khan Younis, al-Bureij refugee camp, and al-Zaitoun neighbourhood.
At least three civilians were killed at dawn after an Israeli warplane targeted a house in al-Shati’ refugee camp.
“Seven civilian facilities were targeted, including area around two schools and a COVID quarantine centre,” Marouf told Al Jazeera.
Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, told Al Jazeera that the ministry was running on an emergency plan to deal with injuries while also tackling COVID cases in the coastal enclave.