Israeli air raids on the besieged Gaza Strip have flattened a tower in the heart of Gaza City as large-scale fighting between Palestinian fighters and the Israeli military claimed the lives of hundreds of people.
The attack on Palestine Tower on Saturday came hours after Hamas, the group running the besieged Gaza Strip, launched a multi-pronged attack by firing thousands of rockets and sending fighters inside Israel.
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The hit was caught live on camera as Al Jazeera’s Youmna ElSayed was reporting from another building nearby.
Watch the moment Israeli fighter jets strike Palestine Tower behind Al Jazeera’s Youmna El Sayed as she reports live from Gaza ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/dXHVRJiCOC
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) October 7, 2023
“The building was totally destroyed and brought to the ground,” she said afterwards. “Looking at all the buildings adjacent to it, you can imagine the amount of destruction that is in [the vicinity].”
There was no immediate information about any casualties.
Israel’s air force said in a statement its fighter jets hit two high-rise buildings in Gaza, alleging they housed Hamas “military infrastructure”.
It was not immediately clear if one of those buildings the air force was referring to was the Palestine Tower.
Not the first time
Israel has a track record of conducting hits on residential buildings and towers located within the Gaza Strip, one of the world’s most densely populated areas.
These actions, referred to by the Israeli army as “precision strikes” targeting armed groups, frequently occur in densely inhabited areas and have resulted in civilian casualties.
During an 11-day conflict in Gaza in 2021, Israel targeted four towers, causing the destruction of three of them, including one that housed the offices of Al Jazeera and The Associated Press.
London-based human rights group Amnesty International has previously raised concerns over Israel’s military tactics, asserting that recurring attacks on residential buildings in Gaza demonstrated a disregard for the wellbeing of Palestinian civilians, and could potentially constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity.