Palestinians report casualties, extensive damage as IDF bombs Gaza stadium
Some 10,000 Gazans seek shelter in UN-run schools after Israeli military drops leaflets warning residents of certain areas to evacuate their homes.
Israel bombed the Yarmouk sports stadium in Gaza City on Wednesday, causing casualties and damage. According to initial Palestinian reports, at least two people were wounded.
In overnight Gaza violence, at least four airstrikes within seconds of each other pulverized a complex of government ministries the size of a city block, rattling nearby buildings and shattering surrounding windows. Hours later, clouds of acrid dust still hung over the area and smoke still rose from the rubble.
The impact of the blast demolished the nearby office of attorney Salem Dahdouh, who was searching through files buried in the debris. "Where are human rights?" he asked, saying officials negotiating a cease-fire ought to see the devastation.
In downtown Gaza City, another strike leveled the empty, two-story home of a well-known banker and buried a police car parked nearby in rubble. "This is an injustice carried out by the Israelis," said the house's caretaker, Mohammed Samara. "There were no resistance fighters here. We want to live in peace. Our children want to live in peace. We want to live like people in the rest of the world."
The Israeli military said its targets included the Ministry of Internal Security, which it says served as one of Hamas' main command and control centers, a military hideout used as a senior operatives' meeting place and a communications center.
Also on Wednesday, the IDF said it bombed more than 40 tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border used by militants to smuggle weapons into the territory.
Overnight, Israel carried out more than 30 Israeli airstrikes over Gaza that hit government ministries, smuggling tunnels, a banker's empty villa and a Hamas-linked media office.
Medics said a child was killed in one airstrike, raising the Palestinian death toll to at least 140, dozens of them civilians. More than 1,100 were wounded. Five Israelis have also been killed by Palestinian rocket fire, which continued early Wednesday with dozens of rockets.
Meanwhile, a UN aid agency says some 10,000 Gazans have sought shelter in UN-run schools after the Israeli military dropped leaflets on the territory warning residents of certain areas to evacuate their homes.
Adnan Abu Hassna, spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency, said Wednesday that 12 schools are providing shelter.
He says the influx began Tuesday evening, after Israel dropped the leaflets over Gaza. The Israeli military has not given a reason for the warning, but many here fear it is the prelude to a possible ground offensive.
UN compounds are seen as safer than ordinary homes, though some were also hit in 2009.