GAZA — Israeli aircraft fired two missiles at a 12-story apartment tower in downtown Gaza City on Saturday, collapsing the building, sending a huge fireball into the sky and wounding at least 22 people, including 11 children, witnesses and Palestinian officials said. Israel has launched some 5,000 airstrikes against Gaza in nearly seven weeks of fighting with Hamas, but Saturday's strike marked the first time an entire high-rise was toppled. The explosion shook nearby buildings.
The Israeli military said the airstrike targeted a Hamas operations room in the building, but did not explain why the entire tower with 48 apartments was leveled. Gaza police say Israeli aircraft fired a warning missile at the roof of the tower at dusk, followed five minutes later by two missiles with explosives.
Ayman Sahabani, the head of the emergency room at Gaza City's Shifa Hospital, said at least 22 people were wounded, including 11 children and five women. The leveling of the tower was a further sign of escalation following a breakdown of Egyptian-brokered cease-fire talks and the collapse of a temporary truce earlier this week. The military said Gaza militants fired at least 93 rockets and mortar shells at Israel on Saturday.
— The Associated Press
First published August 23 2014, 11:10 AM