Gaza strikes: Israeli planes strike office of Hamas PM

Gaza attack

Israeli aircraft pounded Hamas government buildings in Gaza on Saturday, including the prime minister's office, after Israel's cabinet authorised the mobilisation of up to 75,000 reservists, preparing for a possible ground invasion.

Hamas, the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, said Israeli planes bombed the office building of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh - where he had met on Friday with the Egyptian prime minister - and struck a police headquarters.

Despite the violence, Tunisia's foreign minister arrived in the coastal enclave early Saturday in a show of Arab solidarity, heading to a hospital to visit the wounded.

Officials in Gaza said 38 Palestinians, half of them civilians including eight children and a pregnant woman, had been killed in Gaza since Israel began its air strikes. Three Israeli civilians were killed by a rocket on Thursday.

Rocket fire by militants into Israel resumed after dawn following a relative lull overnight, but the number was still lower than on the previous three days since the start of the offensive, an Israeli military spokesman said.

A three-storey house belonging to Hamas official Abu Hassan Salah was also hit and completely destroyed early Saturday. Rescuers said at least 30 people were pulled from the rubble.

The Israeli army said it had targeted a number of government buildings during the night, including Haniyeh's office, the Hamas Interior Ministry and a police compound.

On Friday, Palestinians fired a rocket toward Jerusalem for the first time in decades. Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial centre, also came under rocket attack for the second straight day, in defiance of Israel's air campaign that began on Wednesday with the declared aim of deterring Hamas from launching cross-border attacks that have plagued southern Israel for years.

Hamas claimed responsibility for firing at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Israel said the rocket launched toward Jerusalem landed in the occupied West Bank, and the one fired at Tel Aviv did not hit the city. There were no reports of casualties or damage.

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