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Israel targets two residential buildings in Gaza in fresh air strikes

Plumes of black smoke are seen after a residential building is bombed in the heart of Gaza City during Israeli air attacks against the besieged Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023. (Photo by Shehab news agency)

The Israeli military hit two residential buildings in the Gaza Strip in fresh air raids against civilian targets on Sunday morning, a day after Palestinian fighters launched a surprise offensive against the regime.

Several Palestinian news outlets reported that Israeli warplanes bombed the Watan Tower in Gaza City, and also hit the eleven-story al-Aklouk.

There were no immediate reports of serious damage or casualties.

The reports also said the bombs struck the Matar residential building.

The developments came only a few hours after Israeli air raids on the blockaded Gaza Strip flattened Palestine Tower in the heart of Gaza City.

The Gaza-based al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas resistance movement, announced it renewed rocket fire towards the 1948 Israeli-occupied territories on Sunday morning.

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.

Similar Israeli air strikes on residential towers in the past have provoked heavy responses from Palestinians, who warn Israel to avoid targeting civilian buildings. 

Operation Al-Aqsa Storm is the biggest to be carried out by Palestinian resistance groups against the occupying regime in years. Resistance fighters crossed the fence into Israeli-occupied cities, with hundreds of rockets being fired from the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, Hamas announced the number of Israelis taken captive in the ongoing operation is far more than “dozens” that was claimed by Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

‘Al-Aqsa Storm aims to liberate Palestinian lands, holy sites’

The deputy head of the Hamas movement, Saleh al-Arouri, says the primary goal of Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, is to liberate the occupied Palestinian lands and holy sites, stressing that the battle will be escalating until its aim is achieved. 

Arouri said that the operation is not a hit-and-run one, but rather an all-out battle.

Palestinians will not stand idle while the occupying Israeli regime attacks the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and desecrates the holy sites, he added.

“Al-Qassam Brigades captured enough Israeli soldiers during an unprecedented attack against Israel to make Israeli authorities free all Palestinian prisoners in its jails,” he said, noting that senior Israeli officers were among those captured.

Arouri said that the fighting front is expected to expand, adding that Palestinian resistance fighters are ready for worst-case scenarios including Israeli ground invasion.

He urged Palestinians all over the occupied territories to engage in the battle, calling on Arab and Muslim countries to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance front.

‘Palestinian fighters united in Operation Aqsa Storm’

Spokesman for the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad resistance movement, Abu Hamza, also said his comrade resistance fighters are also engaged in Operation Al-Aqsa Storm. 

“Palestinian resistance fighters in the al-Quds Brigades also managed to capture Israeli soldiers,” he said, adding that they are united with al-Qassam Brigades until the full liberation of Palestinian lands and holy sites.

Abu Hamza added that the battle will continue and that resistance is the only way to liberate Palestinian lands and holy sites. 

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that hospital officials in the Strip have recorded the death of 232 civilians and injury of nearly 1,700 others as a result of Israeli bombardment across the Gaza Strip.

A large number of buildings, homes, and public facilities have also been seriously damaged due to the bombardments.

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