At least 76 Palestinian casualties after series of Israeli air strikes

16 May 2021, 10:06 | Updated: 16 May 2021, 12:57

Rescuers are racing to pull people from the rubble in Gaza after Israeli air strikes.
Rescuers are racing to pull people from the rubble in Gaza after Israeli air strikes. Picture: PA

By Joe Cook

Rescuers are racing to pull survivors and bodies out of the rubble in Gaza after Israeli air strikes killed at least 26 people and injured 50.

Israeli warplanes flattened three buildings buildings and struck roads in central Gaza City, including one of the main routes leading to the largest medical centre in the strip.

The Sunday morning assault is the deadliest single attack since the start of heavy fighting began in the region on Monday.

The Gaza health ministry said 10 women and eight children were among those killed in Sunday's attack, with another 50 people injured.

Read more: Israeli air strike destroys Gaza tower block HQ of international media outlets

Earlier, Israel said it had bombed the home of Gaza's top Hamas leader in a separate strike. It was the third attack targeting the homes of Hamas leaders in the last two days.

A military spokesperson said they had destroyed the homes of Yehiyeh Sinwar, the most senior Hamas leader inside the territory, and his brother Muhammad, another senior Hamas member.

On Saturday, it also destroyed the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a senior figure in Hamas's political branch. However, it is thought to be unlikely that any of the Hamas members were at home at the time of the strikes, with most having gone into hiding.

Hamas and other militant groups have fired some 2,900 rockets into Israel since Monday, when tensions over a holy site in Jerusalem and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families from a nearby neighbourhood boiled over.

Read more: '100,000' protesters march through London in Free Palestine demonstration

Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes across Gaza, which is home to two million Palestinians, and has flattened multiple high-rise buildings, including the offices of international media organisations.

Mostefa Souag, acting director-general of Al Jazeera Media Network, called the strike on the media offices a "war crime" and a "clear act" to stop journalists from reporting on the conflict.

International human rights group Amnesty International has called on the International Criminal Court to investigate the Israeli attack on the building housing media organisations and Sunday's attack, calling incidents such as these war crimes.

The latest round of fighting is the worst since the 2014 Gaza war, with a significant number of civilian casualties, particularly amongst Palestinians.

At least 174 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including 47 children and 29 women, with more than 1,200 injured. Eight Israelis have been killed, including a five-year-old boy and a soldier.

Firefighters attempt to extinguish flames after a Israeli airstrike in Gaza City.
Firefighters attempt to extinguish flames after a Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. Picture: PA
edestrians look on as workers remove rubble of houses destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.
edestrians look on as workers remove rubble of houses destroyed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. Picture: PA

Efforts to broker a ceasefire have accelerated over the weekend, with talks at the UN Security Council set to take place on Sunday.

It follows a delay to the meeting after the United States, a key ally of Israel, objected to a meeting on Friday as initially planned.

America had argued that waiting a few days could allow "diplomacy to have some effect", however instead the situation appears to be spiralling out of control.