UK & World News

  • 26 August 2014, 13:03

Gaza High-Rise Blocks Wrecked By Airstrikes

Israeli airstrikes have destroyed much of one of Gaza's tallest apartment blocks.

Palestinian officials said 70 families lived in the block, known as the Italian Complex, which also housed offices and a shopping centre.

Gaza's health ministry said 25 people were injured.

Hundreds of people living nearby have been evacuated because of fears that the remaining part of the structure could collapse.

Another of Gaza's tallest blocks - the Basha Tower - was completely destroyed.

The buildings were evacuated before they were hit because warnings were issued by Israel, which said it had only targeted sites linked to militants.

The Gaza government said at least nine people were killed in Israeli airstrikes elsewhere in the territory.

Israel said eight rockets had been fired at its territory from Gaza overnight. More rockets were also fired at it from across the Lebanese border, it said.

One of the rockets from Gaza injured up to a dozen people in Ashkelon and badly damaged a house.

It followed a day in which 130 rockets were fired from Gaza.

Israel said on Tuesday it had carried out 15 airstrikes in Gaza overnight. It also released a video showing targets where it said militants had been operating from.

The latest strikes came as Egypt urged Israel and Hamas to restart indirect talks on establishing a permanent ceasefire.

Negotiators have been using the Egyptians as go-betweens to discuss the future of the blockade on Gaza, which Israel says is necessary to limit what it describes as terrorist attacks from the territory.

The Egyptians have suggested a gradual easing of restrictions on trade and movement in and out of Gaza and in exchange for giving Hamas' Palestinian rival, President Mahmoud Abbas, a foothold in the territory.

Hamas seized Gaza from Mr Abbas in 2007, triggering the blockade. Hamas and Israel blamed each other for delaying agreement.

At least 2,133 Palestinians have been killed in the latest conflict and more than 11,000 wounded, according to Palestinian health officials.

The UN estimates that more than 17,000 homes have been destroyed, leaving 100,000 people homeless.

Israel says 68 of its citizens have been killed, all but four of them soldiers.

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