Benjamin Netanyahu warns Gaza civilians after Israel destroys apartment tower

Aug 25 2014, 09:21 IST
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I call on the inhabitants of Gaza to evacuate immediately from every site from which Hamas is carrying out terrorist activity. (AP Photo) I call on the inhabitants of Gaza to evacuate immediately from every site from which Hamas is carrying out terrorist activity. (AP Photo)
SummaryPM Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian civilians to leave immediately any site where militants are operating.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian civilians on Sunday to leave immediately any site where militants are operating, one day after Israel took the Gaza war to a new level by flattening a 13-storey apartment tower.

Israeli aircraft fired a non-explosive rocket at the building as a signal to residents to get out before attacking it on Saturday. Seventeen people were wounded in the strike on the structure, which Israel said had housed a Hamas command centre.

"I call on the inhabitants of Gaza to evacuate immediately from every site from which Hamas is carrying out terrorist activity. Every one of these places is a target for us," Netanyahu said in public remarks at a cabinet meeting.

With no end in sight to fighting in its seventh week, Netanyahu's tough talk seemed to indicate a move towards bolder strikes against Hamas targets in densely populated neighbourhoods, even at the risk of raising more international alarm.

Hours after Netanyahu spoke, a cluster of four homes, one belonging to a Hamas member, was destroyed in an air strike in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, neighbours said.

Ten people were wounded by flying debris, but no fatalities were reported. Neighbours said about 10 minutes before the attack, a warning missile was fired and residents fled.

In Gaza City, an Israeli strike on a car killed Mohammed al-Ghoul, described by the Israeli military as a Hamas official responsible for "terror fund transactions". U.S. dollars were found in the wrecked vehicle, witnesses said.

Ghoul was targeted three days after Israel assassinated three top Hamas commanders in the southern Gaza Strip.

In another attack on Sunday, a mother and her three children were killed when their home was bombed in Jabalya refugee camp, hospital officials said. It was not immediately clear why the dwelling was hit, and neighbours said no warning was given.

Militants kept up constant rocket and mortar strikes on southern Israel, wounding three Israelis at the Erez border crossing with the Gaza Strip. The military said more than 70 rockets were launched on Sunday alone.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described Netanyahu's warnings to Gazans to steer clear of potential targets "a clear example of war crimes" against Gaza's civilian population.

Thousands of homes in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or damaged in the conflict. Nearly 500,000 people have been displaced in the territory of 1.8 million where Palestinians, citing Israeli attacks that have hit schools and mosques, say no

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