Death toll at 36 as Israel bombardment of Gaza escalates

The Israeli military has continued its bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip early on Wednesday, targeting several areas after rockets were fired from the enclave.

It is the most intense airstrikes in Gaza since the bombardment in 2014.

Health authorities in Gaza said at least 36 Palestinians – including 10 children – were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Strip since late on Monday, after Hamas launched rockets from the coastal territory towards Israel. At least 250 others were injured.

At least five people in Israel have also been killed.

The rocket fire came after Hamas, which rules Gaza, issued an ultimatum demanding Israel stand down its security forces from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem after days of violence against Palestinians.

Israeli police stormed the compound on Monday for a third consecutive day, firing rubber-coated steel rounds, stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque in the final days of the holy month of Ramadan.

More than 700 Palestinians were hurt in Jerusalem and across the occupied West Bank in recent days.

Here are the latest updates:

Israel strikes hit targets in Gaza’s Khan Younis

A video posted on social media by the Safa Press agency showed the aftermath of a series of Israeli strikes on Wednesday morning in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israel earlier announced that it has launched its largest bombardment of the Palestinian territory since its operation started on Monday.

Rocket from Gaza hits Israeli pipleline

Israeli authorities reported on Wednesday that a Gaza rocket attack has hit an Israeli pipeline near Ashkelon causing a large fire.

The Gaza-based Palestinian group, Hamas, has vowed to hit Israeli targets in retaliation against air strikes on Gaza Strip and the police attack on Palestinian worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque.

Israel hits several police stations in Gaza

Israeli air strikes on Wednesday morning, the heaviest since the operation started on Monday, hit several police stations in the Gaza Strip.

Al Jazeera’s Safwat al Kahlout, reporting from Gaza, said that the main police headquarters in the Palestinian territory was also “completely destroyed.”

Kahlout also reported that the death toll from the Israeli strikes has risen to 36, with 250 others injured.

Al Jazeera has also received reports that houses of senior commanders of Hamas were also hit.

Overnight, tens of families have been left homeless after their homes were also destroyed by Israeli air strikes, Kahlout reported.

Israel tanks ‘on the move’ heading to border with Gaza

According to social media posts and news reports, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has reportedly deployed its tanks to its southern border with the Palestinian territory of Gaza, signaling a new phase in its operation against Palestinians.

Israeli and Palestinian analysts have also confirmed on Wednesday the movement of tanks near the Israeli border.

Dov Waxman, an analysts from the University of California, told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces have been moving their tanks near the border, but it is still unclear if it is preparing for a prolonged operation.

“I don’t think that the Israeli government would want to initiate a major ground incursion,” he said, even as he cautioned that the situation on the ground could go out of control fomenting more violence.

Source : Al Jazeera

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