Israeli air strikes killed 10 Palestinians and destroyed the Hamas government building on Saturday as the Jewish state called up thousands more reservists for a possible ground war.
“The cabinet headquarters was targeted with four strikes and the government stresses that it remains committed to its positions and its stand alongside the people,” the Hamas government said in a statement.
Eyewitnesses and Hamas officials said the building located in the Nasser neighborhood of Gaza City was virtually leveled in the strike.
“The headquarters was completely destroyed and neighboring houses were damaged as a result of the barbaric Israeli bombing,” a Hamas official said.
After Palestinian militants fired rockets at the heart of Israel on Friday, Israeli warplanes carried out 180 air strikes overnight, Israel television reported.
“It’s like a real-life horror movie, what I saw today... It’s a miracle we’re still alive,” said 18-year-old Suha, standing outside her house.
Medics said 40 Gazans have been killed and more than 390 wounded since Israel launched its aerial campaign on Wednesday afternoon, with at least five militants among 10 people killed on Saturday.
As the toll rose, sirens sounds in Tel Aviv for a third day, sending people scuttling for cover a day after a rocket hit the sea near the city center, AFP correspondents said.
Officials said one rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system while a second hit somewhere in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
In Egypt, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel would be held to account for the children killed.
“Everyone must know that sooner or later there will be a holding to account for the massacre of these innocent children killed inhumanely in Gaza,” he said in a speech in Cairo.
The United States called for diplomacy and “de-escalation” as a way to end the crisis.
Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security adviser, told reporters the United States “wants the same thing as the Israelis want,” which is an end to rocket attacks on Israel by Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi, meanwhile, pledged to support Palestinians against “Israel's aggression” and to end the blockade of Gaza as Arab ministers began emergency talks on the conflict in Cairo Saturday.
“We pledge to the Palestinians in Gaza and everywhere to provide support to confront this aggression and break the siege,” he said at the start of the meeting.