Gaza City: Hamas said Tuesday that “all Israelis” would be targeted after a deadly strike on a house in the southern city of Khan Yunis killed seven people, among them two children.
“The Khan Yunis massacre... of children is a horrendous war crime, and all Israelis have now become legitimate targets for the resistance,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.
Medics said another 25 people were wounded in the strike.
The Arab League called for the UN Security Council to hold an urgent meeting to discuss the deadly Israeli air campaign, Secretary General Nabeel Al Arabi said.
An official from the pan-Arab bloc told AFP Al Arabi had “instructed the Arab League’s UN representative to initiate urgent consultations within the Arab group calling for an emergency security meeting of the Security Council.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri warned Israel was “playing with fire” and would pay for its ongoing operations.
Army figures show that since midnight, fighters have fired 130 rockets at southern Israel, while the air force struck 150 “terror targets” in Gaza.
In all. Israeli strikes killed 12 people on Tuesday and wounded 80 others, the emergency services said, as the military began an aerial campaign against militants in the Strip.
It was the most serious flare-up in and around the Palestinian territory since November 2012, and came as Israel’s cabinet reportedly authorised the army to call up 40,000 reservists for a possible assault on Gaza.
In the worst strike, a missile slammed into a house in the southern city of Khan Yunis killing seven people and wounding 25 others, medics said.
The attack “targeted the house of the Al Kaware family,” emergency services spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra told AFP, saying children were among the injured.
Witnesses said a drone launched a warning flare, prompting relatives and neighbours to gather at the house as a human shield, but shortly afterwards an F-16 fired a missile which levelled the building.
Earlier, four people were killed in a separate strike on a car in the Daraj neighbourhood in the centre of Gaza City, Qudra said.
Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV showed gruesome images of charred body parts being loaded onto ambulance stretchers.
Family members said all of them were Hamas fighters, identifying one as Mohammad Shaaban, 32, a senior commander in Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezz Al Deen Al Qassam Brigades. He was also head of the group’s naval operations, they said.
Israel’s army confirmed targeting Shaaban, describing him as “a senior Hamas operative”.
In a separate strike near Nusseirat refugee camp, another man was killed, with witnesses telling AFP he was also a Hamas operative.