Israeli jets pound Gaza in second day of attacks

Israeli jets have pounded the besieged Gaza Strip for a second day following a wave of air strikes on the coastal enclave that killed at least 12 people, including a five-year-old girl and a commander of a Palestinian armed group.

The fighting, which began on Friday with Israel’s targeted killing of a senior commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, continued throughout the night, drawing the sides closer to an all-out war.

Shortly before noon on Saturday, Israel stepped up air strikes on Gaza, flattening a west Gaza City two-storey structure and badly damaging surrounding homes. Women and children rushed out of the area.

“Warned us? They warned us with rockets, and we fled without taking anything,” said Huda Shamallakh, who lived next door, adding that 15 people lived in the house that was targeted.

Reporting from Gaza, Al Jazeera’s Youmna ElSayed said that the attacks on Gaza “have not stopped since the early morning hours”.

Standing in front of another four-storey home flattened by an Israeli strike, ElSayed said the building had housed 30 residents.

“Israel is now targeting homes,” she said, explaining that several other residences in the Gaza Strip had been targeted. “A lot of people have fallen as casualties during the strikes, many of them children.”

Reporting from the Gaza-Israeli border, Al Jazeera’s John Holman said that the area was on high alert with people on the Israeli side sheltering as some rockets from Gaza fell onto southern Israel.

“We have the first report of injuries on the Israeli side – two soldiers,” he said, explaining that 160 rockets had been launched from Gaza into southern Israel since Friday.

“It gives you an indication of how uneven this fight between Israel – which has vast military capabilities – and the Islamic Jihad is,” he added.

Power plant shut down

Also on Saturday, Gaza’s sole power plant shut down after running out of fuel, an electricity company spokesman said, five days after Israel closed its goods crossing with the Palestinian enclave.

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