(CNN)Israel bombed a house in Gaza where a family had gathered to celebrate the end of Ramadan and an office housing international media as a new flurry of Hamas missiles rained down on Tel Aviv Saturday, increasing fears that a de-escalation of the conflict could soon be out of reach.
The Al Jala’a building, which was hit by an Israeli airstrike on Saturday afternoon, contained offices for Al Jazeera and the Associated Press, among other media outlets, marking the latest escalation of violence that has spread across Israel and the Palestinian territories this week — the conflict’s bloodiest in recent years.
Israel launched more airstrikes on Gaza overnight, with Hamas retaliating with missiles on Saturday. In less than a week, Israeli airstrikes killed more than 130 people and at least 1,000 others injured in Gaza alone, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said, as rioting and mob violence between Arabs and Jews marred cities and towns throughout Israel.
Hamas fired dozens of missiles towards Tel Aviv on Saturday, with Al-Qassam Brigades, the militant wing of Hamas, saying in a statement the move was in direct retaliation for Israeli airstrikes on a Gazan refugee camp. A 50-year old man was killed early Saturday afternoon after a rocket hit a series of buildings in a residential area in a Tel Aviv suburb called Ramat Gan, bringing Israel’s death toll to 10, according to Israel’s emergency service.
A baby is brought to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for treatment on May 15, after being injured in an Israeli airstrike, which destroyed a 3-story house and killed 10 members of the child’s family.
Early Saturday, an infant was the lone survivor in a house that was hit and destroyed in an Israeli air strike hit in the al-Shati refugee camp, killing 10 members of the infant’s family — including eight children, according to the Palestinian News Agency WAFA. At least 20 other Palestinians were wounded after several nearby houses were damaged in the Israeli airstrike, it added.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said its forces struck several positions in Gaza late Friday, including a military intelligence site. “Hamas is paying the price for its terror,” it said in a Twitter post on Saturday.
Militants in Gaza responded to the airstrikes on the refugee camp on Saturday with rockets targeting the Israeli cities of Beersheba, Ashdod, and Sderot. The IDF posted a video on Twitter of a blazing fire in Ashdod, warning that the move “won’t go unanswered.”
On the Al Jala’a building strike, the Israeli Airforce said Saturday that fighter jets targeted a building which was housing Hamas military intelligence assets and using media outlets as “shields.”
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, however has accused the IDF of “direct targeting of crowded civilian areas” and failing to take precautionary measures to spare civilian lives.
By Saturday, at least 139 people had been killed in Gaza, including at least 39 children, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported, with the number of injured Palestinians in Gaza rising to at least 1,000 people. At least 254 of the injured are children who have sustained injuries as a result of Israeli airstrikes, it said on Friday.
Ashraf al-Qudra, the spokesman for Gaza health ministry, urged “the international community of the necessity to curb the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip,” adding that “we monitor these violations against Palestinian families, and this is a blatant violation.”
US President Joe Biden’s administration, which has said its focus is on de-escalation and working with allies in the region on that goal, sent US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr to Israel on Friday. The US Embassy in Jerusalem said in a post on Twitter that Amr’s trip would “reinforce the need to work toward a sustainable calm, recognizing Israel’s right to self-defense. Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal measures of freedom, security, dignity and prosperity.”
But efforts at international diplomacy so far appear to have stalled. A UN Security Council meeting on the violence will take place Sunday morning; the US blocked previous Security Council efforts to meet, preferring direct diplomacy on the conflict rather than discussion in an international forum.