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Israel PM Netanyahu says Gaza airstrikes will continue, Hamas Gaza chief's home bombed

Israel bombed the home of Hamas's chief in Gaza early on Sunday and the Islamist group fired rocket barrages at Tel Aviv as hostilities stretched into a seventh day with no sign of abating.

Israel PM Netanyahu says Gaza airstrikes will continue, Hamas Gaza chief's home bombed-dnm
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Jerusalem, First Published May 16, 2021, 10:59 AM IST
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Jerusalem: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, blaming Hamas for starting nearly a week of hostilities by firing rockets at Israel, said on Saturday Israel will continue to strike in Gaza as long as necessary and do its utmost to avoid civilian casualties.

Israel bombed the home of Hamas's chief in Gaza early on Sunday and the Islamist group fired rocket barrages at Tel Aviv as hostilities stretched into a seventh day with no sign of abating.

The hostilities showed no sign of letting up as they entered a seventh day, with Palestinians saying at least 145 people have been killed since the conflict began on Monday, including 41 children. Israel has reported 10 dead, including two children.

"The party that bears the guilt for this confrontation is not us, it's those attacking us," Netanyahu said in a televised speech. "We are still in the midst of this operation, it is still not over and this operation will continue as long as necessary."

"Unlike Hamas, which deliberately intends to harm civilians while hiding behind civilians, we are doing everything, but everything, to avoid or limit as much as possible harming civilians and to directly strike terrorists instead."

At least four Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes across the coastal enclave, health officials said, and many were injured as the sounds of heavy bombardment roared through the night.

Israelis dashed for bomb shelters as sirens warning of incoming rocket fire blared in Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheba.

Around 10 people were injured while running for shelters, medics said.

The 12-storey block in Gaza City brought down by Israeli air strikes housed the US Associated Press and Qatar-based Al Jazeera media operations.

The United States told Israel "that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

US President Joe Biden later spoke to both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in an effort to restore calm.

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