AFP, November 18
FRESH Israeli air strikes hit a Gaza City media centre and homes in northern Gaza as the death toll mounted, despite suggestions from Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi that there could be a “ceasefire soon”.
“At least six journalists were wounded, with minor and moderate injuries, when Israeli warplanes hit the al-Quds TV office in the Showa and Housari building in the Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City,” health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
Witnesses reported extensive damage to the building, used by Hamas for broadcasts, and said journalists had evacuated after an initial strike, which was followed by at least two more on the site.
Israel keeps pounding Gaza by air, says it intercepted missile fired by Hamas at Tel Aviv
Washington Post, By Karin Brulliard & Abigail Hauslohner, November 17
Jerusalem — Israel’s four-day-old air offensive in the Gaza Strip expanded to target Hamas government buildings on Saturday and Palestinian militants continued firing a torrent of rockets at civilian areas in southern Israel as both sides stepped up diplomatic efforts to win support.
Israeli airstrikes over Gaza accelerated to nearly 200 early in the day, including one hit that reduced the offices of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to a smoldering concrete heap. That strike, along with others on a police headquarters and smuggling tunnels along the strip’s southern border with Egypt, raised questions about whether Israel had broadened its mission to including toppling the Hamas government that rules the coastal strip.
Just before sundown, Hamas said it had fired an Iranian-made Fajr-5 rocket at Tel Aviv, and air raid sirens sounded in that city for the third day in a row. The Israeli military said its newly deployed missile defense battery intercepted the rocket before it landed in the populous coastal city.
Even as airstrikes pounded the area Saturday morning, the foreign minister of Tunisia’s Islamist-led government, Rafik Abdessalem, arrived in Gaza with a delegation, underscoring Hamas’s newfound credibility in a region dramatically altered by the Arab Spring. Abdessalem expressed outrage at what he called Israeli “aggression” and pledged to unite with other Arab countries to end the conflict.
Israel fires at Syria after shooting aimed at its troops
Reuters, November 17
Jerusalem – Israeli soldiers fired artillery into Syria in response to gunfire aimed at its troops in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, a military spokeswoman said on Sunday.
There were no reported injuries on the Israeli side from the shootings, which occurred on Saturday, the third case this month of violence seen as a spillover of civil unrest in Syria that has also alarmed other neighbors such as Lebanon and Turkey.
“Gunshots from Syria were fired at Israeli forces in the central Golan. Israel responded with artillery fire,” striking at those who initiated the shooting, the spokeswoman said.
Gaza braces for invasion as death toll mounts
White House calls for diplomacy after Israeli air strikes destroy Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s headquarters
The Guardian, By Harriet Sherwood and Peter Beaumont, November 17
Gaza is braced for a ground invasion by Israeli forces following intensified bombing that included the flattening of the headquarters of the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
As the Israeli military began the emergency call-up of up to 75,000 reservists, leaders from Turkey, Egypt and Qatar met in Cairo to discuss ways of ending the escalating violence. Since Wednesday Israel has launched more than 950 air strikes on the coastal Palestinian territory, targeting weaponry and flattening militant homes and headquarters.
The raids continued past midnight on Sunday. Witnesses said one targeted a building in Gaza City housing the offices of local Arab media, wounding three journalists from al-Quds television, a Lebanon-based station that Israel sees as pro-Hamas. The building is also used by foreign news outlets including Germany’s ARD, Kuwait TV, the Italian RAI and others.
Various tweeters are reporting that ships are blitzing the Gaza City from the sea…
New York Times: Israel Broadens Its Bombing in Gaza to Include Government Sites
BBC: Israel shells Gaza from sea as rocket-fire continues
Al Jazeera: Israel pounds Gaza Strip from air and sea