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Israeli air strikes level third high rise in Gaza

The 16-storey al-Shorouk tower housed local and foreign media outlets as well as shops and apartments
The 16-storey al-Shorouk was previously hit by a missile strike during Israel's attack on Gaza in 2014
The 16-storey al-Shorouk tower was also hit by a missile strike during Israel's attack on Gaza in 2014 (Reuters)

Israeli air strikes have levelled another high rise building in Gaza, the third in as many days, as Israel escalates its offensive on the coastal enclave. 

An air strike hit the 16-storey al-Shorouk tower in the al-Rimal area, west of Gaza City, on Wednesday. Locals on social media warned of the impending strike, saying Israeli forces had hit the building with a "roof-knocking" bomb at least an hour before it was destroyed. 

The building in Gaza, which housed local and foreign media outlets as well as shops and apartments, was previously hit by a missile strike during Israel's attack on Gaza in 2014. 

Videos shared on Wednesday show the structure being hit, followed by a plume of black smoke and the sound of Israeli warplanes flying overhead.

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Middle East Eye's correspondent in Gaza said an Israeli F-16 jet had fired nine missiles towards the building.

Israeli authorities said Hamas members were using each of the three buildings it has so far targeted for military purposes. But official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that "no clear reason was seen for the bombing of high rises other than inflicting damage and hurting the population".

In the past, Israel has used its military capabilities to attempt to target single apartments or offices within a building, but so far during "Operation Guardian of the Walls", launched this week, it has targeted entire structures.  

Meanwhile, Hamas continues to bombard Israel with rockets, most of which are knocked out of the sky by Israel's advanced Iron Dome anti-missile system. Still, three Jewish Israelis and two Palestinian citizens of Israel, one of whom was a child, have been killed by the Hamas missiles in recent days. 

Before the al-Shorouk tower was hit, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza reported Israeli air strikes had killed 56 Palestinians, including 14 children, five women, and one elderly person. At least 335 people have been wounded.

The death toll and number of wounded in Gaza are expected to rise following this latest strike.

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