Pictures published Tuesday showed the offices of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh reduced to rubble as Gazans took stock of the damage Tuesday after an estimated 80 Israeli air strikes leveled dozens of Hamas and Islamic Jihad installations in the territory.
The Israeli strikes came in response to a rocket attack on central Israel early Monday that wounded seven and subsequent overnight rocket barrages from the Strip.
The figure of 80 strikes was cited by a Hamas-linked Gazan security source. The group also said seven people were hurt in the strikes.
Witnesses said the coastal enclave was rocked by explosions while fireballs rose in the sky in Gaza City, with the largest explosion coming from the building housing the office of Hamas’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, which was completely destroyed, leaving nothing but a large pit in the ground after cleaning crews had removed the debris.
The low number of injures from the intense bombing campaign was credited to Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives fleeing their installations and moving underground hours before the Israeli strikes began on Monday night.
Most of the terror groups’ leaders remained in hiding late Tuesday.
In Gaza, Raed al-Qahtawi, whose home was damaged in the strike on Haniyeh’s office, said he received a warning call from Hamas authorities beforehand.
“We were sitting in the house and then they called us and told us to clear the house immediately,” he said.
The fighting appears to have subsided by Tuesday morning, with Hamas officials saying the group was committed to a ceasefire, though Tuesday night saw another flareup of violence.
Several terror groups said a lone rocket fired Tuesday after the beginning of the ceasefire “could be a result of an individual act of one of the factions in Gaza,” but was not ordered by Hamas, Islamic Jihad or other known groups.