Israel bombed an apartment tower in downtown Gaza City on Saturday, collapsing the 12-story building in an unprecedented strike, while Hamas kept up heavy rocket fire that sent more Israelis fleeing border areas close to Gaza.
The violence signaled that a speedy resumption of truce talks is unlikely, despite another appeal by mediator Egypt. Gaps between Israel and Hamas on a border deal for blockaded Gaza remain vast, and repeated rounds of talks have ended in failure.
In the Gaza City strike, a huge fireball followed by a black column of smoke rose into the sky after two Israeli missiles toppled the Zafer Tower, one in a group of several high-rises in the upscale Tel al-Hawa neighborhood. Neighboring buildings shook from the blasts.
The Israeli military said the missiles targeted a Hamas operations room in the building, but did not explain why the entire tower with 44 apartments was brought down.