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The Israeli army said it had zeroed in on a number of government buildings during the night, including Haniyeh’s office, the Hamas Interior Ministry and a police compound.
Taher al-Nono, a spokesman for the Hamas government, held a news conference near the rubble of the prime minister’s office and pledged: “We will declare victory from here.”
A three-storey house belonging to Hamas official Abu Hassan Salah was also hit and totally destroyed early on Saturday. Rescuers said at least 30 people were pulled from the rubble.
In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama commended Egypt’s efforts to help defuse the Gaza violence in a call to Mursi on Friday, the White House said in a statement, and underscored his hope of restoring stability there.
On Friday, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil paid a high-profile visit to Gaza, denouncing what he called Israeli aggression and saying Cairo was prepared to mediate a truce.
Egypt’s Islamist government, freely elected after U.S.-backed autocrat Hosni Mubarak fell to a popular uprising last year, is allied with Hamas but Cairo is also party to a 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
In a call to Netanyahu, Obama discussed options for “de-escalating” the situation, the White House said, adding that the president “reiterated U.S. support for Israel’s right to defend itself, and expressed regret over the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives”.
Hamas fighters are no match for the Israeli military. The last Gaza war, involving a three-week long Israeli air blitz and ground invasion over the New Year period of 2008-09, killed over 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians. Thirteen Israelis died.
But few believe Israeli military action can snuff out militant rocket fire entirely without a reoccupation of Gaza, an option all but ruled out because it would risk major casualties and an international outcry.
While Hamas rejects the Jewish state’s existence, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who rules in areas of the nearby West Bank not occupied by Israelis, does recognise Israel but peace talks between the two sides have been frozen since 2010.