Israel reportedly struck the United Nations headquarters in Gaza, as Hamas stepped up rocket attacks on southern Israel. The Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City was also hit, the Associated Press reported.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced, during a news conference following his meeting with Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, that he expressed his “strong protest and outrage” to Defense Minister Ehud Barak over Thursday’s strike on the U.N. compound. He said Barak characterized the attack as “a grave mistake.”
Hundreds of people had taken shelter in the compound, which also houses the U.N.’s main aid supplies storehouse, according to reports.
Al Jazeera reported Thursday that Israel struck a hospital in Gaza City’s Tel Hawwa neighborhood, destroying its pharmacy, as well as a communications building that is home to Reuters and several Arab publications.
According to reports, Israeli tanks are pushing deeper into Gaza City. The Israeli army has not commented on troop maneuvers or positions.
More than 20 rockets were fired from Gaza on Thursday morning, despite the fact that Hamas has reportedly approved in principle an Egyptian plan for a cease-fire. One long-range, Grad-type rocket struck an open area in Gedera, on the southern edge of central Israel.
Israel extended its daily humanitarian pause Thursday by one hour, to four hours, to allow Palestinian civilians to purchase supplies or change locations, and to allow aid convoys to enter the strip.
Livni also met Thursday with Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Red Cross, and pressed him to mention captive soldier Gilad Shalit in his public statements and to demand that the Red Cross be allowed to visit him. Shalit is said to be held by Hamas in Gaza.