Gaza endured a night of relentless bombardment that brought some of the heaviest pounding since the start of the conflict three weeks ago, in the hours after the Israeli political and military leadership warned of a protracted offensive.

Palestinian officials say more than 110 people have been killed in Gaza in the past 24 hours.

Israeli forces targeted key strategic targets, including the home of the Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, and a building housing Hamas-controlled broadcast outlets.

Haniyeh’s home was hit by a missile shortly before dawn, causing damage but no injuries. Eleven people were killed in a strike on a house in Bureij refugee camp in Gaza City.

Shells hit fuel tanks at Gaza’s only power plant, causing a massive explosion and black smoke to billow into the air. The plant’s capacity – already down to about three hours’ electricity supply a day – is likely to be further reduced.

Hamas said al-Aqsa TV and al-Aqsa Radio were also targeted. The television station continued to broadcast but the radio station went silent.

The Israel Defence Forces struck 150 targets in total during the course of the night. Sirens warning of rocket fire sounded across southern Israel.

The IDF said overnight that five soldiers had died in a gun battle on Monday with militants who crossed into Israel via a tunnel near the community of Nahal Oz, close to the border with the Gaza Strip.

The incident raised to 10 the number of military fatalities for the day, bringing the total to 53. Four others were killed in a mortar attack and another died in clashes in the south of Gaza.

Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, claimed it had killed 19 Israeli soldiers on Monday and a total of 110 during the military campaign…. see more

source: Guardian UK