The Palestinian Hamas movement, which wields power in the Gaza Strip, confirms heavy losses after Israeli airstrikes.
“Numerous” top commanders have been killed in the shelling and bombing, including the military boss of Gaza City, a statement from the strict-Islamic organization said.
At least four other key leaders have been killed, according to Israeli security service Shin Bet. The Israeli attacks were in response to Palestinian rocket fire, which in turn was in response to attacks from Israel. The Israeli army says the Palestinians have fired more than a thousand rockets at Israel since Monday evening.
More than 50 people have been killed on the Palestinian side so far; on the Israeli side, five civilians. In addition, an Israeli soldier has been killed by a Hamas missile, and the Israeli army reports Wednesday afternoon.
Violence between Israel and Palestinians escalated with Palestinian protests against the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem. They have to make way for Jewish settlers.