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Tue Jul 29, 2014, 12:44 PM


Power, TV and Radio Stations Hit in Gaza

GAZA CITY — Israeli airstrikes flattened the vacant four-story home of Hamas’s top political leader in the Gaza Strip and destroyed offices of the organization’s radio and television station early Tuesday, broadening Israel’s targets as diplomacy toward a cease-fire sputtered in confusion on the battle’s 22nd day.

Palestinians said Israeli strikes had also hit Gaza’s only power plant, where an enormous fire hurtled thick, black smoke skyward, visible for miles. Lt. Col. Peter Lerner of the Israeli military said he was still looking into the circumstances of the fire, including “whether we had anything to do with it.”

But the attacks on Hamas’s media operation and the home of Ismail Haniya, the deputy chief of Hamas who is second only to Khaled Meshal, the leader who lives in exile in Qatar, signified Israel’s widened roster of targets marked for destruction in the conflict, the deadliest in years.

The strikes, during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, came after the latest humanitarian halt to hostilities collapsed because of attacks on both sides, culminating in the most deadly incursion yet by Palestinian militants through a tunnel from Gaza into Israel.

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The shutdown of the power plant, which Israel previously attacked in 2006 and which sat idle for weeks this past winter for lack of fuel, threatened to turn the deprivations in Gaza into a humanitarian crisis. The facility powers water and sewage systems as well as hospitals, and it had been Gaza’s main source of electricity in recent days after eight of 10 lines that run from Israel were damaged.

“Today there is no electricity in Gaza,” said Jamal Dardasawi of Gaza’s electricity distribution company, noting that the power supplied by Egypt is not even enough for the southern city of Rafah. “The shelling of the station is a violation of all red lines.”


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