Palestinians carry their belongings from a house destroyed
Gaza - XINHUA
The commander of the Gaza Strip police, together with 17 other Palestinians, were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Saturday night, medics said, making it the worst attack since Israel's aerial offensive on the coastal enclave began earlier on Tuesday.
A Health Ministry spokesman in Gaza said that Police General Tayseer al-Batsh was critically wounded and brought to Shiffa Hospital, "but doctors failed to rescue his life."
The spokesman added that 17 other Palestinians were also killed and around 50 injured in the worst ever Israeli airstrike since Israel's air raids against the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.
Witnesses said Israeli war planes first fired a warning missile at the commander's house in Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza city, then completely destroyed it with another heavy missile.
The house happened to be next door to a mosque, where dozens were doing their Ramadan prayers. The missile destroyed parts of the mosque, killing and wounding the prayers.
Meanwhile, two more Palestinians were killed in two separate Israeli airstrikes on the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, the spokesman said.
"Since Tuesday morning 156 Palestinians have been killed and around 1,065 injured during the last five days of intensive Israeli airstrikes on houses. More than two third of the victims are civilians," he added.
The Health Ministry in Gaza said in a press statement that according to international experts, "Israel has been using new kinds of weapons and missiles that are internationally prohibited. "
Earlier on Saturday, Hamas' armed wing al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for attacking Tel Aviv with a barrage of rockets. Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted three rockets above Tel Aviv's metropolitan area, while another rocket landed in an open area near southern Tal Aviv. No casualties were reported.