(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) — An Israeli strike on a Gaza City high-rise Monday has killed one of the top militant leaders of Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian militant group said.
The second strike in two days on the downtown Gaza City building that houses the Hamas TV station, Al Aqsa, has killed Ramez Harb, who is a leading figure in the Al Quds Brigades militant wing, according to a text message Islamic Jihad sent to reporters.
It is also the second high profile commander taken out in the Israeli offensive, which began six days ago with a missile strike that killed Ahmed Jibari, Hamas’ top military commander.
On Monday, mourners buried the 11 victims of an Israeli air strike on Sunday, the single deadliest incident since the escalation between Hamas and Israel began last Wednesday. Among the dead were nine members of the Daloo family, killed when an Israeli warplane targeted their home in Gaza City while trying to kill a Hamas rocket maker, whose fate is unknown.
Palestinian deaths climbed to more than 90 on Monday when four more, including two children, were killed in a strike on a sports stadium the Israel Defense Forces said was being used to launch rockets. Gaza health officials said half of those killed were children, women or elderly men.
With the death toll rising, Egypt accelerated efforts to broker a ceasefire, but so far the two sides are far apart. Egypt is being supported by Qatar and Turkey in its peacemaking mission and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to arrive at the talks later Monday.
Israel carried out 80 air strikes Monday morning, down from previous morning totals. There were 75 militant rocket launches, the Israeli military said, also a relatively low tally.
The Israel Defense Forces said that since Wednesday, around 1,100 strikes had been carried out in Gaza while militants have launched about 1,000 rockets towards Israel.
Three Israeli civilians died from militant rocket fire in one attack Thursday and dozens have been wounded.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN