Palestinians stand on the rubble of a 12-story apartment building destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX
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Israeli airstrikes leveled a seven-floor office building and severely damaged a two-story shopping center in the Gaza Strip Sunday, signaling a new escalation after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Israel's bloody offensive would continue as long as necessary.The strikes in the southern town of Rafah came just hours after Israel bombed a residential tower in Gaza City, collapsing the 12-story building with 44 apartments. The targeting of large buildings appears to be part of a new tactic by Israel. A senior military official confirmed that Israel has a policy of striking at buildings that it said contain Hamas operational centers or those from which military activities are launched. In the 12-story building the target was a fourth-floor apartment where Hamas ran an operations center, according to Israeli media. In the past, Israel has carried out pinpoint strikes, targeting apartments in high-rises with missiles, while leaving the buildings standing. Ghoul was targeted three days after Israel assassinated three top Hamas commanders in the southern Gaza Strip.
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