Israeli Airstrikes Destroy Gaza's Main Power Plant and Home of Top Hamas Leader

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 29 2014 11:25 AM

Israeli Airstrikes Destroy Gaza's Main Power Plant and Home of Top Hamas Leader

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Smoke billows from a power plant in the coastal Palestinian enclave following an Israeli air strike on July 29, 2014.

Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli airstrikes have destroyed Gaza’s main power plant and leveled the home of a top Hamas political leader, according to the Associated Press.

Israel has stepped up its military campaign, and the AP describes Tuesday’s attacks as the “heaviest” so far, with the Gaza bombardment having entered its 22nd day. Israel hit 150 targets over 24 hours, including the home of Ismail Haniyeh, deputy chief of the Hamas movement. No one was hurt at the refugee-camp home, which had been empty for days.

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The destruction of the plant, however, has left Gaza without power, reports the New York Times. The plant had been Gaza’s main power source in recent days following the damage of eight of 10 lines coming from Israel. It powers water, sewage systems, and hospitals. Here’s more from AP about the state of the power plant:

The scene at the Gaza power plant after two tank shells hit one of three fuel tanks was daunting. "We need at least one year to repair the power plant, the turbines, the fuel tanks and the control room," said Fathi Sheik Khalil of the Gaza Energy Authority. "Everything was burned."

Palestinian health workers report that at least 100 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday, raising the death toll since the crisis started on July 8 to an estimated 1,156. On the Israeli front, 53 soldiers and three civilians have reportedly been killed in the fighting.

Irene Chidinma Nwoye is a writer and former Slate intern in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.