The resistance movement says in a statement that it targeted the cities of Ashkelon, Netivot, and Sderot with 130 rockets in response to Israel’s destruction of the 14-storey Al Sharouk Tower in Gaza.

Smoke rises from 14-storey building as Israeli fighter jets continue to pound a Palestinian building called
Smoke rises from 14-storey building as Israeli fighter jets continue to pound a Palestinian building called "Al Sharouk" at Omar Al Mukhtar neighbourhood in Gaza, on May 12, 2021. (AA)

Hamas has unleashed a fresh barrage of deadly rocket fire towards Israel in retaliation for the levelling of a 14-storey building in Gaza by Israel, which ruled out an imminent ceasefire.

Hamas said the volley of 130 rockets, which set off air raid warnings up to Tel Aviv, was a response to the destruction of Gaza City's Al Sharouk tower.

The tower, which spewed black smoke from bright embers following the strike, was described by Israel as housing the Hamas intelligence service.

Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz had earlier vowed more attacks on Hamas and other groups in Gaza to bring "total, long-term quiet" before considering a ceasefire.

"This is just the beginning," warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We'll deliver them blows they haven't dreamt of."

Palestinian groups in Gaza have launched more than 1,000 rockets since Monday, which mainly are makeshift, handmade rockets.

Israel's army has carried out more than 350 air strikes on the crowded coastal enclave.

READ MORE: Children among 28 Palestinians killed in Israeli air raids on Gaza

Bloodshed triggered by Israeli aggression

The most intense hostilities in seven years have killed at least 67 people in Gaza, including 6 women and 17 children, and seven in Israel, including a soldier and one Indian national, since Monday.

The six-year-old boy died after a rocket struck his home in Sderot, where four other people were being treated for injuries, the United Hatzalah volunteer rescue agency said.

Three Palestinians have been killed in occupied West Bank clashes since Monday. And at least 230 Palestinians and 110 Israelis have been wounded.

The bloodshed was triggered by Israeli aggression at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque compound, which is sacred to both Muslims and Jews.

READ MORE: Israel kills 20 Palestinians in Gaza, wounds hundreds in Al Aqsa raid

Abbas: We will resist more and more

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Palestinians will continue to resist against the Israeli attacks. 

“We will not have any more patience, but we will resist more and more.”

"We will be more resilient until we achieve victory and liberation on all our occupied lands," he said.

As world powers voiced growing alarm over the crisis, the UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland warned that "we're escalating towards a full-scale war".

The UN Security Council held another emergency meeting without agreeing on a joint statement due to opposition from the United States, Israel's ally.

Netanyahu spoke late Wednesday to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who reiterated his call to "end the violence".

READ MORE: Thirty minutes. That’s how much time Gazans have before the bombs drop

Jewish mobs attack Palestinians in several cities

Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in the mixed Jewish-Arab Israeli city of Lod, where police said "wide-scale riots erupted among some of the Arab residents", and authorities later imposed an overnight curfew there.

There were fears of widening civil unrest as right-wing Jews in Israel attack Palestinian citizens and vandalise businesses owned by Arabs in several cities, including Bat Yam and Tiberias, after mobilising on social media. 

Hamas said several of its top commanders have been killed in Israeli strikes, including its military chief in Gaza City, Bassem Issa.

Its leader Ismail Haniyeh threatened to step up attacks, warning that "if Israel wants to escalate, we are ready for it".

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged both sides to "step back from the brink".

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said "everything must be done" to avoid a new Middle East conflict.

READ MORE: Israeli aggression in Jerusalem inspires unity across Palestine

READ MORE: Israel's aggression on Palestine hurts the credibility of some Arab states

Five members of a family killed in Gaza

In Gaza City, people have sifted through debris after a previous Israeli air strike destroyed a 14-storey building that Hamas said had been a residential building. 

It was also known to house the offices of several Hamas officials.

Five members of a single family were killed by an Israeli strike in northern Gaza on Tuesday, including young brothers Ibrahim and Marwan, who were filling sacks of straw at the time.

"We were laughing and having fun when suddenly they began to bomb us. Everything around us caught fire," their cousin, also called Ibrahim, told AFP.

In Israel's central city of Lod, a man and a girl were killed on Wednesday by rocket fire from Gaza. 

Israel identified one of the dead as 16-year-old Nadin Awad, an Arab Israeli.

READ MORE: Israel kills two in West Bank as tension rises between Jews, Palestinians 

Evictions of Palestinian families

The crisis flared last Friday when weeks of tensions boiled over and Israeli riot police attacked crowds of Palestinians at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque.

Nightly disturbances have since flared in east Jerusalem, leaving more than 900 Palestinians injured, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The unrest has been driven by anger over the looming evictions of Palestinian families from the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

READ MORE: No phrase distorts reality more than 'Israel's right to self-defence'

READ MORE: Busting the myth of Palestinian ‘human shields’ in Gaza

Source: AFP