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Neighbours Tweet the Terrifying Moment Israeli Forces Destroy a 12-Storey Gaza City Apartment Tower

Israel attacked a residential tower in an upscale Gaza neighborhood, injuring around 22 civilians, including 11 children. The 12-storey tower, Al Zafer 4, was completely leveled to the ground in the bombing on Aug. 23.

The Israeli government claimed that the missiles targeted a Hamas operations room in the building, but did not explain why the entire tower had to be destroyed. As The New York Times pointed out, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) had targeted apartments within buildings before, but this was the first time that a whole residential tower was demolished.

Israel used its infamous ‘knock on roof’ method. Gaza police said that “a warning missile had been fired five minutes earlier and that some residents were able to rush out of the building in time. Still, 22 people were wounded, including 11 children and five women, according to Gaza hospital officials.” The ‘knock on roof’ method has been condemned by Amnesty International‘s Philip Luther, who said that “there is no way that firing a missile at a civilian home can constitute an effective ‘warning.’”

Maher Abu Sedo, who lives in the area, told the Associated Press: “People started shouting ‘God is Great', and women and kids were screaming. This is crazy. The state of Israel has resorted to madness. In less than a minute, 44 families have become displaced … They lost everything, their house, their money, their memories and their security.”

Gaza bloggers and Gaza-based journalists immediately took to social media to describe the situation.

Lara Abu Ramadan, who lives in Al Zafer 2 facing Al Zafer 4, tweeted about her experience:

And moments later:

Asia Mathkour, daughter of the owner of Al Zafer Residences, was in her home across from Al Zafer 4. After the ‘knock on the roof’ around 30 people of Al Zafer 4 had taken refuge in her home. When the IDF called them to ask if all people had evacuated the building, Mathkour's mother had replied yes. When she asked “which apartment are you targeting so that we know where to hide?”, the IDF officer replied “we are bombing the whole building.” Mathkour spoke to Global Voices Online about her experience here.

Another area resident, Zaid Bakri, tweeted the attack “for the world to know” what happened:

In a series of frantic tweets, he described the chaos and horror he and his family experienced as they were forced to flee their home, near the destroyed tower:

Ziad explained:

Back home today, Ziad described the scene as “disastrous.” He shares this photograph of the destroyed tower, as seen from his balcony:

Dima Eleiwa posted a before and after image of the destruction:

Mohamad Suliman spoke of the human cost of this attack.

Gaza-based journalist Dan Cohen tweeted a few images of the devastated areas:

Moments before, Israel had hijacked Al Aqsa Television Channel to tell the people of Gaza: “People of Gaza – the war is not yet over. You are warned.”

At the time of writing, the death toll in Gaza stood at 2,110, including 567 children and 75 families. Seventy-two percent of Palestinians killed in this offensive are civilians, according to the UN. The death toll for Israel stood at 68, including one child. The percentage of Israeli civilians killed is 5 percent, with the majority of deaths being IDF soldiers.

Follow our in-depth coverage: #Gaza: Civilian Death Toll Mounts in Israeli Offensive

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