Netanyahu vows 'full force' as Gaza death toll continues to climb amid Israeli airstrikes

ITV News Global Security Editor Rohit Kachroo reports on the crisis as bloodshed in the current conflict reached its deadliest level yet

Gaza City has suffered the deadliest single attack since heavy fighting broke out between Israel and the territory’s militant Hamas rulers nearly a week ago.

The death toll from Sunday's Israeli strikes has risen to 42, including 16 women and 10 children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

It comes as the UN Security Council met to discuss the escalating violence, with Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemning the crisis as "utterly appalling".

Despite international efforts to reach a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday evening the attacks were continuing at “full-force” and will “take time.“

In a televised address he said Israel “wants to levy a heavy price” from Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.

A firefighter and others inspect the rubble of a residential building hit by an Israeli airstrike. Credit: AP

It comes after the Israeli military said it targeted the home of Gaza’s top Hamas leader.

Brigadier general Hidai Zilberman, an army spokesman, told Israel’s army radio on Sunday that the military targeted the home of Yehiyeh Sinwar, the most senior Hamas leader inside the territory, who is likely in hiding along with the rest of the group’s upper echelon.

His home is located in the town of Khan Younis, in southern Gaza Strip. The military said it also targeted the home of Sinwar’s brother, with it not clear if the two shared a family residence.

Israeli airstrikes toppled the offices of major media organisations in Gaza on Saturday

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant group have acknowledged 20 fighters killed since the fighting broke out on Monday, while Israel says the real number is far higher.

Hamas and other militant groups have fired some 2,000 rockets into Israel since Monday, when tensions over a holy site in Jerusalem and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families from a nearby neighbourhood boiled over.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes across the impoverished and blockaded territory and brought down a number of high-rise buildings, including one that housed The Associated Press’ Gaza office.

The latest round of fighting, the worst since the 2014 Gaza war, has killed at least 188 Palestinians in Gaza, including 55 children and 33 women.

Eight Israelis have been killed, including a five-year-old boy and a soldier.

The remains of Gaza City house impacted by the Israeli air assault Credit: Khalil Hamra/AP

Early on Sunday, Israeli warplanes struck several buildings and roads in a vital part of Gaza City.

Photos circulated by residents and journalists showed the airstrikes created a crater that blocked one of the main roads leading to Shifa hospital, the largest medical centre in the strip.

The Health Ministry said the latest airstrikes left at least two dead and 25 wounded, including children and women. There has been no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

On Saturday, Israel bombed the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a senior figure in Hamas’ political branch, saying the building served as part of the group’s “terrorist infrastructure”, There was no immediate report on al-Hayeh’s fate or on any casualties.