Israeli missiles did not only kill civilian victims on Saturday, but also targeted the “Arts and Crafts Village”, a museum managed by the City Council in Gaza, and founded by late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat in 1998, with financial support from the United Nations Development Program.
The strikes consist in a “deliberate and barbaric assault against Palestinian heritage and history,” said Emad Siyam, the general-director of the Cultural Affairs at Gaza City Council, to Palestinian TV.
He especially referred how the missiles bombed the Arts and Crafts Village, whose director Ihsan Qaja confirmed that the four buildings were heavily damaged.
He added that the strikes violated international laws and targeted Palestine’s historic preservation projects, as the buildings were preserving important items of Palestinian archeological history, arts and crafts.
On Saturday, Israeli occupation forces struck 40 targets in the besieged Gaza Strip, in the most extensive Israeli military assault since the 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” in which over 2,200 Palestinians were killed.
Tensions in Gaza have been on the rise since Israeli forces killed over 130 people participating in the Great March of Return and wounded thousands. On Friday, after an Israeli soldier was slightly wounded by a Palestinian protester who threw a hand-grenade after which Israel retaliated by striking "Hamas targets".
Since then Gaza militants launched around 60 rockets and mortars into Israel, causing minor damage to a synagogue and reportedly wounding two Israelis who are not currently in a critical state.
According to the Israeli army “The focus of the attack is a wide-scale strike of the Hamas Battalion HQ in Beit Lahia, which includes urban warfare training facilities, weapon storage warehouse, training compounds, command centers, offices and more.”
However, Israeli airstrikes Saturday have injured hundreds of civilians, and killed two Palestinian teens who were at a public park next to an unfinished building, Gaza's Health Ministry reported.