42 Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes on Sunday, total death toll climbs to 188

Israeli air strikes in Gaza destroyed several homes on Sunday, killing 42 Palestinians, including 10 children, health officials said.

The Israeli military said the civilian casualties had been unintentional and that it had attacked a tunnel system used by militants, which collapsed, bringing the homes down with it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s campaign in Hamas Islamist-run Gaza was continuing at “full force”.

Netanyahu also defended an Israeli air strike on Saturday that destroyed a 12-storey building where the Associated Press and the Al Jazeera TV network had offices. He said the structure also housed a militant group’s intelligence office and was thus a legitimate target.

“We are acting now, (and) for as long as necessary, to restore calm and quiet to you, Israel’s citizens. It will take time,” Netanyahu said in a televised address after meeting with his security cabinet.

The death toll in Gaza overnight jumped to 188, including 55 children, its health ministry said, amid an intensive Israeli air and artillery barrage since the fighting erupted last Monday. Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, according to Israeli authorities.

Meanwhile the UN Security Council convened to discuss the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council that hostilities in Israel and Gaza were “utterly appalling” and called for an immediate end to fighting.

He said the United Nations was “actively engaging all sides toward an immediate ceasefire” and urged them “to allow mediation efforts to intensify and succeed.”

The Israeli military said that Hamas, an Islamist group regarded by much of the international community as a terrorist movement, and other armed factions have fired more than 2,800 rockets from Gaza over the past week.

Most of the rockets have been intercepted by an Israeli anti-missile system while some have fallen short of the border.