Israeli warplanes targeted and destroyed the Said al-Mishal Cultural Center in the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City Thursday, in a round of airstrikes.
The Israeli army said in a statement that the airstrikes were a response to rockets fired from Gaza that landed on the outskirts of the southern city of Beersheba. Justifying the attack on civilian infrastructure Israeli officials arguing it housed the operational arm of the political leadership of the Hamas terror group.
However, residents say the building served mainly as a cultural center, one of the few sources of entertainment for Palestinians who live under an 11-year air, sea and land blockade. The building also housed an organization that provided services to Egyptian women married to Palestinian men in Gaza.
Adel Abd al-Rahman, president of the Egyptian community in Gaza, stated that services were provided to thousands of Egyptian mothers in the building before it was destroyed in an ugly and arrogant way.
Videos of the bombing that totally destroyed the structure revealed it was located in a populated area. Local health officials said the blast wounded 18 bystanders, and Hamas has denied using the facility.
Social media users have condemned Israeli forces for the attack on the cultural building, arguing they are deliberately targetting cultural sites.
In July, Israeli occupation forces targeted the Arts and Crafts Village, a museum managed by the City Council in Gaza, which housed essential items of Palestinian archeological history.
Shortly after Israel bombed the al-Mishal Cultural Center, conflicting reports of a ceasefire emerged. A Palestinian official reportedly confirmed that Egyptian efforts managed to restore calm between Palestinian factions and Israel.
Source: Palestine Chronicle