In what Palestinians are calling "Gaza's 9/11," an 11-story apartment complex housing approximately 50 families was brought down by multiple missile strikes yesterday in what The New York Times has characterized as an "audacious" escalation.
Residents of the tower were warned by phone and then by a preliminary missile on the roof before the entire structure was toppled twenty minutes later, which can be seen in the video below. Israeli military officials claim that the building was being used as a Hamas command center, something disputed by families of the complex, with a human rights official even noting that the building was home to a few Palestinian Authority officials (Fatah).
Fortunately, nobody was killed by the strikes thanks to both the warnings and citizens in Gaza, like Mohammad Shawa, who rushed to evacuate elderly residents of the tower. However, 10 people were injured by the intensity of the building's collapse, including four children.
Obviously, Palestinians are referring to this as "Gaza's 9/11" due to the intentional destruction of a high-rise building, and the similar optics. It is worth noting, however, that over 2,000 people were (and have been) killed in both the September 11 attacks and Israel's assault on Gaza during the past month. In this regard, Palestinian journalist Mohammad Omer wrote to Americans that "your 9/11 is our 24/7."
The strike on the high-rise complex came in the wake of increased fire coming from Gaza, including mortars which killed a four-year-old in Southern Israel, a tragedy which prompted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to declare Israel's attacks would intensify.
The toppling of a residential tower appears to be one result of such intensity.
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, recently published by Oneworld Publications.