Israeli aircraft attacked the empty office of Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and the nearby Interior Ministry building late Wednesday, and Palestinians said the blasts killed a baby and wounded two dozen people in the surrounding area.
Health officials said shrapnel killed a 6-month-old baby whose family home was near the Interior Ministry.
Hamas security officials said missiles fired from Israeli helicopters hit the two buildings, which stand amid residences. The officials said 25 neighborhood residents and two Hamas security guards patrolling on the street suffered wounds.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment.
Haniyeh has not used his office recently, although his staff works there. No one was in the office at the time of the late-night attack.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon separately said he was "deeply concerned" by the escalation of violence in the Middle East.
"These events underscore the urgent need for a calming of violence, and must not be allowed to deter the continuation of the political process," Ban said in a statement.
Israel pounded fighters in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing five, as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to make the Palestinian democratically elected movement pay a heavy price for rocket attacks.
Israeli strikes killed five gunmen in Gaza and two in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, while a 12-year-old boy in Gaza died of injuries sustained in a raid the previous day, medics and security sources said.
Over the past 24 hours, 19 Palestinians and one Israeli have died as a result of spiralling violence between the two sides, all but three of them in and around the impoverished and isolated Gaza Strip.
Those killed have included a six-month-old baby in Gaza -- one of six civilians killed in the territory -- and a man in southern Israel who became the first Israeli victim of a Gaza rocket attack in nine months.
Speaking after talks with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Tokyo, Olmert said will make Hamas pay for the rocket attacks despite international concerns about civilians in Gaza, one of the world's most densely-populated places with a population of 1.5 million.
"I explained to the [US] secretary of state that we won't end our battle," Olmert told reporters. "We will make [Hamas] pay a very heavy price."
At least 219 people, most of them Palestinian, have been killed since the revival of peace talks, and the violence showed no signs of subsiding on Thursday.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Şubat 2008, 14:32