GAZA CITY   -  Israeli air strikes hammered the Gaza Strip pre-dawn Monday, after a week of violence between the Jewish state and Palestinians left more than 200 people dead as international calls for de-escalation went unheeded.

Overnight Sunday to Monday, Israel launched dozens of strikes in the space of a few minutes across the crowded coastal Palestinian enclave controlled by Hamas, according to AFP journalists at the scene.

The strikes caused widespread power cuts and damaged hundreds of buildings, local authorities said. No casualties were immediately reported. West Gaza resident Mad Abed Rabbo, 39, expressed “horror and fear” at the intensity of the onslaught.

“There have never been strikes of this magnitude,” he said. In a statement just before 2:00 am (2300 GMT Sunday), the Israeli army said its fighter jets were “striking targets in the Gaza Strip”. 

Gazan Mani Qazaat said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “should realise we’re civilians, not fighters”. “I felt like I was dying.” The renewed strikes come a day after 42 Palestinians in Gaza -- including at least eight children and two doctors, according to the health ministry -- were killed in the worst daily death toll in the enclave since the bombardments began.

In total, 197 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including at least 58 children, and more than 1,200 wounded since Israel launched its air campaign against Hamas on May 10 after the group fired rockets. The heaviest exchange of fire in years was sparked by unrest in Jerusalem.

The Israeli army said it had targeted the infrastructure of Hamas and armed group Islamic Jihad, including a vast tunnel system, weapons factories and storage sites.

Israeli air strikes also hit the home of Yahya Sinwar, head of Hamas’s political wing in Gaza, the army said, releasing footage of plumes of smoke and intense damage, but without saying if he was killed. Guterres warned the fighting could have far-reaching consequences if not stopped immediately.

“It has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis and to further foster extremism, not only in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, but in the region as a whole.”