The Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Gaza City was destroyed shortly after midnight Thursday from Israeli missiles, Palestinian witnesses reported. Smoke and flames could be seen coming from the building. No injuries were reported in the attack.

The Israeli army confirmed the attack with a senior military official describing the building as the “meeting place to plan terror activities,” Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.

The official added that the attack targeted the office of the Palestinian Minister of Interior, Sa’id Siyam, one of the leaders of the Hamas ruling party.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed the statement, calling Interior Minister Said Siyam office "a meeting place to plan and direct terror activity."

The Israeli government decided to delay the ground offensive in Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the Gaza Strip Thursday night after  Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Israel’s Defense Minister Amir Peretz met with senior Israeli security officers.    

According to Haaretz, the meeting came after Egypt asked Israel to allow more time for negotiations on the release of the abducted soldiers Gilad Shalit.

Back in Gaza, several area in the northern part of the Strip lost power after the Israeli artillery shells hit the electricity distribution network.
 
At least two power transformers were hit in the attack.

In a separate incident, a Palestinian child, a teenager and two security officers were injured by shrapnels after the army shelled the southern Gaza city of Rafah.   

Two-thirds of the 1.3 million Gaza residents remain without electricity for the third straight day after the Israeli air force shelled a major power station in Gaza city Wednesday night.

At least 400 shells were fired at the Gaza Strip on Thursday, Israeli army source confirmed.

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