In what is being described as a strategic blow to Hamas's military wing, the Israel Air Force bombed two research-and-development laboratories located on the Islamic University campus in Gaza City on Monday.
Witnesses said they saw fire and smoke billowing at the university, counting six separate air strikes there just after midnight. Unconfirmed reports claimed that the IAF had re-bombed the facility again during the day to ensure that it was destroyed.
Two laboratories in the university, which served as research and development centers for Hamas's military wing, were targeted. The development of explosives, IDF sources said, was done under the auspices of university lecturers.
Officials said that the explosives developed and manufactured in the labs were used to make sophisticated explosive devices and mortars used against Israel. Many Hamas officials graduated from the university.
University buildings, they said, were also used for meetings of senior Hamas officials and rockets and explosives were stored in the buildings.
IDF sources said that the university was on the long list of targets that the cabinet had approved last week.
"This is a strategic blow to Hamas," one official explained. "It is a blow to their development capability and will make it more difficult for them to manufacture explosives and new Kassam rockets."