At least 139 people were killed and 1,050 injured in the Gaza Strip as a result of the military operation launched by Israel on Monday in response to the rocket fire by Palestinian militias, which resumed this morning after a pause after the nightly bombings.
Israeli tanks stationed at the border fired dozens of artillery shells at Palestinian lands and houses east of the cities of Khan Younis and Beit Hanun in the southern and northern Gaza Strip, respectively, while the Israeli army renewed alarms in the southern communities of the land near the Palestinian enclave
According to medical sources from the official Palestinian news agency Wafa, 33 children and 21 women were among the dead. Among the dead is a family of ten, the Abu Hatab, who were killed when an Israeli projectile hit the Al Shati refugee camp. Eight of the deceased were children and the only survivor is a baby rescued from the rubble.
In response to the family’s death, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Palestinian enclave, for hiding its arsenal in residential areas and making civilians an unintended target in the Israeli bombings.
“All responsibility for the deaths of civilians in Gaza rests with Hamas,” the spokesman said in a statement gathered on Channel 12 of Israeli television.
“It was Hamas that followed this escalation of violence
When it decided to attack Jerusalem and purposely hid its missiles and arsenals, as well as its observation posts, in residential areas, he added what he called a “war crime”.
“As it is,” he added, “we attack our citizens to kill, the more the better.”
At least eight Israeli civilians, including two children, have died in Gaza as a result of rocket fire from Palestinian militias. The last of them was a 50-year-old woman who lost her life when she fell while running to an air raid shelter.
Israel has denounced that the militia have fired around 200 rockets in the south of the country in the past 12 hours, most of which were intercepted by its Iron Dome defense system. The Israeli army has estimated that more than 2,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel since the attacks began last Monday.
As attacks escalated, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayé called on the United Nations on Friday to take urgent action to “halt ongoing Israeli aggression,” and urged the International Quartet to “take a serious path.” “Political policy that leads to the end of the occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” reports the Palestinian agency Wafa.
In the meantime, the Israeli government is keeping open the possibility of launching a ground offensive against Gaza – the last was in 2014 – and is not ready for a ceasefire for the time being, although a diplomatic source “The Times of Israel” has assured the parties in reach an agreement in a few days as the mediators, including the United States and Russia, were optimistic after the talks.
From Hamas, political leader Khaled Meshal said Friday that the group was preparing for a “mutual” ceasefire, the same Israeli media reported. So far, Israel has rejected the ceasefire efforts sponsored by the United Nations and Egypt.