VIDEO: Israeli air strikes pound Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, 227 killed - GulfToday

VIDEO: Israeli air strikes pound Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, 227 killed

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An Israeli artillery unit fires toward targets in Gaza Strip on Tuesday. AP

Gulf Today Report

Israeli strikes killed seven people including a disabled man, his pregnant wife and their three-year-old child in the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza on Wednesday, the health ministry said.

Another person died of wounds sustained the day before, the ministry in Gaza told reporters, bringing to 227 the number of people killed in Israeli bombardment in the coastal strip since May 10. 

Israel bombarded Gaza with air strikes and Palestinians kept up cross-border rocket fire, with no firm sign on Wednesday of any imminent ceasefire despite international calls to end more than a week of fighting.

Charred car tyres, shards of glass and piles of rubble lie scattered on roads winding through the occupied West Bank, where one word in this Palestinian territory resounds — “resistance”.


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Israeli leaders said they were pressing on with an offensive against Hamas, but an Israeli military spokesman acknowledged that with an estimated 12,000 missiles and mortars in the groups' Gaza arsenal, "they still have enough rockets to fire", according to Reuters.

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A Palestinian uses a slingshot during an anti-Israel protest over a cross-border violence in Gaza near Nablus. Reuters

After intense protests in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem and angry clashes at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound with Israeli police that left hundreds wounded, conflict escalated dramatically in Gaza last week.

Rockets were also launched early on Wednesday, with sirens sounding in the coastal city of Ashdod, south of Tel Aviv, and in communities closer to the Gaza border. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

The enclave's Hamas, fired barrages of rockets towards occupied Jerusalem, and Israel has responded by near-relentlessly pounding the densely populated coastal territory with fighter jets and artillery.

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Palestinians take part in an anti-Israel protest over a cross-border violence in Gaza. Reuters

Nearly 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or badly damaged, including six hospitals and nine primary-care health centres, since the current conflict began, the United Nations humanitarian agency said. Some 48,000 of the 52,000 displaced had gone to 58 UN-run schools.

Now residents of the West Bank, the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmud Abbas, have likewise resorted to angry protest, in a display of solidarity with besieged Gazans.

Israel said its aircraft attacked homes belonging to several Hamas that were used as command centres or for weapons storage. Israeli artillery shelled targets in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses said.

Israel said more than 3,450 rockets had been launched at it from Gaza, some falling short and others shot down by its Iron Dome air defences.

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Explosions light up the night sky above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave. AFP

Hamas began firing rockets nine days ago in retaliation for what it said were Israeli rights abuses against Palestinians in Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

By linking its confrontation with Israel to the sensitive issue of Jerusalem, Hamas also posed a challenge to its main rival, West Bank-based President Mahmoud Abbas, who last month cancelled a parliamentary election in which the group appeared likely to make gains.

The current hostilities are the most serious between the Hamas group and Israel in years, and in a departure from previous Gaza conflicts have helped fuel street violence in Israeli cities between Jews and Arabs.

 

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