News / Middle East

Casualties Mount as Gaza Conflict Wears On

  • Palestinians standing next to a damaged wall watch rescuers searching for bodies and survivors under the rubble of an apartment building that was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike, in Gaza City,  July 21, 2014.
  • Israelis take cover as a siren sounds during a rocket attack fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza, in Tel Aviv, Israel, July 21, 2014.
  • Palestinian rescue workers and civilians remove a lifeless body from the rubble of a house destroyed by an Israeli missile strike, in Gaza City, July 21, 2014.
  • An Israeli armored personnel carrier advances as smoke rises from the Gaza Strip, July 20, 2014.
  • Smoke rises in the air and flames spread across buildings after Israeli strikes in the Shijaiyah neighborhood, in Gaza City, July 20, 2014.
  • Israeli soldiers of the Paratroopers Brigade mourn over the grave of Sgt. Bnaya Rubel during the funeral at the military cemetery in Holon, Israel, July 20, 2014.
  • A Palestinian man carries a wounded boy to the emergency room of Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, July 20, 2014.
  • Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of Maj. Amotz Greenberg, 45, during his funeral in the Israeli city of Hod Hasharon, July 20, 2014.
  • A man sits next to the bodies of Palestinians from the Abu Jama'e family, who medics said were killed in an Israeli air strike that destroyed their house, during their funeral at a mosque, in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014.
  • Relatives of Maj. Amotz Greenberg, 45, mourn during his funeral in Hod Hasharon, July 20, 2014.
VOA News

Heavy fighting continued Monday in Gaza, with Israeli war planes bombarding more than 50 Hamas targets, Hamas firing as many rockets back into the Jewish state, and the death toll topping 500.

Israel reported hitting two weapons manufacturing sites and six underground rocket launchers on Monday. Hamas fired more rockets into Israel and tried to sneak fighters into the country in tunnels, but Israeli forces spotted the militants, killing 10 of them.

Developments in Gaza Conflict

  • July 8: Israel launches air strikes after rocket fire by Palestinian militants
  • July 10: President Obama says the United States is prepared to negotiate a cease-fire
  • July 12: UN Security Council urges an end to hostilities
  • July 13: Israel launches brief ground operation in northern Gaza
  • July 15: Israel accepts Egyptian cease-fire deal, Hamas rejects it, Israel resumes air raids
  • July 16: Israel, Hamas agree to five hour cease-fire to allow civilians to restock and get medical care
  • July 17: Israel launches ground operation
  • July 20: U.N. Security Council holds emergency session after 100 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers are killed in a day
  • July 21: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Cairo for talks with Egyptian leaders on ways to end the fighting 
  • July 23: Hamas says there can be no cease-fire until Israel ends blockade of Gaza

Palestinian officials said more than 500 Gaza residents have been killed by the Israeli attacks, including 25 in one home in a Sunday raid, all but one from the same family.

​"Twenty-five people! Doesn't this indicate that Israel is ruthless or not? Are we the liars? The evidence is here in the morgue refrigerators,” said Sabri Abu James, one of the survivors, in condemning the Israeli assault. “The evidence is in the refrigerators."

A total of 20 Israelis, including two civilians, have been killed since the offensive began July 8.

Overnight raids in Gaza killed several dozen Palestinians. Aside from the 10 fighters killed in the tunnels, at least 25 civilians were killed in a raid near Israel's southern border and another civilian was killed in Gaza City.

Sunday marked the deadliest day in the conflict, with more than 100 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers killed.

Those soldiers all belonged to Israel's elite Golani Brigade, the AFP news agency reported. It said President Shimon Peres was expected to visit all their families to support them in their grief.

Obama expresses concern

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Ukraine at the White House in Washington, July 21, 2014.U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Ukraine at the White House in Washington, July 21, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Ukraine at the White House in Washington, July 21, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about Ukraine at the White House in Washington, July 21, 2014.

President Barack Obama on Monday commented on the ongoing conflict in Gaza, saying that Israel has the right to defend itself against rocket and tunnel attacks from Hamas but that he has serious concerns about the rise in civilian deaths.
Obama said the U.S. and international focus is on bringing about a cease-fire that ends the fighting and stops the deaths of innocent civilians. The president added that Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling to Cairo to meet with allies and partners and help facilitate a cease-fire.
Obama stressed he does not want to see any more civilians killed in the conflict.

Israel intercepts 2 Hamas rockets

Also Monday, Israel's air defense system intercepted two rockets over Tel Aviv.

Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of Maj. Tzafrir Bar-Or, 32, at the military cemetery in Holon July 21, 2014.Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of Maj. Tzafrir Bar-Or, 32, at the military cemetery in Holon July 21, 2014.
Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of Maj. Tzafrir Bar-Or, 32, at the military cemetery in Holon July 21, 2014.
Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of Maj. Tzafrir Bar-Or, 32, at the military cemetery in Holon July 21, 2014.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is "making every effort" to avoid civilian casualties.  But, he warned they would continue as long as Hamas sustained its rocket attacks on the Jewish state.

"We are making every effort not to harm the residents, while Hamas is making every effort for the residents of Gaza to be harmed,” Netanyahu said. “We are sorry about every innocent person hurt. But as they are getting injured, Hamas is to blame and Hamas alone. "

Senior Palestinian official Yasser Abd Rabbo expressed concerns over the continued fighting. He said Palestinians want a cease-fire but also want to end the cycle that includes war and siege.

Gaza StripGaza Strip
Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip

UN calls for immediate cease-fire

The U.N. Security Council has called for an immediate cease-fire. lt issued a statement late Sunday after holding an emergency session that Rwanda's ambassador and current Council President Eugene Gasana called "sobering."  The council stressed the need to improve the humanitarian situation, including protecting civilians.

A cease-fire proposal by Egypt last week reportedly was accepted by Israel. But Hamas reportedly rejected it, saying it wanted a political solution to end the seven-year-old Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Diplomatic efforts to negotiate a cease-fire intensified as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to the region, joining U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who already had arrived.

Israel launched the offensive after hundreds of rockets were fired into its territory following the July 2 murder of a Palestinian teenager near Jerusalem. The teen was killed two days after the bodies of three abducted Israeli youths were discovered near Hebron in the West Bank. They had gone missing June 12.

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
July 22, 2014 1:39 AM
By principal, whoever creates a terrorist organisation should be considered a terrorist.
Hamas, a terrorist Inc., was created by Israeli Government at the expense of Israeli tax payers. For this matter Israel must be considered as a terrorist State.
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 22, 2014 4:50 AM
I was going to offer a rebuttal for this comment. I don't think I can have an intelligent conversation with a child such as yourself. Instead of a rebuttal, I think it would be best if you seek a psychiatrist. Ask for maximum shock therapy, it'll be fun.

by: JR from: BR
July 21, 2014 7:43 PM
Until when the international community will allow that situation that massacre. Resolve the issue of creation Palestinian state is urgently and only that could avoid that sad and tragic news for now and for the future.

by: meanbill from: USA
July 21, 2014 5:38 PM
WHY? ... The Gaza Palestinians refuse to live anymore under the horrendous apartheid occupation, forced upon them by the Israeli's, (and now have drawn that line in the sand)... (and now), a ceasefire without Israel concessions, is a Gaza Palestinian surrender, (and all the Palestinians killed by the Israeli's, would have died for nothing).... (and now), Israel only offers a ceasefire and a return to the apartheid occupation, and that's unacceptable to the Gaza Palestinians, who'll keep shooting rockets until they run out, or the Israeli's kill them all..... (a return to the Israeli and Palestinian agreement of 2012, and a guarantee Israel stop violating it?)
In Response

by: Ivanov from: Russia
July 22, 2014 5:00 AM
bill my brother, your words spoke well. palestine weak, need strength, but no leader to give them. russia will do better for palestines if ask. Putin is man with action, eu and us only words and talk. eu and us no good for ukrain, only talk and sanction worthless. ukrain no more soon my friend. palestines ask Russia, israel no more.

by: Ochi Ogor from: Abuja Nigria
July 21, 2014 4:51 PM
I am mindful of the fact that in the war situation, there is no victor nor vanquish but still I want hamas totaly eradicated and their associate all over the world. If a group of people in d name of religion or any other interest at all be it land or whatsoever can use their own people as cover and also site military base in residential area, it means they are too wicked and do not worth living. I sympathize wit the families of the innocents that died but hamas should be ready pay for all the wrong done to their people and thee state of isreal
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
July 22, 2014 4:55 AM
If Hamas were just and resolute in their cause against Israel, then meet Israel in an open field for battle, instead of using Palestinian people as there shields!!!!! This is what cowardly terrorist organization do to the innocent people like the Palestinians! I bet if you ask the Palestinians if they support the Hamas organization, they will be furious! Wouldn't change their hearts about Israel of course, but they deserve better leadership than to have this kind of Hamas made suffering and pain!!!!

by: Valentine from: Lagos
July 21, 2014 1:09 PM
Israel should stop Hamas once and for all.
They should not go back at all.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs