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.
    x
    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.
    x
    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
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    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.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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.

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