News / Middle East

    Gaza Deaths Top 400 After Deadliest Day of Israeli Operations

    Palestinian medics carry a man injured in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood that came under fire as Israel widened its ground offensive against Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, July 20, 2014.
    Palestinian medics carry a man injured in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood that came under fire as Israel widened its ground offensive against Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, July 20, 2014.
    Gabe Joselow

    Palestinian officials in Gaza say more than 60 people were killed during Israeli military operations over the past 24 hours, making it the most deadly period since the latest conflict began July 8.  More than 400 Palestinians have been killed in Operation Protective Edge, Israel's military response to Hamas rocket attacks.
     
    Israel escalated air, ground and naval assaults Sunday, targeting militant sites in northern Gaza.
     
    Military forces began pounding the Shijaiyah neighborhood overnight, leaving civilians dead in the streets and reducing buildings and infrastructure to rubble.
     
    An Israeli military spokesman, Captain Eytan Buchman said Israeli forces faced heavy resistance from militants in the area.
     
    "This is not your standard Gaza suburb, this is a fortified area.  There is literally an entire underground network, we discovered 10 terror tunnels dug underground.  We encountered anti-tank missiles, RPGs and light-arms fire fired from windows and fired from residences inside of Shijaiyah," he said.
     
    Israel is seeking to destroy the military capabilities of the Hamas Palestinian group that controls Gaza by targeting tunnels being dug into Israel and sites used to launch rockets across the border.
     
    Local and international agencies say the majority of those killed in the Israeli operations have been civilians, with a large number of children among the dead.
     
    The Israeli military warns Palestinians of impending operations, and accuses Hamas of using civilians as human shields.

    Kerry Blames Hamas for Continued Conflict

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is blaming Hamas for the continued fighting in the Gaza Strip.

    In a string of television interviews Sunday, the top U.S. diplomat said the Hamas militants have "stubbornly" refused to accept a cease-fire to stop the nearly two-week conflict.

    Kerry defended Israel's right to defend itself against the barrage of missiles Hamas has fired into the Jewish state, which sent ground forces into Gaza three days ago. Kerry said Hamas "invited further actions" by the Israeli military with the rocket attacks.

    He described the situation in Gaza as "ugly," but said that Hamas needed "to recognize their own responsibility."

    Hamas has rejected a cease-fire plan offered by neighboring Egypt. Kerry said U.S. President Barack Obama will ask him soon to go to the Middle East to see if he can broker a cease-fire.

    Central hospital overwhelmed
     
    The central hospital in Gaza is reportedly overwhelmed by the number of wounded coming in ambulances, cars and trucks, mostly from Shijaiyah.
     
    Gaza resident Anas Hamra, who lives on the coast of the territory, told VOA he and his family huddled together in one room during the previous night, which he described as "the most terrifying" period since the operations began.
     
    "No one is safe, nowhere is safe.  Because you move, you are a potential target by the airstrike or by the drones, or even by the Israeli navy," said Hamra.
     
    Israel agreed to a temporary humanitarian truce Sunday to allow Palestinians to collect the dead and wounded, following a request mediated by the International Committee of the Red Cross.  The Israeli military says militants violated the cease-fire by continuing to fire on Israeli forces.
     
    The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have taken refuge at shelters across Gaza City.
     
    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is beginning a trip to the Middle East with a stop Sunday in Qatar in an effort to encourage a comprehensive cease-fire deal.  From Qatar, he will go to Kuwait City, Cairo, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman.

     

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 20, 2014 6:27 PM
    MY OPINION? .... It looks like the occupied Gaza Palestinians have finally drawn that line in the sand, and will keep firing those rockets until they run out of them, or the Israeli's kill all of them, because they won't accept a ceasefire with Israel, without any Israeli concessions..... (apartheid occupation, is unacceptable?)

    PS; .. The US, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and other Arab countries want the Gaza Palestinians to accept a ceasefire with Israel, and to negotiate with them later in Cairo, (and only Qatar, and Turkey say the occupied Gaza Palestinians must be given more concessions)......

    by: Rudy Haugeneder from: Canada
    July 20, 2014 5:35 PM
    It is time for Palestinians to send their smartest and best educated to become Wall Street and London financial leaders. Then they will have the international clout to protect their people from Israel, America, and Islamic extremists who depend on foreign capital from places like Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf oil monarchies, all of whom wage war on them. Only wealth, not guns, will protect Palestine from evil and totally ruthless enemies. It is the only solution.
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 20, 2014 9:54 PM
    They could have done this eons ago!!!!! But they would rather spend what moneys they do have and buy rockets, than to build higher-educaation centers, or even use the money to build BOMB SHELTERS!!!!! What is the point of throwing pebbles at a nation that WILL throw boulders back at you????? It's like kicking a lion in the butt, and then holding up your child to protect yourself!!!!!!

    by: jama from: somalia
    July 20, 2014 4:12 PM
    it is horrific and tragedy how israell exterminate unarmed civilians. we know that most of death are women and children those who didn't involve with violence, on the other hand israell strikes over Gaza indiscriminately without avoiding casualties of innocent civilians. they should target those who against peace plan. another reason is, every western diplomat talks about war between isreal and hamas support isreal without looking how the civilians being killed and displaced, is better to make both sides to lay down weapon.

    by: Juvenal451 from: california
    July 20, 2014 3:48 PM
    Martyring civilians is Hama's #1 tactic.
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 20, 2014 9:45 PM
    Correct, Hamas will use children as shields.

    by: Don from: Tacoma,Wa
    July 20, 2014 3:40 PM
    Judaism on Israel is a dead religion. The vast majority of humans on this planet are not Jewish.
    In Response

    by: 1worldnow from: Earth
    July 20, 2014 9:45 PM
    And that has to do with what?

    by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
    July 20, 2014 1:34 PM
    When'er there does erupt a commotion, war like situation or a real war, during that time, the voice of the international community along with the United Nations is raised for an urgent truce. Why the errant side must not be punished? The Palestine terror brigades like Hamas do prove to be the intial culprits in the events of the Palestine- Israeli showdowns. It is right the Palestnians should get their occupied territories. Impatiently, instead of of resoting to the bilateral constructive dialouge process, the Hamas like the Palestine radical factions do wrongly resort to the thuggish, violent paths. The transfer of the occupied Gaza strip had taken place for a realistic cofidence building step no between the Israelis and the Palestinians only but with all the Islamic states in the Middle East. That's really getting disturbed by the Palestine radical organizations now. While our friendly state Israel goes for the ground operations in Gaza, the target should be to completly destroy the banditry, terror infractures of the Hamas. Another drawback of the Palestne side is the lack of true national leadership. Abu Mazen, very unfortunately, has got to move as per the whims of the radical organizations. That create problems for him too.

    by: Ali baba from: New york
    July 20, 2014 1:06 PM
    The Israeli action is excessive. Israeli has to stop killing civilian. Even there are three teen killed, and issue of rockets ,Israeli should not continue killing civilian Indefinitely. Both side are wrong . Hamas is terrorist organization and should not exist . Killing civilian is unacceptable and Israel continue because the desire of revenge is too strong. Both Arab and Israeli belong to same ancestors and revenge is running in the blood.

    by: Luther from: India
    July 20, 2014 11:56 AM
    It is a sad thing to see the Hamas militants using the innocent people as shields and are being killed as the Israeli military operation is intensifying. Why didn't Palestinian people throw those terrorist militants from the city so that they don't suffer or die themselves on militants behalf?

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