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Deadly Gaza bombardment continues

Nov. 20, 2012 1:15 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 21, 2012 9:54 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip killed six Palestinians on Tuesday, and another man died of his wounds, on the seventh day of Israel's bombardment of the coastal strip.

Abdul-Rahman Hamad, a militant in his twenties, was killed in the al-Shati refugee camp when Israeli jets bombed a group of fighters near the former headquarters of the Palestinian Authority intelligence service.

Another fighter was injured in the same airstrike on Gaza City.

Another man, not identified as a militant, was killed in an airstrike on a family home in central Gaza.

Muhammad Badr was killed when the Abu Tamma family home was hit in Deir al-Balah, wounding three others in the home, and three passers by.

The casualties raised Tuesday's death toll to seven in Gaza. Since the Israeli bombardment started on Wednesday, 124 Palestinians have been killed, and around 900 injured. Three Israelis died in a rocket attack last Thursday.

Gaza supplies stretched as fighting continues

Israel's military jets continued to pound the Gaza Strip for a seventh day, killing a 15-year-old Yahya Mohammad Awad in Gaza City and Bilal al-Barawi, 20, in north Gaza.

Another airstrike on al-Mughraqa in central Gaza killed Mohammad Rezeq al-Zahar, in his 30s, and wounded his three-year-old son Ahmad, medics said.

A Palestinian farmer, Akram Marouf, was killed by a missile while working on his land in north Gaza. Four Palestinians were reported injured in the same strike on Beit Lahiya.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Daghmash, who was wounded in an airstrike on Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City, died of his wounds in el-Arish hospital in north Sinai.

Gaza militants continued rocket fire into Israel on Tuesday. Israeli media reported that a house in Beersheba was hit, causing damage but no injuries, and a reserve soldier was moderately injured in the Eshkol region.

Israeli police said more than 60 rockets were fired from Gaza by mid-day, and 25 of the projectiles were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome system.

Meanwhile, civil defense officials in the Gaza Strip appealed to the Arab world for urgent supplies on Tuesday, as their resources are overstretched during the current bombardment.

Youssef al-Zahar, head of the rescue service, said Israel's bombardment of high-rise buildings in Gaza was increasing injuries and deaths, but lauded the "professional and courageous" work of the service.

Ceasefire efforts

Egypt was trying to broker a truce between Israel and groups in Gaza. An Egyptian intelligence source said "there is still no breakthrough and Egypt is working to find middle ground."

In Cairo, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate ceasefire and said an Israeli ground operation in Gaza would be a "dangerous escalation" that must be avoided.

He had held talks in Cairo with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi and Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil before travelling to Israel for discussions with its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. Ban planned to return to Egypt on Wednesday to see Egypt's President Muhammad Mursi, who was unavailable on Tuesday due to the death of his sister.

Israel's leaders weighed the benefits and risks of sending tanks and infantry into the densely populated coastal enclave two months before an Israeli election, and indicated they would prefer a diplomatic path backed by world powers, including US President Barack Obama, the European Union and Russia.

The White House said Clinton was going to the Middle East for talks in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo to try to calm the conflict. An Israeli source said she was expected to meet Netanyahu on Wednesday.

A delegation of nine Arab ministers, led by the Egyptian foreign minister, was due in Gaza later on Tuesday in a further signal of heightened Arab solidarity with the Palestinians.
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