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Israeli airstrikes kill over 20 in Gaza

July 12, 2014 10:09 A.M. (Updated: July 13, 2014 10:11 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) – Ongoing Israeli airstrikes across the besieged Gaza Strip have killed over 20 Palestinians since midnight, bringing the total death toll to more than 130, Gaza medical sources said Saturday.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said eight were killed Saturday evening in Gaza City, el-Bureij, and Jabaliya, including a woman and a teenager.

An airstrike in Jabaliya, northern Gaza, killed Muhammad al-Sharatha, 23. Another Palestinian, Ahmad Youssef Dalloul, was killed in an airstrike on the Zaytoun district of Gaza City.

Earlier, an airstrike killed Khawla al-Hawajri, 24, in Nuseirat refugee camp, and Ghazi Arif, 62, was killed in eastern Gaza City, medics said.

Before that, six Palestinians were killed and several others were injured in an airstrike targeting the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northern Gaza City, a Ministry of Health spokesman said.

He identified them as Rateb Subhi al-Saifi, 22, Azmi Mahmoud Obeid, 51, Nidal Muhammad Abu al-Malsh, 22, Suleiman Said Obeid, 56, Mustafa Muhammad Inaya, 58, and Ghassan Ahmad al-Masri, 25, from the al-Rimal neighborhood were killed.

The Ministry of Health added that at least 130 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the offensive, and nearly 1,000 injured.

Also Saturday, Rifaat Youssef Amer died of wounds he sustained in an earlier airstrike in the al-Saftawi area in northern Gaza.

Earlier, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said three men were killed by an Israeli air raid on a park in the al-Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City in the northern Gaza Strip.

Al-Qidra identified them as Ibrahim Nabil Hamadah, Hasan Ahmad Abu Ghush and Ahmad Mazin al-Balawi. He highlighted that it took several hours to identify the victims because the missiles tore them to pieces.

Three Palestinian fighters affiliated to al-Mujahidin Brigades were killed in western Gaza City earlier in the day, with the group confirming that Nabil Basal, Muhammad al-Halabi and Rifat Siyouti were killed.

Furthermore, two young disabled women were killed and several others were injured as Israeli combat aircraft targeted a charitable society for handicapped people in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israeli warplanes fired a missile at a charitable organization near Kamal Udwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.

In the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes bombarded the main branch of the Islamic National Bank in Khan Younis and a charitable society in the city.

In addition, a Palestinian house was bombarded in the Sultan neighborhood west of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip injuring four members of the Timraz family.

Another Israeli air raid was reported in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. A house belonging to the Zuweidi family was damaged.

Other targets included a bank, the homes of Hamas leaders and a mosque that Israel said was being used to store weapons.

Two nephews of Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh were among the dead in one strike, residents said.

Three rockets fired from Gaza, apparently at Jerusalem, fell short, hitting Hebron and Bethlehem, the army and Palestinian security sources said.

There were no reports of casualties from the attacks.

Hamas has fired several rockets at Jerusalem and Israel's commercial capital Tel Aviv since Tuesday, most of which have been intercepted.

International efforts were under way to mediate a truce, with Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi's spokesman saying he was in touch with both sides.

Sisi met Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair in Cairo on Saturday to discuss the crisis, and released a statement warning against escalation causing further loss of "innocent lives".

In Washington, the White House has said it is willing to "leverage" its relationships in the region to bring about a ceasefire.

The chief diplomats of Britain, France, Germany and the United States are due to discuss how to achieve a truce when they meet in Vienna on Sunday, on the sidelines of talks on Iran's nuclear program.

Tehran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a taped interview with US broadcaster NBC, urged Washington to use the United Nations to stop the Israeli strikes.
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