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Palestinian death toll at 843 as Israel announces death of soldier

July 25, 2014 1:53 P.M. (Updated: July 26, 2014 11:36 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The Israeli army said on Friday that one of its soldiers had been killed in Gaza earlier in the day, bringing the total number of soldiers dead in the fighting to at least 33 as the Palestinian death toll rose to 842.

The army identified the soldier as Yair Ashkenazy, 36, saying he was killed "earlier today during operational activity in the northern Gaza Strip."

Since the beginning of Israel's land invasion of Gaza, 33 Israeli and soldiers have been killed, according to the army.

Palestinian militant groups have announced that they have killed several more soldiers, claiming that the Israeli army has not admitted the deaths of a handful of its troops.

Meanwhile, at least 46 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli shelling from air, land, and sea on Friday.

Medic Hamid al-Barai was killed in an airstrike on ambulance in Beit Hanoun.

Four Palestinians were killed in an airstrike on a motorbike and shelling in Khan Younis southern Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon.

Hamada Abu Yunis and Osama Shahim were killed in an airstrike on a motorbike in Khan Younis.

Kamil al-Naqa, 34, and Kamal Kamil al-Naqa, 35, were killed in shelling on Absan in Khan Yunis.

Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said that Hassan Hussein al-Huwari, 38, died of wounds sustained in al-Shifa hospital.

Two Palestinians died in artillery shelling on eastern Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

20-year-old Palestinian Jihad Hassan Hamad was also killed in Israeli bombing on Rafah.

Imad Abu Kamil, 20, was killed in an Israeli attack on al-Mughraqa in central Gaza, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

Meanwhile, seven bodies were pulled from rubble in the Shujaiyya area near Gaza City on Friday.

The bodies show signs of decay, indicating that the people were likely killed during Israeli forces' massive shelling and bombing of Shujaiyya last Sunday.

Two more bodies were pulled from the al-Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City. They were identified as Muhammad Yassin Siyam and Rami Muhammad Yassin.

In an initial count, 66 Palestinians were killed during what has been dubbed the "Shujaiyya massacre" on July 20, but several more bodies have been found since then.

Gaza militants continue to launch attacks

Meanwhile, Hamas said it had fired three rockets at Israel's main airport, a day after US and some European airlines had resumed flights after a two-day suspension.

"At 11:45 am, the Qassam Brigades bombarded Ben Gurion airport with three M75 rockets," a statement from Hamas's armed wing said.

EU and US authorities had ordered all commercial flights suspended after a rocket struck near runways on Tuesday, briefly shutting Israeli air links to the outside world in what Hamas claimed as a "victory" in a deadly conflict now in its 18th day.

Additionally, the al-Qassam Brigades said they targeted Ashdod with five grad missiles, Tel Aviv with 5 rockets and an M75 missile, and Ashkelon with five grad missiles.

Fatah's al-Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility for targeting Beersheba and Ashdod with three grad missiles.

And the Popular Resistance Committees' al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades said they had targeted Israeli towns near Gaza with 70 missiles.

Rockets from Gaza have killed two Israeli civilians so far, one of whom was volunteering at an Israeli military site.

Another rocket killed a Thai migrant worker on Wednesday.

AFP contributed to this report.
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