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Israeli forces kill 16 Palestinians ahead of humanitarian truce

Aug. 4, 2014 10:18 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 5, 2014 10:14 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Sixteen Palestinians have been killed in attacks on Gaza since midnight on the 28th day of Israel's offensive on the Strip, a health official said Monday.

Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement that the death toll in Gaza since the beginning of the assault had risen to 1,822.

The lethal attacks came ahead of an Israeli-announced humanitarian ceasefire that was to begin at 10:00 a.m and continue until 5:00 p.m across the Strip, except for areas east of Rafah, where heavy clashes between militants and Israeli forces have been raging for days.

However, it was not immediately clear whether Hamas and other militant factions would respect the unilaterally-declared truce.

"The unilateral ceasefire announced by Israel is an attempt to divert the attention from Israeli massacres," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, calling on Palestinians to proceed with caution.

The Hamas movement "doesn't trust such a ceasefire," Abu Zuhri said.

Israel announced the limited ceasefire after one carrying out a bloody and sustained assault on Rafah from air, land, and sea, leaving some 200 Palestinians dead in 26 hours, according to the Ministry of Health. The announcement also comes after an UN school sheltering 3,000 people was hit by an Israeli strike on Sunday, killing at least 10.

Just before the beginning of the lull, Israeli strikes killed two Palestinians in al-Qarara north of Deir al-Balah. Before that, teenager Raghad Masood was killed and eight of her family members were injured in a shelling on a house in Rafah.

Israeli warplanes also targeted a group of Palestinians near Haifa Mosque in Tal al-Zaatar refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, killing five and injuring several others. The ministry of health identified those who were killed in the attack as Hamada Khalil al-Qaq, Ahmad Khalid al-Qaq, Suleiman Muhammad Maroof, Zahir al-Anqah, and Izz Addin Abu Tueima.

Earlier on Monday morning, the Islamic Jihad movement announced that Danial Mansour, a field leader of its military wing, was killed by an Israeli strike on a house in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip. Another Islamic Jihad fighter, Abd al-Nasser al-Ajouri, was killed in the same raid.

Other Palestinians succumbed to wounds sustained in earlier attacks.

According to the Ministry of Health, the Israeli offensive on Gaza has left 1,822 Palestinians dead, including 398 children. Some 9,370 Palestinians have been injured, 2,744 of them children.

Approximately 373,000 children are in need of psychological support as a result of the trauma of the war, according to UN figures.

Over a quarter of Palestinians in Gaza have been forced to leave their homes throughout the assault.
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