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Islamic State militants storm Yarmouk camp in Damascus
4 killed in airstrikes across Gaza as death toll surpasses 2,100
Published Saturday 23/08/2014 (updated) 24/08/2014 15:49
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Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike on a Palestinian home in Gaza
City on Saturday (AFP Thomas Coex)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Four Palestinians were killed on Saturday afternoon and dozens injured as Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip continued into its 47th day, as fears grew that Israel was planning to intensify its assault a day after a child was killed in mortar fire in southern Israel.

The deaths in Israeli airstrikes brought the total number of deaths in Gaza on Saturday to 12, including five members of one family, and the total death toll since the beginning of Israel's Operation Protective Edge to 2,105.

Spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health Ashraf al-Qidra said that a 10-year-old Palestinian named Hussein Ahmad and his mother Nisreen Ahmad were killed and two others injured in an airstrike that hit a house in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza Strip.

The body of Suheir Abu Mdein was also recovered from under rubble in Deir al-Balah.

Witnesses told Ma'an that an airstrike hit the house of Abu Anwar Saliha near Yaffa mosque.

Earlier, 64-year-old Muhammad Sabir al-Ijlah was killed in an Israeli airstrike on Juhr al-Dik in the northeastern Gaza Strip that also injured seven others.

Additionally, medical sources said a man was killed and several others were injured by Israeli airstrikes in al-Jneina neighborhood in Rafah in the south. Another unidentified man was killed in the central Gaza Strip in an air strike, while Salah Isleim succumbed to wounds he sustained three weeks ago in Khan Younis.

The deaths on Saturday began with the killing of five Palestinians including three children in an airstrike on the home of the Abu Dahrouj family in the al-Zawayda neighborhood of the central Gaza Strip.

Al-Qidra named the victims as 4-year-old Abdullah Hayil Abu Dahdouh, 49-year-old Hayat Abed Rabbo Abu Dahdouh, 27-year-old Huda Muhammad Abu Dahdouh, 26-year-old Hayil Shihdeh Abu Dahdouh and 3-year-old Hadi Hayil Abu Dahdouh.

Israel has killed more than 80 Palestinians since it resumed its assault on Gaza on Tuesday as a temporary ceasefire fell apart amid an impasse in indirect negotiations in Cairo.

Palestinians have offered multiple long-term truce offers that include lifting the eight-year long siege of Gaza that has crippled the tiny coastal enclave's economy, but they accuse Israel of stalling and refusing to offer any concessions.

Israel, meanwhile, has insisted that Palestinians in Gaza disarm, a demand Palestinian militant groups that last month repelled a massive Israeli ground assault have say are unwilling to consider.

A wounded Palestinian man receives medical treatment in the corridor of al-Shifa
hospital after an Israeli air strike on Gaza City on Friday (AFP/File Mahmud Hams)

Fears of renewed ground invasion

On Saturday, hundreds of Gaza residents received voice and text messages from the Israeli military demanding that they stay away from areas where "terrorist activities" are taking place, raising fears of an even more intense Israeli assault.

"Hamas leadership has decided to drag you to another battle. Prevent terrorists from utilizing your property for terror agendas, and stay away from every site in which terrorist organizations are operating," a recorded message received by Gaza mobile users said.

Others received text messages with similar messages threatening to target any house in which "militant activity" was carried out, while leaflets were dropped from Israeli planes with similar messages.

The Israeli military sent similar messages during the ground invasion in mid-July into northern and eastern Gaza Strip, where at its height Israeli forces killed more than a hundred Palestinians every day through shelling from land, air, and sea.

Israeli security and political sources lent credence to fears on Saturday, and Hebrew language news site Walla News said that the Israeli military echelon had decided to hit far-reaching areas after Palestinians intensified their shelling and rocket fire into Israel on Friday, killing one and injuring five.

A Walla report on Saturday quoted Israeli security officials as saying that more buildings and facilities surrounding launching pads will be hit from now on, expanding the range of destruction from merely the site of the launch itself.

The source added that the Israeli army could soon approve a decision to launch a major ground incursion into the Gaza Strip. "The Israeli public showed a high level of steadfastness which surprised Hamas," the security source added, according to Walla report.

Egypt to invite both sides to return

Amid the growing fears, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Saturday that Egypt is planning to invite Israeli and Palestinian delegations to return to Cairo to resume talks on a long-term truce for Gaza.

"Egypt is going to invite delegates to return to the negotiating table to consider a long-term truce," Abbas said after talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

"What interests us now is putting a stop to the bloodshed," Abbas said.

"As soon as a ceasefire goes into effect, the two sides can sit down and discuss their demands."

Abbas's meeting with Sisi came after he held two rounds of talks in Qatar on Thursday and Friday with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, whose movement is the de facto ruler of Gaza.

AFP contributed to this report.
1 ) Molson / Canada
23/08/2014 16:42
The Israeli Army has finished its work; it’s time to take the gloves off now and for an IAF aerial bombardment, and pin-point strikes by Israeli Special Forces, on Gazan terrorist strongholds. Nobody is giving a bunch of Islamic Jihad terrorists in Gaza a sea port, in order for them to import and rearm with arms and boat loads of terrorist tourists, from North Korea and Iran. Israel’s Muslam, Jewish and Christian civilians deserve their own security.

2 ) Billy Bragg / UK
23/08/2014 16:53
In permitting the storage of weapons, and in transferring such weapons into the hands of Hamas, the UN has in fact permitted itself to become accessory to the commission of war crimes. I expect and demand of Ban Ki Moon as Secretary General and executive head of the UN, to immediately establish a high-level inquiry with a view to thoroughly investigating these crimes and ensuring that those found responsible will bear the consequences of their actions.

3 ) joefattal / USA
23/08/2014 17:18
Netanyahu is fighting for his government to survive not the safety of his own people. It becoming a war that too many people outside the Palestinians are involved with, diplomatically for now. It is not anymore a war in Gaza, its a war for Israel to regain their status among the region. Hamas has given a blow to Israel offensive and they continue to do so regardless of the casualties. And that put one of Israel best foe, Iran, to say that Israel is not as tough as they sound like.

4 ) reader / world
23/08/2014 17:25
Abbas is inneficient and a puppet. this is why he was selected in his position by US and Israel after they put Arafat under siege and removed him (he was so sick that he passed away).

Only the steadfast Palestinian resistance is a real movement for liberation as per international laws and Geneva Convention that speaks for Palestinian people against barbaric occupation.

PA should represent the Palestinian resistance.

5 ) JoeFattal / USA
23/08/2014 18:16
There is a theory circulating around the Web that Israel turned off their Iron-Dome to have some rockets hit Israeli cities so they can have a reason for an air assault and a ground assault. That is old news. The reason why Hamas still have rockets to be launch at Israel after over 30 dyas. If Israel commit war crimes in Gaza. they also commit war crimes agianst their own people. If only Israeli citizens are aware of it. Netanyahu's rating will fall to zero.

6 ) Gerry / Wales
23/08/2014 22:11
Hamas will only be able to negotiate, if it comes to the table in Cairo, without any preconditions.

7 ) Ebrahim / South Africa
23/08/2014 23:18
Hamas must follow Mandela's strategy. When he was in prison, the Apartheid Government made a condition to him that he must renounce violence and give up the armed struggle, before they engage in any talks with him. He flatly refused, and so the Apartheid Government kept him in prison. But the pressure against Apartheid grew to such a degree that the Government relented and eventually had to release him without any pre-conditions, and were forced to eventually negotiate a settlement with him.

8 ) JoeFattal / USA
24/08/2014 00:40
I am wondering if Hamas is close to ran out of rockets, that's what Israel is trying to do. Who is going to strike Israel next. Its not going to end just like that. Some say Hezbollah, and others say Iran with their long range missiles. I say and only maybe, China might give it a shot. China and the US are not in their best relation, and Israel as an ally to the US and US interest might get hit from China. And Israel will be out of luck. Just a thought.

9 ) @ Joe-5 / Iron-Dome On or Off
24/08/2014 16:21
When West Bank Palestinians murdered 3 Israeli teenagers, Israel responded with a massive search and arrest program, and As long as Gaza PALESTINIANS [1] dig ATTACK tunnels threatening Israeli civilians, AND [2] launch rocket attacks threatening Israeli cities: - Israel will respond with ground invasions, to eliminate tunnel threats, & - ISRAEL WILL RESPOND with airstrikes, like this one, even if it kills ("baby girl"), Human-Shields, along with a groups of fighters !!

10 ) Ibrahim Najm / Canada
24/08/2014 19:10
Everyone loves Nelson Mandela, such a brave man, who stood by his principles & won freedom for his people, even though his sacrifice was great. Looks like those on the borders of this conflict are waiting patiently in the wings, itching to help out (judging by the token fireworks yesterday from L & S). My guess would be HB & I, Turkey might help out in some way with aid. IS' busy building empires at the moment, later on?? As to the Far East, worth a thought. US interests definitely insecure now.
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