New Gaza violence kills 3 children, hikes toll to 234

July 17, 2014 - 6:59:41 pm

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: An Israeli air strike in Gaza killed three children on Thursday, medics said, after a humanitarian lull in a 10-day conflict that has killed 234 Palestinians.

The strike hit the Sabra neighbourhood in the centre of Gaza, killing three children from the same family, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP.

Their deaths were the first to follow the end of a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire, requested by the UN, which brought some respite for residents of the besieged Palestinian territory.

Before the ceasefire took effect at 10:00 (0700 GMT), Israeli tank fire killed three men in their twenties in the southern city of Rafah, Qudra said.

One Israeli has also been killed by rockets fired by Palestinian militants.

The Rafah deaths came after another seven people were killed overnight.

Two men were killed in Gaza City, another two in Deir al-Balah and a fifth in northern Beit Lahiya.

One man was also killed in southern Khan Yunis and another in Rafah, Qudra said.

In addition, 1,690 people had been injured during conflict, Qudra said.

Israel and the Hamas movement announced Thursday they were observing a five-hour humanitarian truce called for by the United Nations.

According to figures provided by the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), more than 80 percent of the conflict's victims have been civilians.

The only Israeli casualty has been a civilian who died on Tuesday evening in a rocket strike near the Erez crossing, medics said. At least four Israelis have been seriously wounded.

Since the latest violence began before dawn on July 8, at least 1,021 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel, and another 256 have been shot down by the Iron Dome air defence system, army figures show.

During its campaign of air strikes aimed at halting the rocket fire, Israel has struck more than 1,750 "terror targets" across the coastal enclave, the army said. (AFP)