GAZA CITY: Israel pounded Gaza with 60 air strikes yesterday, killing 10 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and bringing down a 12-storey apartment block as Egypt called for new truce talks.
Israel yesterday sent text messages, voice mails and leaflets warning Palestinians that “every house from which militant activity is carried out, will be targeted” and to stay away from “terrorists”.
Israel insists on full safety for millions of citizens who live in daily fear of rocket fire, while Hamas insists that Israel must end its eight-year blockade of the territory as part of any truce.
At least 2,103 Palestinians and 68 people on the Israeli side, all but four of them soldiers, have been killed since July 8. The UN says 70 percent of the Palestinians who have died were civilians, and that among the dead are 478 children. Israel said it had carried out 60 air strikes over Gaza and that around 71 rockets and mortar rounds from Gaza hit Israel, with another 17 intercepted, including one over Tel Aviv.
Late yesterday, a rocket fired from Lebanon struck the Upper Galilee causing damage to a structure, police and the army said, with a security source said it hit a Druse village.
The deadliest Israeli air strike on Gaza levelled a home in Al Zawayda in the centre of the Strip, killing a couple, their sons aged three and four, and a 45-year-old aunt. Air strikes killed a 64-year-old man south of Gaza City, and in the town of Deir Al Balah, a 12-year-old boy and his 38-year-old mother, as well as another 43-year-old woman. In the heart of Gaza City an Israeli air strike levelled an apartment building at dusk, wounding at least 18 people, 10 of them children.
Residents in the 12-storey building were called 10 minutes before the attack and told to evacuate, sparking a stampede as dozens of people ran down to the street, neighbours said. Two missiles then slammed into the complex, reducing it to a pile of dusty rubble and sparking panic in the area.
Egypt’s foreign ministry issued a statement calling on “concerned parties to accept a ceasefire of unlimited duration and to resume indirect negotiations in Cairo”. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that “what interests us now is putting a stop to the bloodshed”.
Meanwhile, a Hamas official said yesterday the movement has signed a proposal for the Palestinians to apply to join the International Criminal Court at which legal action could be taken against Israel.