Israel, Hamas defiant as death toll rises to 135

Israel intensified its air assault on Gaza to counter rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, killing 30 people, as the death toll rose to 135 with over 1,100 Hamas positions targeted in five days of offensive.

PTI| Updated: Jul 12, 2014, 23:36 PM IST

Gaza/Jerusalem: Israel on Saturday intensified its air assault on Gaza to counter rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, killing 30 people, as the death toll rose to 135 with over 1,100 Hamas positions targeted in five days of offensive.

Two nephews of Hamas ex-PM Ismail Haniyeh were among 30 people killed today, as Gaza was hit by multiple strikes, Palestinian officials said.

At least 135 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its operation, Palestinian sources said.

In addition to those killed, at least 950 people - mainly civilians - have been injured, they said.
The UN Security Council urged Israel and Hamas today to end their hostilities in Gaza, calling on both sides to respect "international humanitarian laws" and return to the "calm and restitution of the November 2012 ceasefire."

In a unanimous declaration, the 15-member council called for a deescalation of the crisis. The UNSC expressed "serious concern" over the "protection and welfare of civilians on both sides."

It urged the Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table "with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on the two-state solution."

Israel today said it has carried out 1,160 strikes since Tuesday while asserting that Hamas fired 689 rockets.

A mosque in the central Gaza Strip was also bombed overnight. A Hamas spokesman reportedly said a pair of mosques was struck in the first attack of its kind since Israel began its offensive.

The Israeli military said the building had been used to store weapons.
Hamas, meanwhile, said it fired four rockets at the Israeli city of Ashdod.

A large fire broke out in a UN humanitarian relief compound in the east of Gaza City. Israel said it was caused by Hamas rockets falling short, though this has not been confirmed.

Israel hit a residential home for disabled people in Beit Lahiya, killing two severely handicapped women in the care facility, Palestinian officials said.

The Israeli military says it is targeting militants and militant facilities, including the homes of senior operatives. It says "dozens of terrorists" are among those killed.

Rockets fired from Gaza hit in and near two cities in the southern West Bank today, the Army said.

"Rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel and hit the Judea region," an Army statement said.

"One rocket struck an urban area in Hebron and two other rockets struck the area of Bethlehem," it said.

Two explosions were heard in Jerusalem today shortly after air raid sirens sounded.