Israel, Hamas defiant as death toll rises to 151
Gaza/Jerusalem: Israel on Saturday intensified its air assault on Gaza to counter rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, killing 46 people, as the death toll rose to 151 with over 1,100 Hamas positions targeted in five days of offensive.
Two nephews of Hamas ex-PM Ismail Haniyeh were among 46 people killed today, as Gaza was hit by multiple strikes, Palestinian officials said.
Thirty Palestinians were killed earlier in the day as new Israeli strikes on Gaza City late evening killed 15.
"At least 15 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike on the Tuffah neighbourhood in Gaza City that hit a house and a mosque," emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
One person was killed in southern Gaza`s Rafah.
At least 151 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its operation, Palestinian sources said.
In addition to those killed, over 1,000 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.
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 army also warned Palestinians today in the northern Gaza Strip to "leave their homes for their own safety.
Gaza militants fired several rockets towards Jerusalem and Tel Aviv today, the army said. There were no reports of injuries in the rocket fire.
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