According to the United Nations, thousands of Palestinians are fleeing northern parts of Gaza after Israel warned it was targeting the area in its campaign to stop rocket attacks.
The UN says 17,000 people have sought refuge in its facilities as Israeli air strikes continue for a sixth day.
Thousands of Palestinians are fleeing northern parts of Gaza after Israel warned it was targeting the area in its campaign to stop rocket attacks
Israeli forces have raided a suspected rocket-launching site in Gaza in their first reported ground incursion.
At least 159 Palestinians have been killed since Israel’s offensive began, according to health officials in Gaza.
The dead are said to include 17 members of one family who died in an Israeli missile strike on Saturday evening.
Israel says it is targeting Hamas militants and “terror sites”, including the homes of senior operatives. However, the United Nations has estimated that 77% of the people killed in Gaza have been civilians.
The UN Security Council called for a ceasefire and peace talks on Saturday.
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According to Palestinian sources, the death toll from Israeli air strikes on Gaza has risen to 100.
The latest deaths were of two people in a car in the Bureij area on Friday, they said.
Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes since launching its operation on Tuesday to stop rocket fire from Gaza. Militants there continue to fire on Israel, causing damage and injuries.
The US earlier offered to help with a truce in a call to Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu.
Egypt and Turkey have both criticized Israel’s use of force.
The Palestinian health ministry says in addition to those killed, 675 people – mainly civilians – have been injured in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.
Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes since launching its operation to stop rocket fire from Gaza
Israel says “dozens of terrorists” are among the dead.
Overnight in Gaza, an Israeli air strike on a house in Rafah killed five people – three men and two women – the health ministry said.
A second strike, it added, killed a girl in Rafah, while one militant was killed when his motorcycle was hit north of Gaza City.
In Israel, one person was seriously injured when a rocket hit a petrol station in Ashdod on Friday morning, Israeli officials say.
Three rockets were also shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system over Tel Aviv, the Israeli military said.
Lebanon’s military also confirmed that militants in the south of the country had fired three rockets into northern Israel in the early hours of Friday and that Israel had shelled the area in response. No injuries were reported.
One Israeli soldier was injured by mortar fire in Eshkol on Thursday.
In his telephone conversation with PM Benjamin Netanyahu, President Barack Obama said: “The United States remains prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.”
Condemning rocket fire by Hamas, Barack Obama also “expressed concern about the risk of further escalation and emphasized the need for all sides to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians and restore calm”.
Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair said on Friday it was necessary to tackle the “longer-term questions at the heart of this violence and conflict”.
“Without that long-term solution in place I think it’s going to be very difficult to create any short-term peace,” he said.
Some 20,000 Israeli army reservists have been mobilized amid speculation of a ground offensive into Gaza.
Israel says its targets in Gaza have been militant fighters and facilities, but the Palestinian health ministry says many women and children have been killed.
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[googlead tip=”lista_medie” aliniat=”stanga”]Israel new air strikes came hours after gunmen armed with heavy weapons and explosives killed at least 7 people in southern Israel.
Israel launches new air strikes on Gaza today after accusing militants in the Palestinian territory for deadly attacks near Eilat on Thursday before noon.
According to the militants, 5 Palestinians were killed in today strikes.
Israel launches new air strikes on Gaza today after accusing militants in the Palestinian territory for deadly attacks near Eilat on Thursday before noon
Earlier today, at least 7 people died when squads of gunmen armed with heavy weapons and explosives came to southern Israel from Egypt and attacked buses, cars and an army patrol, officials said.
The Israel’s government immediately reacted to Gaza attacks, spokesman Mark Regev saying:
“This is specific information.”
“This is not an assessment. This is not an estimate. This is very, very precise information that they came out of Gaza. We have no doubt.”
But he did not provide further details.
A spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, Taher Nunu denied that the militants were involved:
“Gaza has nothing to do with these attacks in Eilat.”
The attacks in Israel began around midday local time and lasted for about 3 hours.[googlead tip=”patrat_mediu” aliniat=”dreapta”]
Attackers targeted a packed bus driving along a road about 10 miles north of the Red Sea resort, close to the border crossing into Sinai. Within one hour, the attackers opened fire on another bus and two civilian vehicles on the same road, and an army vehicle rushing to the area drove over an explosive device, the military said in a statement.
Local TV footage showed a bus pulled off the road with its door and windows shattered, and soldiers were patrolling the area on foot. Inside the bus, seats were stained with blood, and luggage littered the aisle.
“We heard a shot and saw a window explode. I didn’t really understand what was happening at first. After another shot there was chaos in the bus and everyone jumped on everyone else,” passenger Idan Kaner told Channel 2 TV.
He also said the attack lasted 3 or 4 minutes until the bus was able to drive away.
Entrances and exits to Eilat were sealed, as roadblocks were thrown up in the area.
A “large number” of attackers were working in multiple squads, the military said, but gave no specifics.
Israeli military spokeswoman, Avital Leibovich said:
“We are talking about a terror squad that infiltrated into Israel.”
“This is a combined terrorist attack against Israelis.”
“Israeli security forces tracked down some of the assailants and killed 7 in a gun battle,” she added.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mediu” aliniat=”stanga”] Israel said the assailants came from the Gaza Strip and made their way through Sinai, which borders both Israel and Gaza.
“The incident underscores the weak Egyptian hold on Sinai and the broadening of the activities of terrorists,” the Israeli Defence minister, Ehud Barak, said in a statement.
“The real source of the terror is in Gaza and we will act against them with full force and determination.”
Security in Sinai area has been deteriorated since February, when Hosni Mubarak was toppled.
The new attack comes just a week after the Egyptian army said it was about to launch an operation in Sinai to target what it described as “al-Qaeda elements” on the Egyptian side of the border, where they had attacked a gas pipeline.
A senior security official from Egypt denied that the assailants crossed into Israel from Sinai or that the buses were fired at from inside Egyptian territory.
“The border is heavily guarded,” said a Sinai-based official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.