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Death toll continues to rise in Gaza - Daily News Egypt

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Death toll continues to rise in Gaza

Israel bombs 50 targets in Gaza, considering a ground invasion of the strip

Israel continued its campaign against Gaza on Tuesday, bombing over 50 sites, including civilian residences, killing at least one and wounding 30 Palestinians, according to both Gaza residents and Reuters.

Israeli airstrikes killed two Palestinians in Gaza on Tuesday and nine on Monday, confirmed a Gaza resident who preferred to remain anonymous.

Israeli officials dubbed the campaign against Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge”, with airstrikes having continued for over a week.

The Israeli Defence Forces claim they have launched the campaign in response to rockets fired from Gaza into Southern Israel. Colonel Peter Lerner, an IDF spokesperson, said the Israeli military is considering sending ground forces into Gaza, Reuters reported.

Dr Hani Al-Basoos, professor of political science at the Islamic University in Gaza, previously told Daily News Egypt that Israel wishes to eliminate Hamas from the West Bank and Gaza.

“They do not want groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad to exist,” he said.

He added that Hamas and Islamic Jihad were preparing to retaliate, and he expects Israeli escalation.

“Although there were some talks that Egypt would negotiate a ceasefire, none of that is clear yet,” he said.

Hamas called on all resistance factions to join the fight, Palestinian News Agency, Ma’an reported.

Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Abbas demanded Israel stop its raids on Gaza “immediately”, and has previously called on UN secretary generals to form an international investigation committee monitoring crimes by Israeli settlers.

The Israeli operations against the West Bank and Gaza came after three young Israeli settlers disappeared mid-June and were found dead on 30 June.

“Operation Protective Edge is a gradual operation and we have gone into its first stages,” said IDF spokesperson for Arab media, Avichay Adraee.

Israel has accused Hamas of killing the teenagers, which Hamas has repeatedly denied.

Since then, Israel has launched a series of campaigns against the West Bank and Gaza. In the West Bank, the Israeli military arrested over 500 Palestinians, and raided many of their homes.

Israeli settlers also kidnapped and killed 16-year-old Palestinian, Mohamed Abu Khdeir, an act which triggered angry reactions and protests. Abu Khdeir’s body was found Wednesday 2 July, and autopsy reports showed that he was burned alive.

Three Israelis confessed to the killing of Abu Khdeir on Monday.

On 3 July, two undercover Israeli police agents beat and detained Mohamed Abu Khdeir’s 15-year-old cousin, Tarek. An Israeli court sentenced Tarek Abu Khdeir to nine days of house arrest upon his release from police custody.

The US State Department previously expressed shock at the Israeli handling of the American-Palestinian teenager. They “condemned” the “use of excessive force” and said they are awaiting Israeli investigations. The US Consulate General visited Abu Khdeir on 5 July and attended his hearing on 6 July.

Human Rights Watch described Israeli military actions in the West Bank as “collective punishment.”

However, the State Department also said: “Our view is that Israel has the right to defend itself, and we certainly support that.”

This is the worst outbreak of violence since the 2012 Israeli war on Gaza.

The Gaza resident said he believes that even if Egypt attempts to negotiate a ceasefire, “Israel looks like it is intent on a full-scale war.”

Since July 2013 the Egyptian state undertook a campaign to destroy tunnels connecting Egypt through Gaza and has kept the Rafah crossing closed. In 2008, when Israel launched “Operation Cast Lead” on Gaza, the Egyptian state kept the Rafah crossing closed, an act which further enforced the siege on the strip.

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