Gaza turns ghost town as toll goes up to 121
Israel defiantly pressed on with its bombardment of Gaza for the fifth day on Saturday as the Jewish state vowed to keep up its military offensive to counter rocket attacks by Palestinian militants with the death toll reaching 121.
16 Palestinians died on Saturday in a wave of Israeli air strikes as Operation Protective Edge entered its fifth day, taking the overall death toll to 121, medics said. Israel says it hit more than ‘60 terror targets’ in new raids and two rockets hit Beersheba in Israel.
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. There is no sign of both sides agreeing on a ceasefire, despite intense diplomacy at the United Nations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday that his country will resist foreign pressure to halt its operations. ‘The objective is to restore quiet to the cities of Israel, and I intend to achieve this objective,’ he said, according to the BBC.
In a strike on Beit Lahiya overnight, Israel hit a building used by a charitable association for people with disabilities, Palestinian official said. Two teenage female residents were killed, medics said. Three other people, including an Islamic Jihad activist, were killed when a house in Jabaliya refugee camp was hit, the Palestinian health ministry said.
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. The Palestinian health ministry says in addition to those killed, 750 people - mainly civilians - have been injured in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge since it began on Tuesday.
The UN has calculated that 77 per cent of the people killed in Gaza so far have been civilians. Israel said today that it has carried out 1,160 strikes since the start of its offensive, and says Hamas fired 689 rockets in the first four days.
The rockets have caused damage and some injuries in Israel but there have been no Israeli fatalities so far.