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24 Palestinians killed in Israeli assault on Gaza Wednesday morning
Published Wednesday 23/07/2014 (updated) 23/07/2014 22:35
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A relative of Shahed Qishtah, a nine-year-old Palestinian girl who was
killed in an Israeli strike while playing, leaves the Kamal Adwan hospital
where he brought her in Beit Lahiya after on July 22, 2014 in the
northern Gaza Strip (AFP Marco Longari)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- The death toll on the 16th day of Israeli military offensive on Gaza rose to 24 on Wednesday after an Israeli airstrike killed 70-year-old Hasan Abu Hein, 34-year-old Osama Abu Hein, and journalist Abd al-Rahman Abu Hein, 24, in the Shujaiyya neighborhood of Gaza City.

Several other people were also injured when Israeli forces bombarded a 700-year-old mosque known as al-Shamaa mosque (also known as Bab al-Darum) in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City before noon time.

More than 650 Palestinians -- the vast majority of whom have been civilians, including more than 160 children -- have been killed in the assault so far, while Israel has suffered 29 deaths, 27 of whom have been soldiers.

The Gaza Strip continued to be bombarded from air, land, and sea on Wednesday morning, a day after the the United Nations' Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA accused Israeli of shelling a UN school sheltering the displaced for the second time in two days.

"UNRWA condemns in the strongest possible terms the shelling of one of its schools in the central area of Gaza," it said in a statement.

"The location of the school and the fact that it was housing internally displaced persons had been formally communicated to Israel on three separate occasions. We have called on the Israeli authorities to carry out an immediate and comprehensive investigation."

During the offensive, more than 135,000 Gazans have fled their homes, seeking shelter in 69 schools run by UNRWA.

Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra on Wednesday said that the evacuation of dead bodies and injured people had been very slow in a number of areas because Israeli forces had impeded the movement of ambulances and rescue teams.

Al-Qidra highlighted that the total Palestinian death toll had risen to 647 on Wednesday morning, including 161 children and 35 elderly people.

More than 4,000 Palestinians had also sustained injuries in the assault, he said, while hospitals were running dangerously low on medical supplies amid the most deadly sustained Israeli assault on the besieged coastal enclave since 2008.

Israeli leaders on Tuesday hinted that the assault would not end until Hamas' entire tunnel network had been destroyed, suggesting that the goals of the offensive had shifted from halting rocket fire to undermining the group's military infrastructure more broadly.

Hamas, meanwhile, has demanded that any ceasefire include the lifting of the Israeli blockade, which has been in place for the last seven years and includes Israeli control over all imports, exports, and movement of people in the tiny coastal enclave.

Israel launched the assault earlier in the month after a sustained offensive on Hamas across the West Bank in June and early July in order to find three missing Israeli teenagers, which left 10 Palestinians dead, more than 130 injured, and 600 Hamas-affiliated individuals in prison.

The offensive -- which was accompanied by airstrikes on the Gaza Strip -- led to a sharp rise in rocket fire from the area into Israel.

24 dead Wednesday morning

Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said on Wednesday that Nidal Hamad al-Ejla, 25, was killed and 30 others were injured, including two children with serious injuries, in Israeli shelling in the al-Shamaa area of Gaza City. The body and the injured were moved to al-Shifa medical center.

Muhammad Ziyad Habib, 30, was also killed in an Israeli attack on eastern Gaza City.

Palestinian medical sources said earlier that 12-year-old Rabee Qasim was killed and four other people injured when an Israeli shell hit a cart pulled by a donkey in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Naser in the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning.

Ashraf al-Qidra said that at least five people were killed in the village of Khuzaa east of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip early Wednesday as well.

Medical sources said that Adnan Ghazi Habib from al-Mughraqa neighborhood succumbed to wounds he sustained overnight.

In Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, rescue teams pulled four dead bodies from the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes Tuesday night. Medical sources identified them as Muhammad Abu Riddiya, his wife, Shama, as well as Khalil Abu Jami and Husam al-Qarra.

Among the victims were two children Muhammad Mansour al-Bashiti, 7, and Zeinab Abu Teir. Bassam Abu Tueima, 23, Mahmoud Abu Tueima, 25, and a senior leader in the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ismail Abu Tharifa were also killed.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, Israeli airstrikes and artillery shells killed 18-year-old Hamza Abu Anza in Khan Younis.

Ibrahim Abu Asi and Wisam al-Najjar succumbed to their wounds also in Khan Younis.

Four Palestinians were also killed in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip in two separate Israeli airstrikes.

The first strike in the early dawn hours killed 21-year-old Osama Bahjat Rajat and 23-year-old Muhammad Dwood Hamoudah. The second strike was around 8 a.m. and it killed two people in al-Shayma neighborhood of Beit Lahiya.

Mujahid Skafi, a young man from the Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City died Wednesday morning of wounds he sustained during artillery shelling Tuesday.

Israeli warplanes struck on Wednesday morning home of Hamas' leader Nizar Awadallah in al-Shati refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip for the second time.

A mosque known as Omar Ibn Abd al-Aziz Mosque in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza was also hit Wednesday morning as well as a house belonging to al-Masri family in Beit Lahiya.

The home of a leader in the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Ziad Jarkhoun was also targeted in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

AFP contributed to this report.
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1 ) Nirim / Canada
23/07/2014 10:46
UNRWA has a history of letting Hamas use its facilities for its terrorist activities. Time and again, over the years, UNRWA has been abused by gunmen from different terrorist factions who are using UN facilities to stockpile weapons, to fire rockets from, to steal UNRWA humanitarian equipment and to cause damage and fire in UNRWA’s hangars,

2 ) Luke / USA
23/07/2014 10:54
"the total Palestinian death toll had risen to 644 on Wednesday morning, including 161 children, 66 women, and 35 elderly people." This means that about 60% of the civilian victims are adult males. A disproportionate figure, given that in Gaza only about 25% of population are adult males (50% are adults, of which 50% are male).

3 ) Sam / Canada
23/07/2014 10:55
Stand strong Israel in your war on terror. G-d is with you as you risk your lives to protect your citizens.

4 ) most of the dead right now are / HAMAS TERRORISTS
23/07/2014 10:58
and not "innocent" civilians! that is good

5 ) Billy Bragg / UK
23/07/2014 11:36
Against all evidence, UNRWA refuses to acknowledge reality and pathetically attempts to ingratiate itself with Hamas, pretending that nothing serious has happened. This is a classic case of beaten-wife syndrome, which we have been witnessing for years from UNRWA. The people of Gaza, and indeed taxpayers from countries who contribute to UNRWA’s budget — including Israel — deserve better.

6 ) Cousin Solly / Ukraine
23/07/2014 13:24
On Monday, July 21, Meshaal told one Western official: "In Gaza we see that the IDF is slow and clumsy. Our forces are mobile and flexible, including our rockets which we can move quickly from one place to another." Asked about Hamas' defeat in Shajaiya, where a Gaza City suburb, home to 100,000 Palestinians, was razed to the ground, he declined to comment. After Israel learned of Meshaal's comments, the IDF was instructed Monday night to demolish the empty home of Mohammed Deif.

7 ) Mel / USA
23/07/2014 13:55
Nothing can be more BLATANT-this is NOTHING to do with ANY"missing/dead"Israeli-Jewish settlers.It's ALL just perpetuating more planned extermination,collective punishment & MASSIVE WAR CRIMES against Palestinians because they're NOT JEWISH.Obama/Kerry etc are just slow-stepping to LET Israel have its QUOTA of non-Jewish civilian blood.It's beyond belief in its long ongoing,perpetual,state-sponsored USG &ISRAELI inhuman criminality. D.C. digs the MASS grave & Israel fills it with bodies.

8 ) Tibi / Tubas
23/07/2014 14:35
[A] After their war experiences in 2006, 2009, and 2012,
Hamas certainly expected this, if they attacked Israel again, so
[B] If the Gaza Government (Hamas, Unity, militias, etc.) did
- NOT want this for the people of Gaza, then they should
- NOT have restarted launching rockets at Israel again !!

9 ) Levi / USA
23/07/2014 17:10
@7) Mel, over 700 Syrians were killed just last week, some 1,400 Palestinians were killed to date in the refugee camp in Syria. Jews didn't kill them. Yet you want to charge the Jews for war crimes over 24 deaths - most likely Hamas terrorists shooting rockets at Israelis - and you say nothing about the thousands of deaths of Arabs on Arabs/Palestinians? Where is your sense of proportion and fairness?

10 ) guy / usa
23/07/2014 23:03
how many militants were killed so far. its hard to believe EVERYBODY killed was an innocent civilian.

11 ) maria / spain
24/07/2014 13:14
Are you crazyyyy???? For god?s sake, some people still defend Israel? 1) you have been strongly brain washed 2) you are not human You still believe this is because three people were murdered? In a civilized society, if someone is murdered they go to trial, then to jail. In your society you kill 650 innocent people and children.
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