Israel offensive: No sign of slowing down

2014-07-12 11:29
Palestinian militants of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, attend the funeral of militant Mohammed Obied during his funeral in the town of Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. (Said Khatib, AFP)

Palestinian militants of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' armed wing, attend the funeral of militant Mohammed Obied during his funeral in the town of Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. (Said Khatib, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Gaza - Israeli airstrikes targeting Hamas in Gaza hit a mosque its military says concealed the militant group's weapons, as the Palestinian death toll topped 120 Saturday in an offensive that showed no signs of slowing down.

Israel launched its campaign five days ago to stop relentless rocket fire on its citizens. While there have been no fatalities in Israel, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said overnight attacks raised the death toll there to over 120, with more than 920 wounded.

Dozens of the dead are civilians, though the exact breakdown remains unclear.

Hamas said Israel for the first time also hit a pair of mosques in its offensive. It hopes the incident will galvanise support in the Muslim world.

"The bombing of two mosques in Gaza overnight shows how barbaric this enemy is and how much is it hostile to Islam," said Husam Badran, a Hamas spokesperson in Doha, Qatar. "This terrorism gives us the right to broaden our response to deter this occupier."

Underground tunnel networks

The Israeli military released an aerial photo of the mosque it hit, saying it concealed rockets right next to another religious site and civilian homes. It said Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Gaza militant groups systematically use this tactic of abusing religious sites to conceal weapons and establish underground tunnel networks, deliberately endangering its own civilians.

"Hamas terrorists systematically exploit and choose to put Palestinians in Gaza in harm's way and continue to locate their positions among civilian areas and mosques, proving once more their disregard for human life and holy sites," said Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman.

Gaza militants have fired nearly 700 rockets and mortars toward Israel in five days of fighting. The "Iron Dome," a US-funded, Israel-developed rocket defence system, has intercepted more than 130 incoming rockets, preventing any Israeli fatalities so far.

Israel's military says it has struck more than 1 100 targets, including rocket launchers, command centres and weapon manufacturing and storage facilities, delivering a devastating blow to the Islamic militants.

International supporters

The offensive is the heaviest fighting since a similar eight-day campaign in November 2012 to stop Gaza rocket fire. The outbreak of violence follows the kidnappings and killings of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, and the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager in an apparent revenge attack.

Israel has pummeled Gaza at twice the rate of the 2012 operation and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to press on with the campaign until there is a complete halt to rocket attacks from the seaside Palestinian territory. Israel has massed thousands of troops along the border in preparation for a possible ground invasion.

After days of little criticism, Israel has begun coming under more international pressure as Palestinian casualties have grown.

A senior Arab league official said Arab foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting in Cairo on Monday to discuss the continued Israeli offensive and measures to urge the international community to pressure Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas requested the meeting, which was approved by several Arab foreign ministers in coordination with the Arab League. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief journalists.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians and their international supporters are discussing a United Nations draft resolution that would condemn all violence against civilians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and call for "an immediate, durable and fully respected cease-fire.

“However, the Palestinian draft makes no mention of the firing of hundreds of rockets into Israel by Hamas, likely making it unacceptable to the United States if it was introduced in the UN Security Council.
- AP
Read more on:    un  |  hamas  |  benjamin netanyahu  |  mahmoud abbas  |  palestine  |  israel  |  gaza  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
149 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.