World

Israel-Hamas War Death Toll Reaches 222, Majority Civilians

By | Jul 16, 2014 11:24 PM EDT
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Israeli tanks and armoured personnel carriers (APCs) are seen at a staging area outside the central Gaza Strip July 15, 2014. (REUTERS)

The death toll in Israeli barrage in Gaza strip has reached 222 on Wednesday evening, with four children as its latest victims.

Interior ministry of Palestinian identified all the fatalities were Palestinians, mostly civilians, with at least 1,650 injured, as a result of the nine-day war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza strip. The ministry said there was only one fatality recorded on Israel's side.

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Israel has intensified its air attacks in Gaza on Wednesday after the Hamas rejected the ceasefire proposed by Egypt early this week, threatening the militants for a possible ground invasion to stop them from firing rockets to Israel.

The latest victims were young Palestinians who were bombed by Israel on a Gaza beach on Wednesday, which is expected to draw international condemnation for continuing its violence against civilians.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put the blame of civilians' death on Hamas, justifying its increased military actions in the border. He said the militants had "shut the door to a diplomatic solution" and bore "sole responsibility for the continuation of the violence".

Israel has advised thousands of residents in several areas in Gaza Strip to safer areas as it intensifies its air attacks and prepares its forces for a ground invasion. Netanyahu's security cabinet has been asked to authorise the mobilisation of 8,000-reserve troops, Reuters reported.

The Israeli has also intensified its air attacks on the top Hamas leaders.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF), in a statement, said its military is "doing everything possible" to limit civilian casualties. It said IDF makes phone calls and sends text messages to civilians residing in buildings designated for attack.

"(But) Hamas exploits these efforts by encouraging Palestinian civilians to ignore the IDF's warnings," it added.

IDF said its Israel Air Force had also dropped leaflets over Gaza strip to warn civilians to go away in areas of Hamas operatives, among others.
But several countries have urged both sides to refrain from its operation and called for a truce. The United Nations has also approved a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

Turkey, the former ally of Israel, has condemned Jerusalem's military attacks, accusing Israel of "state terrorism." It is the first country to came to the defense of Hamas, which several countries, including the United States, consider as a terrorist group.

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