Palestinians death toll surges to 144; Israel destroys Gaza tower housing AP, Al Jazeera
Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip entered its sixth consecutive day on Saturday with air raids hitting a refugee camp where 10 Palestinians including eight children and two women were martyred.
According to the reports, total 144 Palestinians, including 40 children, have been martyred and over 1,200 others injured in the Palestinian territories since Monday. In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have also killed at least 13 Palestinians.
Confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinian demonstrators continued into the night in occupied East Jerusalem.
As violence escalates, the humanitarian crisis grows steadily worse with thousands of Palestinian families taking shelter in the United Nations-run schools in northern Gaza to escape Israeli artillery fire.
The UN has said it estimates approximately 10,000 Palestinians have left their homes in Gaza amid the Israeli offensive.
Israeli planes renewed air strikes in Gaza early on Saturday and Hamas fighters responded by firing rockets into Israel as the fighting entered a sixth night and US and Arab diplomats sought an end to the violence.
Palestinian medics said at least 12 people were killed overnight in air strikes throughout Gaza.
Health officials said a woman and her three children were among the dead after their house was hit in a refugee camp.
The Israeli military said it carried out strikes on a Hamas military intelligence facility and a number of rocket launching sites in northern Gaza.
The Palestinian religious affairs ministry said Israeli planes destroyed a mosque. A military spokesman said the army was checking the report.
Across the border, sirens sounded throughout much of southern Israel, sending residents running for shelter. In the cities of Beersheba and Ashdod, buildings were struck by rockets.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.U.S. diplomat Hady Amr arrived Saturday in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv to meet with senior Israeli and Palestinian officials to push for calm, though sirens blaring throughout the city to alert incoming rocket fire signaled the conflict showed no signs of abating.
With no sign of an end to the violence, casualties spread further afield, with Palestinians reporting on Friday 11 killed in the occupied West Bank due to attacks by Israeli security forces.
At least 132 people have been killed in Gaza since Monday, including 32 children and 21 women, and 950 others wounded, Palestinian medical officials said.
Among the eight dead in Israel were a soldier patrolling the Gaza border and six civilians, including two children, Israeli authorities said.
Ahead of a session of the UN Security Council on Sunday to discuss the situation, Biden administration envoy Hady Amr, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israel and Palestinian Affairs, flew in on Friday.
The US Embassy in Israel said the aim was “to reinforce the need to work toward a sustainable calm”.
Israel launched day-long attacks on Friday to destroy what it claimed were several kilometres of tunnels, launch sites and weapons manufacturing warehouses used by Hamas’ fighters in an effort to halt the rocket attacks.
Across central and southern Israel, from small towns bordering Gaza to metropolitan Tel Aviv and southern Beersheba, people have adjusted to sirens wailing, radio and TV broadcast interruptions and the beeps of cellphones bearing red alerts that send them rushing for cover.
Cross-border hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have been accompanied by violence in mixed communities of Jews and Arabs in Israel.
Synagogues have been attacked and street fights have broken out, prompting Israel’s president to warn of civil war.
Egypt was leading regional efforts to secure a ceasefire. Cairo was pushing for both sides to cease fire from midnight on Friday pending further negotiations, two Egyptian security sources said, with Egypt leaning on Hamas and others, including the United States, trying to reach an agreement with Israel..—Agencies