A Palestinian inspects the rubbles of a mosque destroyed in an Israeli airstrike at the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, July 12, 2014. Gaza Strip police commander and 17 other Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike Saturday night, making it the worst attack since Israel began aerial offensives on the coastal enclave on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)
GAZA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The commander of the Gaza Strip police, together with 17 other Palestinians, were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Saturday night, medics said, making it the worst attack since Israel's aerial offensive on the coastal enclave began earlier on Tuesday.
A Health Ministry spokesman in Gaza said that Police General Tayseer al-Batsh was critically wounded and brought to Shiffa Hospital, "but doctors failed to rescue his life."
The spokesman added that 17 other Palestinians were also killed and around 50 injured in the worst ever Israeli airstrike since Israel's air raids against the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.
Witnesses said Israeli war planes first fired a warning missile at the commander's house in Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza city, then completely destroyed it with another heavy missile.
The house happened to be next door to a mosque, where dozens were doing their Ramadan prayers. The missile destroyed parts of the mosque, killing and wounding the prayers.
Meanwhile, two more Palestinians were killed in two separate Israeli airstrikes on the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, the spokesman said.
"Since Tuesday morning 156 Palestinians have been killed and around 1,065 injured during the last five days of intensive Israeli airstrikes on houses. More than two third of the victims are civilians," he added.
The Health Ministry in Gaza said in a press statement that according to international experts, "Israel has been using new kinds of weapons and missiles that are internationally prohibited. "
Earlier on Saturday, Hamas' armed wing al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for attacking Tel Aviv with a barrage of rockets. Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted three rockets above Tel Aviv's metropolitan area, while another rocket landed in an open area near southern Tal Aviv. No casualties were reported.
JERUSALEM, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli military warned residents in northern Gaza Strip late on Saturday night to evacuate their homes "for their own safety," local media reported.
"The evacuation allows greater freedom of operation in the area, " a senior military officer was quoted by Ha'aretz daily as saying, adding that most of the rockets fired into Israel were launched from Gaza's north. He said the military planned a massive assault to the area, as Operation Protective Edge entered into the fifth day. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, July 12 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council unanimously called on Saturday for a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza strip. "The Security Council members called for de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, and reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire," said Ambassador Eugene-Richard Gasana of Rwanda, this month's president of the Security Council, in a statement read out to reporters outside council chambers.
The 2012 cease-fire referred to in the statement was brokered by Egypt, which served as a guarantor of the Palestinians. Full story
BEIRUT, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Three rockets fired from Lebanon landed in Israel on Saturday night, incurring Israel's shelling against southern Lebanon, the National News Agency reported.
The rockets were launched towards the settlement of Naharaya in southern Israel, which was immediately responded with Israel's shelling on the Zebkine Valley, located between the towns of Zebkine and Majdal-Zun in southern Lebanon, causing material damages. Israeli warplanes and helicopters were also roaming over Lebanon's Western Sector villages. Full story
CAIRO, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al- Sisi held talks on Saturday with visiting Quartet's Mideast peace envoy Tony Blair on the efforts to stop the ongoing Israeli strikes on Gaza, official MENA news agency reported.
The meeting reviewed the escalating situation in the occupied territories, MENA quoted presidential spokesman Ehab Badawy as saying. Full story