GAZA, July 16 (Xinhua) -- Israel's large-scale "Operation Protective Edge" on the Gaza Strip entered its second week, while death toll among the Palestinians reached 202 and around 1,500 wounded, amid slim chances to reach a truce between Israel and Gaza militants.
The Gaza-based health ministry said in a press statement that eight more Palestinians were killed overnight and early on Wednesday predawn, adding that the death toll since the beginning of the Israeli war on Gaza climbed to 202, including 39 children, 24 women and 10 senior men.
It added that around 1,500 people injured, including 422 children and 271 women, after Israeli army war jets struck with missiles on dozens of civilian houses all over the Gaza Strip for eight days, adding that more than 100 injured are still in serious conditions.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian ministry of work said that since the beginning of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip on July 8, the Israeli army war jets completely destroyed 612 houses, adding that around 13,550 constructions were partially damaged, including 565 houses that are not fitting for living.
Overnight and predawn Wednesday, Israeli war jets targeted the houses of senior Islamic Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar, the interior minister of Hamas rule Fathi Hammad, Ismail Haneya's aide Bassem Na'eem and Hamas lawmaker Jamila al-Shanti.
Hamas movement said in a press release that targeting the houses of Hamas lawmakers, members in the Palestinian parliament reflected the status of confusion in the Israeli government and military establishment.
Besides targeting houses of top Hamas leaders, Israeli war jets also targeted a local radio station in Gaza city and struck a car in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah and carried out dozens of airstrikes on farms and lands, claimed by the Israeli army for storing weapons and launching rockets into Israel.
Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas armed wing, said in an emailed press statement that its militants fired on Tuesday and early on Wednesday more than 170 rockets into northern, central and southern Israeli cities and towns, adding it also attacked troops stationed close to the borders with the Gaza Strip.
The ongoing tension and violence in the Gaza Strip has been going on after Egypt presented a ceasefire initiative to end the fighting. The Israeli cabinet accepted the initiative, but Hamas and Islamic Jihad rejected it, saying it didn't meet the Palestinians' demand of ending eight years of Israeli siege.
Gaza militants kept launching rockets into Israel, where the Israeli army decided to respond and kept striking on the Gaza Strip's targets. Later on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his government decided to intensify the heavy strikes on the coastal enclave.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday called on Islamic Hamas movement and Israel to be committed to a truce initiative presented by Egypt late on Monday night to end the ongoing mutual fighting between the two sides.
Abbas, who met with German Foreign Affairs Minister Frank- Walter Steinmeier in Ramallah, and scheduled to travel to Cairo for talks on achieving a ceasefire, stressed that the Egyptian initiative is important to stop the bloodshed in Gaza and to end more deterioration and instability.
The Islamic Jihad (Holy War) said in earlier press statement that the Egyptian initiative for a truce with Israel "is rejected, because it doesn't mean the legal demands of the Palestinians related to ending the aggression and lifting more than eight years of siege had been imposed on the Gaza Strip."
However, Musa Abu Marzooq, a senior Hamas leader, wrote on his personal page on Facebook that Hamas is still studying the Egyptian initiative and contrary to what was published earlier, Hamas movement hasn't officially given its final answer to the initiative.
JERUSALEM, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Despite a high civilian death toll in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will expand its military operation against Hamas, as the first Israeli civilian since the operation began was killed during Hamas' continuous rocket attacks on Israeli soil.Full story
GAZA, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Hamas movement, rejected early Tuesday an Egyptian initiative on ceasing fire with Israel, saying there would be no ceasefire before reaching an agreement, according to Hamas spokesman.Full story