Palestinian medics attend a man, who was injured in an Israeli attack, at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, July 18, 2014. Around 300 Palestinians were killed and 2,100 injured in the ongoing large-scale Israeli army offensive on the Gaza Strip that started on July 8, officials said early on Saturday. (Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)
GAZA, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Around 300 Palestinians were killed and 2,100 injured in the ongoing large-scale Israeli army offensive on the Gaza Strip that started in July 8, officials said early on Saturday.
The Palestinian ministry of health said in an emailed statement that the death toll in the Gaza Strip is growing, adding that more than 50 Palestinians, all of them were civilians, were killed on Friday.
The latest Israeli strikes hit two families: one in northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, where eight family members were killed and the other in southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, where five family members were killed, it said.
"The Israeli army artillery shelling on the houses of the two families in northern and southern Gaza turned the bodies of the victims, including two women and two children, into carnages," said the health ministry's statement.
Witnesses in northern, eastern and southern Gaza Strip affirmed that they are hearing intensive bombings after tanks and artillery fired dozens of shells on the houses, farms and lands.
Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of the health ministry said that more than 50 Palestinians were killed and more than 200 injured only on Friday right after the Israeli ground operation started.
"During the past 12 days of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army committed 24 massacres and killed 93 people, all are civilians including women and children," said al-Qedra.
Meanwhile, Hamas armed wing spokesman, known as Abu Obeida, said in a televised speech aired on the Hamas TV "al-Aqsa" that after 24 hours of the Israeli army's ground operation, "I confirm that this army was defeated."
"(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and his defense minister (Moshe) Ya'alon will be soon defeated and all those who stand to Israel's side will regret," said Abu Obeida.
He stressed that his armed wing has prepared itself for a long battle, adding that "we are ready to carry on until we achieve victory and reach our goals;" and "there are thousands of our Mujahidin are ready for a large ground battle."
The spokesman of the most powerful military armed wing in the Gaza Strip accused the Israeli army "of hiding their losses," adding that "we will strike on the enemy everywhere until it recognizes our people's right and stop its aggression."
UNITED NATIONS, July 18 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon will travel to the Middle East region Saturday in a bid to end the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip, the UN political chief told the Security Council Friday.
"The international community must assume its responsibility to urgently help restore a serious prospect for a two-state solution that brings an end to the decades-long conflict and occupation," UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East. Full story