GAZA, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Israeli tanks and artilleries intensified late on Saturday night its shelling on the Gaza Strip for a third day in a row, witnesses and security officials said.
"The areas near the borders between Israel and northern, eastern and southern Gaza Strip looked like ghost towns while five tank shells are fired on the territories every minute," one of the residents in eastern Gaza city said, adding that most of civilians living there had already left their homes.
The intensified shelling and bombing of the coastal enclave is part of Israel's "Operation Protective Edge," which commenced earlier this month to crack down on Hamas movement and other militants.
Meanwhile, militants, chiefly from Hamas, claimed responsibility for attacking the Israeli ground forces. The Islamic movement said in separate leaflets that its militants killed around 14 Israeli soldiers and confiscated their weapons and ammunition.
However, Avichay Idrei', an Israeli army spokesman, told Xinhua that since the start of the offensive, only three Israeli soldiers were killed by Gaza militants, adding that on Saturday two soldiers were killed in an ambush near the borders between southeast Gaza Strip and Israel.
He said that since the ground operation started, the Israeli army has killed 70 militants and arrested 13 others, destroyed 34 infiltration tunnels, five of which went into Israel.
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip are using underground tunnels to infiltrate into Israel for attacks, while they are disguised as Israeli soldiers, according to Israeli media reports.
Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a press statement that the Israeli army ground operation launched against Gaza "failed to achieve any of its goals or targets." Earlier, Abu Zuhri warned that "Israel will pay a heavy price for killing dozens of children and women."
Israel earlier announced that it allowed 20 tons of medicines and medical-related supplies to go through the borders between northern Gaza Strip and Israel. Israel said that the medical aid to Gaza was donated by the Palestinian National Authority.
The Gaza Strip has been in complete blackout since the beginning of Israel's ground incursion. Energy company officials said the power shortage in Gaza has reached more than 80 percent after all the electricity cables originated from Israel were damaged.
Gaza people are also short of water after major water pipes were destroyed in the last 13 days of war jets and tanks strikes.
The Palestinian health ministry said in a press statement that since the beginning of the large-scale Israeli operation on Gaza, 342 people were killed and more than 2,500 injured, most of them are civilians, including children and women.
The UN for Relief and Work Agency earlier in the day urged the international community to help some 5,000 Palestinian refugees, who left their homes, and now are taking shelters at schools run by the agency.
GAZA, July 19 (Xinhua) -- For 13 days, stores, factories and businesses totally suspended, while Gaza's economy was badly hurt as Israel's ever escalating large-scale offensive on the coastal enclave continues with aerial bombardment and ground incursion that has led to the death of at least 342 Palestinians since its start earlier this month.
Economists and observers believed that the violent and intensive attacks will eventually kill the suffocating local economy that has been in fact suffering from years of rigid Israeli blockade since 2007.Full Story
JERUSALEM, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Two Israeli soldiers were killed in a fire exchange with Palestinian militants who infiltrated Israeli turf through a Gaza tunnel earlier on Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed in a statement.
The two were identified as 45-year-old reserve soldier Maj. Amotz Grinberg from Hod Hasharon in central Israel, and 20-year- old soldier Adar Berenaso from the northern city of Nahariya. Both were hit by machine gunfire and anti-tank missiles.Full Story