by Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Israel on Tuesday intensified its air and ground strikes on the Gaza Strip, killing at least 100 Palestinians in a deadliest day since the beginning of its military campaign against militants in the coastal enclave on July 8, medics said.
Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of health ministry in Gaza, said in an emailed press statement that Israel intensified its air, ground and sea strikes overnight and on Tuesday all over the Gaza Strip, adding 100 Palestinians were killed and more than 500 wounded.
"Since the beginning of the Israeli offensive, 1,130 Palestinians were killed and 6,700 wounded, around two third of them are civilians, including women and children," said al-Qedra, adding "strikes targeted houses, buildings, media offices, mosques and farms."
Securities officials said that the heaviest strikes were on several houses in al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, where 17 people were killed, including the refugee camp's mayor Anees Abu Shamallah, adding that many children and women were either killed or wounded.
The security officials also said that the house of Ismail Haneya, the former premier of Hamas government in Gaza and deputy chief of the Islamic movement, was completely destroyed in an airstrike on western Gaza city's Beach refugee camp.
They added that media offices that belong to Hamas al-Aqsa Television and other Hamas news agencies were also flattened. Several mosques in Gaza city and other areas in the Strip were also destroyed.
"It was the worst horrible night ever that the populations in Gaza city with around one million people had ever lived since the beginning of the Israeli large-scale offensive on the coastal enclave that started on July 8," said a Xinhua correspondent in the city.
Meanwhile, the Gaza-based energy corporation said in a text message that around 90 percent of the 1.8 million populations of the Gaza Strip are without electricity since midnight, right after Israeli war jets had directly targeted the sole power plant in southern Gaza city.
Mohamed al-Sharif, director of the power plant said in an emailed press statement that two air-to-ground missiles hit at 7: 00 a.m. (4:00 a.m. GMT) the fuels tanks in the station which were completely destroyed and the fire destroyed the main turbine that generates electricity.
"Destroying the power station in Gaza and damaging around nine major lines of electric supplies come from Israel to the Gaza Strip created a severe shortage in power and will keep around 90 percent of the populations in a full blackout for a long period of time," said al-Sharif.
The Palestinian leadership held an emergency meeting in Ramallah on Tuesday and announced in a press statement that after consultations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it was agreed to go for a 24-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
"It was agreed in coordination with Hamas and Islamic Jihad to go immediately for a 24-hour ceasefire and a humanitarian truce and also to deal positively with the UN-proposed ceasefire for 72 hours," said the official Palestinian statement.
The meeting, chaired by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, also decided to follow up the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, adding that "it was agreed also to send a delegation to Cairo, which includes Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials to discuss with the Egyptians a truce in Gaza."
Israeli war jets destroy house of Hamas leader, no casualties
GAZA, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Israeli war jets struck early Tuesday morning the house of Ismail Haneya, deputy chief of Islamic Hamas movement, in western Gaza City's Beach refugee camp, causing no casualties, Gaza's interior ministry said.
Haneya's son wrote on his Facebook page that the house of the former Hamas Gaza prime minister was empty then. Full story
UN chief reiterates call for humanitarian truce in Gaza
UNITED NATIONS, July 28 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-general Ban Ki- moon on Monday reiterated his call for an "immediate and unconditional ceasefire" in the Gaza Strip, where over 1,000 Palestinians and 43 Israeli soldiers have been killed over the past weeks, saying that "in the name of humanity, the violence must stop."
The secretary-general made the remarks to reporters here before his briefing to the UN Security Council on his recent trip to the Middle East, where he made diplomatic efforts to push for a ceasefire in Gaza. Full story