Gaza death toll hits 172 in seventh day of Israeli offensive

Palestinian children stand next to graves ahead of the funeral of 18 members of al-Batsh family”

Palestinian children stand next to graves ahead of the funeral of 18 members of al-Batsh family”

Israeli strikes on Gaza have claimed the lives of a man and a woman, raising the overall death toll to 172 with another 1,230 wounded as the campaign entered its seventh day.

Both died of injuries sustained in Israeli air strikes when another eight people were killed.

Israeli strikes killed a 65-year old man in Deir el-Balah, in the southern part of the strip, a 20-year-old in Rafah adjacent to the Egyptian border, and two in Khan Yunis, also in the south.

One strike on the northern town of Jabaliya struck a house, killing a 14-year-old boy, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

Shortly afterwards, another strike killed a woman in the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza, he said.

A man was killed in a raid on Beit Hanun in northern Gaza, where the Israeli army has warned it will sharply escalate its offensive and had urged residents to flee.

Elsewhere, another person succumbed to injuries from an earlier strike, Mr Qudra said, giving an overall toll of 172 dead.

Israel began Operation Protective Edge before dawn on Tuesday in an attempt to halt cross-border rocket fire by militant groups.

Around 715 rockets have hit Israel, while another 160 were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defence system, the army said.

No Israelis have been killed since the start of the operation.

This morning, the army said it had shot down a drone that had come from Gaza.

This morning, the army said it had shot down a drone that had come from Gaza.

Hamas said its armed wing had sent several drones to carry out “special missions” deep inside Israel – a development which, if confirmed, would mark a step up in the sophistication of its arsenal.

Ban Ki-moon urges against ground offensive

Meanwhile, UN chief Ban Ki-moon said “too many” Palestinian civilians have been killed.

He urged Israel to scrap plans for a potentially devastating ground offensive and repeated his call for a ceasefire.

“The situation in Gaza, with at least 170 Palestinians killed and no Israeli casualties, appears to be worsening,” Mr Ban said.

Earlier, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would ask Mr Ban to “put the state of Palestine under the UN international protection system” in order to address the violence in Gaza.

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