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"Over 100" Palestinians killed as Israel ramps up attacks on Gaza

Around 60 airstrikes have been carried out by Israeli forces today. The US says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked for fresh help brokering a ceasefire.

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise
Image: AP/Press Association Images

AN OFFICIAL IN Gaza has said that at least 100 Palestinians were killed in fresh Israeli airstrikes and shelling today.

It comes as the Palestinians maintain that factions are ready for a new truce in the fighting.

But the Israeli government has remained silent on the subject while continuing its bombardment.

Around 60 strikes have been carried out by IDF forces today, the BBC reports, as the Israeli government targets sites it says are associated with Hamas.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked for fresh help from America in trying to broker a ceasefire.

“Last night we talked, and the prime minister talked to me about an idea and a possibility of a ceasefire. He raised it with me, as he has consistently,” said Kerry.

The top US diplomat added that Netanyahu had said he “would embrace a ceasefire that permits Israel to protect itself against (Palestinian militants’) tunnels and obviously not be disadvantaged for the great sacrifice they have made thus far.”

There was no Israeli government comment.

Source: AP/Press Association Images... John Kerry

Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said after consultations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two main militant groups in Gaza, that there was “willingness for a ceasefire and humanitarian truce for 24 hours”.

A joint delegation headed by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas would travel to Cairo to take the next step, he added.

‘Unified stand’ 

“This is more proof that we have a unified Palestinian stand,” Abed Rabbo told reporters.

The delegation will head to Cairo under the PLO umbrella represented by president Mahmud Abbas.

Hamas said so far it had not agreed to any new truce and was waiting for Israel to show its hand first.

“When we have an Israeli commitment… on a humanitarian truce, we will look into it but we will never declare a truce from our side while the occupation keeps killing our children,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zukhri said on his Facebook page.

A series of ceasefires in recent days have failed to take hold, as both sides appeared more determined than ever to keep up the fighting.

The Israeli offensive, which began on July 8, has killed more than 1,190 Palestinians, mostly civilians according to the United Nations, and injured over 7,000.

Fifty-six lives have been lost on the Israeli side, all but three of them soldiers.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

A Palestinian from a damaged neighbouring apartment building inspects the damage of the offices of the Hamas movement’s Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, in Gaza City.

Last night, a deluge of bombs rained down on Gaza, after an uneasy truce to mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Shells fired from tanks struck Gaza’s biggest power plant bringing it grinding to a halt, and exacerbating already widespread blackouts, the electricity authority said.

And an air strike targeted the home of top Hamas leader Ismail Haniya in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp, officials said.

The raids came after Israel announced that five of its soldiers were killed in a ambush late yesterday after militants sneaked into southern Israel by a tunnel.

On the same day, mortar fire killed four Israeli soldiers near a southern kibbutz, the army said, while another soldier had been killed in action in southern Gaza.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Israeli forces’ flares light up the night sky of Gaza City.

The World Health Organisation now estimates that more than 215,000 people, or one Gazan in every eight, have fled their homes in the overcrowded territory.

Many have headed for already-cramped UN schools in the north, where children ran barefoot around a dirty school yard alongside stinking piles of rubbish.

The surge in violence drew increasingly urgent international demands for an end to hostilities.

“In the name of humanity, the violence must stop,” UN chief Ban Ki-moon said yesterday.

But the calls went unheeded, with Netanyahu warning it would be “a lengthy campaign” that would go on until troops destroyed cross-border tunnels used for staging attacks on Israel.

“Israeli citizens cannot live with the threat from rockets and from death tunnels — death from above and from below,” he said.

Tensions had risen sharply after a shell yesterday landed inside the Shifa hospital compound in Gaza City, followed by a blast at a children’s playground in the city’s Shati refugee camp, that killed 10, eight of them children.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

Palestinian relatives mourn in the morgue of Shifa hospital following yesterday’s explosion.

“We have not fired on the hospital or on Shati refugee camp,” Major Arye Shalicar told AFP, saying the army had footage showing militants firing at Israel but the missiles falling short inside Gaza.

With the Palestinian death toll soaring, Iran’s supreme leader accused Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza and called for the Muslim to arm Palestinian militants.

In Ireland, the majority of senators have said they will return to the Oireachtas to debate the ongoing crisis.

And in a separate development, the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign said over 300 creatives, actors and other performing artists had now signed a pledge to boycott Israel — including Stephen Rea, Donal Lunny and Damien Dempsey.

Reporting by AFP & AP, additional reporting by Daragh Brophy. 

Read: The Seanad is coming back on Thursday to discuss Gaza and Ukraine

Explainer: What is happening in Gaza?

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