MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) - At least 1,032 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's Operation Protective Edge and ground invasion into the Gaza Strip, including 219 children and 117 women, a nongovernmental organization based in the Gaza Strip, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, said in its most recent report.
“Al Mezan can confirm that as of 12 p.m. [09:00 GMT] today, Sunday 27 July 2014, at least 1,032 Palestinians have been killed by the IOF [Israeli occupation forces]; including 219 children and 117 women,” said the report published Sunday on the organization’s website.
Al Mezan's initial investigation suggests 800 of the victims were civilians, and that at least 481 were killed inside their homes – 156 children and 98 women; two women with disability died as a result of an attack on a rehabilitation center for people with severe and complex impairments; 126 people were killed in the vicinity of their houses, many of whom were trying to flee from their homes that were being attacked by IOF.
Moreover, Israel’s operation left 4,382 people wounded, including 1,220 children and 879 women. Israel’s ground assault also destroyed or damaged 3,998 houses.
“The numbers of casualties and houses are not final, but only those verified by Al Mezan thus far. They are expected to rise as the verification of cases is on-going. IOF attacks also damaged or destroyed 61 schools, 88 mosques, one ambulance center, 21 NGO offices, 46 fishing boats and 8 hospitals,” the organization said in its report.
Al Mezan also noted that the 12-hour truce on Saturday allowed “medical and rescue teams to recover dozens of bodies from areas across the Gaza Strip of people who had been killed or had been injured and without evacuation had succumbed to their injuries.”
The situation in the Gaza Strip spun out of control over the past weekend, as fighting resumed between Palestine’s rebels from the Hamas movement and Israel after what seemed to be a promising 12-hour ceasefire on Saturday.
Israel decided late Saturday to extend the ceasefire until the end of Sunday at the UN's request. The truce was called off, however, after the Palestinian militants refused to maintain the truce demanding withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and fired rockets at Israel.
Hamas was reported to have agreed to a new 24-hour ceasefire with the Israeli Army until 2:00 p.m. local time (11:00 GMT) on Monday, but Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN hours later that Hamas violated its own ceasefire.
Late Sunday the UN Security Council gathered for an emergency session to discuss the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip. After the session, Eugene-Richard Gasana, Rwanda's UN ambassador and the Council’s president for July, issued a statement calling for “an immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire, allowing for the delivery of urgently needed assistance, and they urged all parties to accept and fully implement the humanitarian ceasefire into the Eid period and beyond.”
Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge to put an end to rocket fire from Gaza and undermining the Hamas movement, which controls the region, on July 8. On July 17, the Israeli Army switched to a ground assault, largely aimed at locating and destroying underground tunnels dug by militants to sneak into Israel and transport weapons.