GAZA, July 30 (RIA Novosti) - At least 43 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip overnight into Wednesday morning, raising the total number of Palestinians killed since the start of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge to 1,194.
Twenty were killed in a UN school shelling, as Israel launched dozens of airstrikes across the region, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Kidra said.
Eight people, including five members of the same family in Jebalya, were killed in other strikes that Israel claims targeted Islamist militants at dozens of locations across the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli assault intensified after 10 soldiers were killed in Palestinian cross-border attacks on Monday. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of a long conflict ahead.
A week ago Israel shelled another UN school in Beit Hanoun that sheltered refugees, killing 17 people and injuring 150.
According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), there are currently 82 designated emergency shelters in Gaza.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights noted Tuesday evening that the humanitarian situation worsened seriously in the Gaza Strip over the past couple of days, as Israeli military attacks “targeting vital civilian facilities and homes, and ordering further people to evacuate to city centers while bombarding these centers and UN shelters.”
“During the past two days Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights has monitoring increasing attacks on houses with their residents inside them, wiping our more families. Attacks around the Shifa hospital, west of Gaza City, where direct attacks on homes and civilian government structures occurred,” Al Mezan deplored, adding that its monitoring indicates that none of the hundreds of houses or hospitals attacked by the Israel housed weapons or were used for military purposes.
According to Al Mezan at least 1,194 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge and ground invasion into the Gaza Strip, including 282 children and 147 women. Seventy-nine percent of the casualties were civilians. Moreover, at least 4,960 were injured during the same period.
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.