GAZA CITY/NEW YORK - Israel continued to unleash terror on Palestinians on Eid days bringing the death toll to 1,400 with at least 10 more people killed in fresh airstrikes on central and southern Gaza on Thursday on day 24 of the conflict.
Another three people, including a local journalist, died of injuries sustained in earlier attacks, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
Six people were killed in two separate raids on the southern city of Khan Yunis, including a woman, while two more people died in a strike on Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.
Another two people, including a woman, were killed in two separate incidents in the southern city of Rafah.
In a separate incident, 15 Palestinians sheltering in a UN school in Jabaliya refugee camp in the north were injured in an air strike on a neighbouring mosque. Two were in a serious condition.
The raid came a day after two tank shells slammed into the school, killing 16 people in an attack denounced as “reprehensible” by UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
So far, more than 1,400 people have been killed and more than 7,700 wounded since the start of the Israeli offensive, which began with an intensive air campaign on July 8 and expanded when Israel sent ground troops into the Gaza periphery on July 17.
Figures released at 1200 GMT on Wednesday by the UN humanitarian agency OCHA give a figure of 1,263 dead, saying 852 of them — or two-thirds were civilians. Among the dead were 249 children and 135 women.
Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have died in the fighting, and cross-border rocket fire has killed two Israeli civilians and a Thai migrant worker inside Israel.
Meanwhile, Israel said Thursday it would not pull troops from Gaza until they finish destroying a network of cross-border tunnels, despite sharp United Nations criticism over the Palestinian civilian death toll.
“Until now, we have destroyed dozens of terror tunnels and we are determined to finish this mission — with or without a ceasefire,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv.
Washington also said it had agreed to restock Israel’s dwindling ammunition supplies, despite increasing international concern over the death toll in Gaza, where more than 1,400 people have been killed in 24 days of violence.
Following the shelling of a UN school in northern Gaza on Wednesday which killed 16, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay slammed Israel for attacking homes, schools and hospitals, accusing it of “deliberate defiance” of international law.
“None of this appears to me to be accidental,” she told reporters.
Despite rising international calls for a halt to the bloodshed, the Israeli security cabinet decided Wednesday to press on with the Gaza operation just hours after troops had made a significant advance into the narrow enclave.
Despite a heavy death toll in Gaza on Wednesday when 111 Palestinians were killed, including 17 who died in a strike on a crowded market place and another 16 at the UN school, Washington said it had restocked the army’s ammunition.
After a UN-run school sheltering more than 3,000 Palestinians was shelled by Israeli military forces early Wednesday, UN official Chris Gunness could not contain his grief while on camera with Al-Jazeera Arabic.
“The rights of Palestinians, and even their children, are wholesale denied... and it’s appalling,” Gunness, spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), told Al-Jazeera Arabic from Jerusalem.
The interviewer appears to thank him for appearing, upon which Gunness, a former BBC correspondent, breaks down and weeps.
In an official statement Wednesday, the UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Kranhenbuhl, wrote: “Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.”