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‘Operation Protective Edge’ worst offensive since 2012

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Gaza death toll expected to rise as Israel continues operation

Israel has carried out sustained airstrikes on Gaza over the past week. (Photo Public Domain)

Israel has carried out sustained airstrikes on Gaza over the past week.
(Photo Public Domain)

The total death toll in Gaza rose to 43 Wednesday, including seniors and children, according to a Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson, with over 350 people injured.

Dr Hani Al-Basoos, Professor of Political Science at the Islamic University of Gaza, said the situation in Gaza “is only becoming more difficult”, with most victims and targets civilians.

According to the campaign Defence for Children International Palestine, at least seven Palestinian children have been killed by the Israeli airstrikes.

On Tuesday night, the Israeli military hit 160 sites in Gaza, according to Arab media spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, Avachav Adraee.

“Fifty homes belonging to activists, mostly members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have been completely destroyed, and hundreds have been partially destroyed,” Al-Basoos said.

On Tuesday, two entire families were killed by Israeli airstrikes which targeted their homes without notice, Al-Basoos confirmed.

The Israeli military will often call people to give them a 10 minute notice before they strike, Al-Basoos said.

The Israeli military has dubbed the offensive “Operation Protective Edge”, with Gaza residents calling it the worst series of Israeli attacks on the Strip since 2012.

The European Union released a statement on the rocket fire from Gaza and ongoing “retaliation” operations of the IDF. It called on both sides to achieve immediate ceasefire and condemned rockets fired from Gaza into Southern Israel.

“The EU strongly condemns the indiscriminate fire into Israel by militant groups in the Gaza Strip,” the statement read, “The EU deplores the growing number of civilian casualties, reportedly among them children, caused by Israeli retaliatory fire.”

Rockets fired from Gaza have been targeting Tel Aviv, IDF spokesperson said.

Al-Basoos added that the “Palestinian factions are doing their best to defend the people of Gaza.”

He expects that the situation will only get worse in the next few hours and days. “They [Israel] will launch more airstrikes, there will be no negotiations and no ceasefire,” Al-Basoos said.

The spokesperson for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned and expressed “extreme concern” over the escalation of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza on Tuesday.

Egypt declared an emergency state on the Rafah border crossing with Gaza, Aswat Masriya reported.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt called for the “immediate and absolute abandonment of violence on both sides…to avoid more civilian losses.”

The Egyptian Presidency also released a statement saying Egypt is currently making “intensive calls” to all parties concerned with the Palestinian people, Aswat Masriya reported.

Presidential spokesman Ihab Badawi said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi made a phone call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. They discussed the deterioration of events on the ground as well as other updates on Palestine.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked that both the Israeli and Palestinian sides “adhere to the truce brokered by Egypt in 2012.”

“The political factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in Gaza want a decent life for their population,” Al-Basoos said, “They don’t want a short ceasefire then going back to a blockade and a siege on Gaza.”

Israel must first stop its aggression, end the siege, end its assassination attempts, only then Hamas could talk about a ceasefire, he added.

“The people of Gaza cannot rely on anyone,” a young Gaza resident said as he commented on his expectations from Egypt.

Despite its denunciation of Israeli raids on Gaza, Egypt maintains its closure of the Rafah crossing, intensifying the Gaza siege. Since 3 July, the Egyptian military closed the Rafah border crossing, destroying hundreds of tunnels connecting Gaza and Egypt.

Al-Basoos added he would like to see some focus on the humanitarian side of the situation in Gaza rather than just the political.

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