The death toll from Israel's military offensive on the Gaza Strip — dubbed “Operation Protective Edge" — is rapidly rising as it enters its third day with no sign of letting up. Israeli airstrikes killed at least 33 Palestinians overnight between Wednesday and Thursday, bringing the total death toll to more than 80 Palestinians, according to Palestinian medical reports. Most of those killed were civilians.
In the single deadliest attack since the offensive began Tuesday, an Israeli airstrike killed eight members of a family, five of whom were children, early Thursday morning.
An additional 17 Palestinians were killed in Khan Younis in two separate attacks in a café and home late Wednesday night. Israeli airstrikes reportedly struck a group of people in the café while they were watching yesterday's World Cup match.
Israel says the assault is in response to hundreds of rockets the militant group Hamas has launched over the border into Israel in recent weeks, some reaching as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Almost all of these rockets have been intercepted by Israel, and no causalities have been reported.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called a Security Council meeting Thursday morning to discuss a potential ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, however, that a cease-fire is not an option; he has ordered an increase in airstrikes on the Gaza Strip in addition to making preparations for a potential ground invasion by the Israeli military.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the offensive on Wednesday, saying, “This war is not against Hamas… it is against the Palestinian people.”
All photos by Momen Faiz.
Gaza City was bombed Wednesday afternoon and throughout the evening. Members of the Naser and Debabeche families inspect the remains of their homes.
Defense for Children International Palestine, an independent child rights organization, reported that Israeli airstrikes killed 14 children below the age of 15 between Tuesday and Wednesday. Here, Palestinian children are treated in the intensive care unit of Shifa Hospital in central Gaza.
Wednesday night, an airstrike hit a local Palestinian press car, killing the driver, Hamed Shehab, who was working for a local media station. The car bore a large insignia identifying the occupants as press.
The family of a man killed Wednesday morning held a funeral in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.