828 Palestinians killed in Gaza as violence hits West Bank

Written by PTI | Jerusalem | Updated: Jul 26 2014, 20:04pm hrs
Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip today killed a top militant commander, two of his sons and a pregnant woman among others, taking the Palestinian toll to 828, as the 18-day conflict spread to the West Bank where largest anti-Israel protests in years turned violent.

A spokesman for the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza, Ashraf al-Qidra, confirmed the figures adding that over 5,240 people had also been injured in Israeli attacks since July 8.

Islamic Jihad senior leader Salah Hasanein and his sons, 12 and 15, were killed in the strike in the southern city of Rafah, Gaza emergency services officials said. Hasnin was the head of Islamic Jihad's spokesman division in Rafah.

Another raid killed a 23-year-old pregnant woman in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah after her house was hit. However, surgeons saved the life of the woman's unborn child.

Hamas' military wing claimed it fired three rockets targeting Israel's Ben Gurion International airport.

Meanwhile, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) announced that a solider serving in the Bahad 1 brigade was killed in battle early this morning in the north of Gaza Strip taking the death toll of Israeli soldiers to 33.

Two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker in Israel have also been killed in the conflict so far. Another soldier remains missing, but is presumed dead by the IDF.

Israeli forces were put on high alert for possible clashes in Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem during Friday prayers marking the final stretch of the month of Ramadan.

Meanwhile, the violence also spread to the West Bank with four Palestinian protesters being killed and several others injured in clashes with Israeli police in the last 24 hours.

Protests were also held in Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Jerusalem neighbourhoods.

One protester was killed today by Israeli soldiers near the southern city of Hebron, while Israeli settlers fired on a group of Palestinians, killing one person in Nablus.

Israeli offesive overnight killed 42 Palestinians, as international efforts for a ceasefire intensified after 17 Palestinians died and 200 others injured in an Israeli strike on a UN-run school in Hamas-ruled northern Gaza yesterday.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack, which came hours after the agency had warned that Israel's actions in the Gaza could constitute war crimes.

Ban today called for an immediate "humanitarian pause" lasting through the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr.

"On this, the last Friday of Ramadan, I call for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza and Israel. This pause would last through the Eid al-Fitr holiday period," Ban said in a statement.