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15 Pictures Of Gaza Under Attack As Israel Responds To Militant Rockets (LIVE UPDATES)

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UPDATE: 26 Images Of Gaza In Ruins As Israeli Military 'Makes Hamas Pay' For Rocket Strikes

Israel has continued its devastating offensive against the Gaza Strip, killing at least 14 people, according to AP, as it targets Hamas sites, which the IDF claim is responsible for firing rockets into Israel. The fighting, the most intensive since late 2012, saw Hamas militants fire rockets into Israel, acts that have led to a mobilisation of thousands along the Gaza border as Israel prepares for a ground invasion of Palestine.

Reported by AP, Israel has attacked more than 400 sites in Gaza in the past two days, leading to at least 32 deaths. Hamas militants have fired around 160 rockets into Israeli territory, one reaching the city of Hadera more than 60 miles from Gaza. Air raid sirens have sounded in Tel Aviv, with the IDF claiming inbound missiles were destroyed before they reached the city.

"The organisation is going to pay for its aggression," said Israeli spokesperson Peter Lerner, "It is literally holding us hostage with its rockets." He added that the offensive was designed to take a "substantial toll" of Hamas and that "the country is not willing for this situation to continue".

Speaking on Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: "I have been in contact with the regional and international parties in the last few days, particularly Hamas leaders in Gaza, and everyone I've talked to expressed his willingness to restore the truce and stop the escalation," adding that the Israeli actions against Gaza was "orchestrated and brutal aggression."

On Wednesday, the BBC found itself in the middle of an information war after it ran a video claiming images shared across social media purportedly showing death and destruction caused by Israel in Gaza were fake. The broadcaster was subsequently accused of conspiring with the Jewish state to underplay the damage its military is inflicting.

  • EPA
    Smoke rises after an airstrike by Israeli forces in the south of Gaza City, 09 July 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An Israeli missile hits smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014.
  • EPA
    Smoke rises after an airstrike by Israeli forces in the south of Gaza City, 09 July 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Israeli missiles hit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An Israeli missile hits smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Smoke trails are seen after missiles were fired by Palestinian militants from Gaza City towards southern Israel, Wednesday, July 9, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Smoke and debris rise after an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip seen from the Israeli side of the Israel Gaza Border, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Since the Gaza offensive began Tuesday, Israel has attacked more than 400 sites in Gaza, killing at least 32 people in a military operation it says is aimed at quenching rocket fire against Israel. Only four rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel overnight, the army said. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    An Israeli missile hits an area in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The Israeli army on Wednesday intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, striking Hamas sites and killing more than a dozen of people on the second day of a military operation it says is aimed at quenching rocket fire against Israel. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A Palestinian salvages what he can from a house after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Palestinian children walk in the rubble of a destroyed house a day after an Israeli strike, in the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A Palestinian boy plays in the rubble of a destroyed house the day after an Israeli strike in the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The Israeli army on Wednesday intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, striking Hamas sites and killing more than a dozen people on the second day of a military operation it says is aimed at quenching rocket fire against Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Palestinians check a destroyed house a day after an Israeli strike late Tuesday, in the town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The Israeli army on Wednesday intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, striking Hamas sites and killing more than a dozen people on the second day of a military operation it says is aimed at quenching rocket fire against Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A fireball rises following an Israeli missile strike on the Rafah refugee camp in southern Gaza Strip, early Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The Israeli army on Wednesday intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, striking Hamas sites and killing at least 11 people on the second day of a military operation it says is aimed at quenching rocket fire against Israel. Only four rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel overnight, the army said. (AP Photo)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    A Palestinian removes rubble near a damaged building belonging to a senior Hamas official following an Israeli missile strike in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The Israeli army on Wednesday intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, striking Hamas sites and killing at least 11 people on the second day of a military operation it says is aimed at quenching rocket fire against Israel. Only four rockets were fired from Gaza toward Israel overnight, the army said. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Palestinian mourners carry bodies of the five members of the Hamad family who were killed in an Israeli missile strike late Tuesday, in town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The Israeli army on Wednesday intensified its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, striking Hamas sites and killing more than a dozen of people on the second day of a military operation it says is aimed at quenching rocket fire against Israel. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
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CBC News correspondent Derek Stoffel reports:

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Israeli forces detained 150 Palestinians in south Gaza on Wednesday, an army spokeswoman told Israeli newspaper The Times of Israel. After questioning, 70 Palestinians were taken to Israeli intelligence facilities on suspicion of carrying out terror attacks, and the remainder released, according to the military.

Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz posted a photo on his official Facebook account of detainees stripped and kneeling in the sand.

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Agence France Presse reports that French President Francois Hollande announced an 11 million euro (.8 million) aid package to Gaza on Thursday. Eight million euros are for the Palestinian Authority and the rest for UN agencies and non-governmental organizations in Gaza, the news agency said.

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Chris Gunness, the spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), commented on the shelling of a UN facility in Gaza on his Twitter account:

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Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond spoke with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday morning. He "stressed the need for a rapid conclusion to [Israel's] ground operation in Gaza" and said Israel should "do everything they can to avoid civilian casualties."

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The Associated Press has more details on the attack on the UNRWA school in Gaza. According to the news service, seven people died in the strike. Hamas' al-Aqsa TV earlier put the death toll at 10.

From the AP:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza health officials say at least seven people were killed when Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the northern Gaza Strip during clashes with Palestinian militants.

Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra says the seven were among hundreds of people seeking shelter in the school from heavy fighting in the area. At least 150 people were injured.

The Palestinian Red Crescent confirmed that seven people were killed by tank shells at the school in the northern town of Beit Hanoun.

Thursday's incident was the fourth time a U.N. facility has been hit in fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamic militant group Hamas.

UNRWA, the Palestinian refugee agency, has said it has found militant rockets inside two vacant schools.

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Reuters reports that an Israeli cabinet minister has warned that Israel is not likely to pull its troops out of Gaza soon.

More from Reuters:

"I do not see a ceasefire in the coming days where the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) leave," Science Minister Yaakov Peri, a former security chief, told the Walla news site, adding that troops needed more time to complete their mission of destroying cross-border tunnels used by Gaza guerrillas.

"Even if there is a humanitarian truce, we would continue tackling the tunnels," he said. "I can say authoritatively that two or three days will not be enough to finish tackling the tunnels."

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At least 10 people were killed and dozens injured when Israeli tanks hit an UNRWA school in Beith Hanoun, al-Aqsa TV reported on Thursday.

NBC's Richard Engel tweets:

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The FAA lifted its flight restrictions on U.S. commercial flights traveling in and out of Israel's Ben Gurion Airport late Wednesday night.

The ban was instituted on July 22 after a rocket strike landed about a mile fromthe airport.

FMI: Click here.

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07/23/2014 11:22 PM EDT
Death Toll In Gaza Tops 700

After 17 days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian forces, the death toll topped 700 in Gaza, with a ceasefire still evading world leaders.

Reuters reports:

The death toll in Gaza topped 700 on Thursday as Israeli tank fire before dawn killed 16 people in the Hamas-dominated coastal territory, including six members of the same family, Palestinian health officials said.

Read Reuters report here.

-- Andrew Hart

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Rockets found at a school run by the United Nations in Gaza have gone missing, according to the the U.N. secretary-general.

Israel has accused Hamas of storing weaponry in civilian locations, and last week a UN organization claimed to have found about 20 rockets hidden in one of the UN's schools.

On announcing the rockets disappearance, Ban Ki-moon called for a review of such incidents which it holds has happened at least two times in the current conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants.

A statement from Ban Ki-moon said "Those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets, and endangering the lives of innocent children."

Read the AP report here.

-- Andrew Hart

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Speaking to CNN from Jerusalem, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg explained his trip to the state currently in conflict with Palestinian militants as an attempt “to show support for Israel's right to defend itself," and to argue that the FAA ban on flights to Tel Aviv was a mistake. "If you don't feel safe here, I don't know where you would feel safe," Bloomberg said.

Watch the interview from CNN below.


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Buzzfeed's Rosie Gray reports:

The most powerful pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington has come out against a Federal Aviation Administration ban on U.S. airlines flying to Israel after a rocket landed near Ben Gurion International Airport, saying that the ban “sends the entirely wrong message.”

In a statement released on Wednesday, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee acknowledges that the FAA must protect air travelers’ safety but says it is “concerned” by the FAA’s decision to ban flights to Israel.

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Relatives and friends of Natan Cohen, a 23-year-old Israeli army captain who was killed in the Gaza Strip, mourn during his funeral on July 23, 2014, in the central town of Modiin, Israel. (GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)

israel
Relatives and friends of Natan Cohen mourn during his funeral on July 23, 2014, in the central town of Modiin, Israel. (GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)

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07/23/2014 4:01 PM EDT
The Death Toll In Gaza By Region

Wall Street Journal Middle East correspondent Tamer El-Ghobashy reports:

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Gaza's Health Ministry says the Palestinian death toll has risen to 693. More than 4,500 Palestinians have been injured.

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The ITAR-TASS news agency reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke over the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday. Putin "reiterated his readiness to facilitate mediatory efforts and the implementation of peace initiatives, including within the UN framework."

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After a Twitter account that appears to belong to Montreuil-Juigné Deputy Mayor Jacques Renaud compared a dead child to halal meat Wednesday, the social network erupted with sharp criticism of the political figure's callous remark.

Read the full story on the Huffington Post here.

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German astronaut Alexander Gerst tweets a photo from the International Space Station showing explosions in Gaza and Israel.

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