GAZA CITY/CAIRO: Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip killed 22 people on Saturday, including two handicapped women in a care facility in the north of the coastal enclave, medics said.
The violence brought the toll on the fifth day of the conflict to 127, with nearly 950 people wounded, according to Gaza emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.
In the latest strike, six men were killed in the Sheikh Radwan district of western Gaza City, Qudra said.
Aged from 21 to 58, they were sitting outside homes in the area when the strike hit, witnesses said.
Neighbours told AFP that two nephews of former Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya were among those killed in the strike, naming them as Nidal and Alaa al-Malash.
Their deaths brought Saturday’s toll to 22, including two women killed in a strike that hit a charitable association housing the disabled in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.
The women, Suha Abu Saada and Ola Washahi, both had severe mental and physical handicaps, the association’s director Jamila Alaywa said.
Four others were wounded in the attack - three residents and a helper, she said.
Another three people were killed in eastern Gaza City, and three in an attack on the western side of town.
Earlier, Qudra announced the deaths of eight other Palestinians, including a man who died of wounds and five people who were killed in Gaza’s northern Jabaliya, plus two more farther south in Deir el-Balah.
Local officials said the day’s raids hit targets that included a bank, two mosques and the houses of Hamas officials.
Israel’s military said at least one of the mosques was being used to store weapons.
Israel began Operation Protective Edge on Tuesday in an attempt to halt cross-border rocket fire. Gaza militants have fired approximately 525 mortar rounds and rockets that struck Israel, while another 138 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system, the army said on Saturday.
It is the deadliest violence since November 2012, with a growing number of rockets fired at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and even as far north as Hadera, 116 kilometres (72 miles) away.
No Israelis have been killed.
One Israeli soldier was severely wounded in a mortar attack Thursday, and another man very seriously injured when a rocket hit a petrol station in the southern port city of Ashdod on Friday.
Two soldiers were lightly wounded along the border with Gaza when Palestinians fired an anti-tank missile.
And an elderly woman was slightly injured when a rocket hit her home in the southern city of Beersheva. Israel has authorised the call-up of 40,000 reservist troops, and threatened to escalate to a ground operation. afp
Meanwhile, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned Saturday that escalating the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza would cost more “innocent lives,” as the death toll climbed to 127 Palestinians.
Sisi’s spokesman said the government was in touch with both sides after the president met Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair in Cairo.
“The president warned of the dangers of military escalation, and the casualties it would cause among innocent civilians,” the spokesman said in a statement. Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip killed 22 people Saturday, bringing to 127 the toll on the fifth day of violence, medics said. The air strikes are in response to Hamas rocket fire into Israel, which have not caused any deaths.
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