Gaza toll rises over 1,050 on day 20 of Israeli assault

GAZA - Renewed Israeli raids on Gaza, which followed a 24-hour lull, killed nine Palestinians on Sunday, raising the overall toll from the 20-day operation to more than 1,050.

Following a 24-hour period in which Israel held its fire, the strikes resumed at 0700 GMT on Sunday with an initial three people killed by shelling, two of them in central Gaza and a third near Khan Yunis in the south, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

Six more were killed in the following few hours, including an elderly Christian woman who was killed in an air strike on western Gaza City, which also seriously wounded her son, Qudra said. Their deaths raised the total toll since July 8 to more than 1,050 Palestinians, while another 6,000 have been injured.

Also on Sunday, the army said an Israeli soldier had been killed late Saturday by mortar fire from Gaza shortly after Hamas rejected appeals to extend a 12-hour truce which had been respected by both sides during the day.

His death, along with those of two other soldiers who succumbed to injuries sustained earlier in the week, raised to 43 the number of troops killed since the army began a major ground operation on July 17. Another two Israeli civilians and a Thai agricultural worker have been killed by rocket fire.

Since Israel began Operation Protective Edge on July 8, the army says it has attacked 3,747 targets in Gaza, and that Hamas group has fired 2,485 rockets at the Jewish state, with around 1,945 striking its territory, and 488 intercepted by its missile defence system, Iron Dome.

Since midnight (2100 GMT), Hamas group have fired 19 rockets which struck Israel with another two intercepted, a military spokeswoman said.

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Aaj Kal