Gaza toll rises over 1,270 on day 23 of Israeli assault

GAZA CITY: Israeli strikes across Gaza on Wednesday, killing Forty peopleincluding 16 killed when Israeli shells targeted a UN school. With the latest attacks, the death toll in Palestine over the last 23 days has crossed 1280.

According to Ashraf Al-Qudra an emergency services spokesman, Six members of the same family including three children were killed when an Israeli shell targeted the Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza Citiy.

The deadliest strike was at a UN-run school in Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, with two shells hitting classrooms where dozens of Palestinians were sheltering, UN officials and an AFP correspondent said.
An official from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees put the toll at 16 dead, although there was no immediate breakdown of the victims´ identities.

At least six children were killed in the morning, among them an 11-year-old disabled girl who died in the strike targeting Gaza City, and a 16-year-old girl killed in a strike on central Gaza.

In the southern city of Khan Yunis, a single strike killed nine members of the same family, including one child, Qudra said. Seven other people died in various attacks across the Gaza Strip as Israeli ground troops made a “significant advance” into the tiny coastal territory which is home to 1.7 million people.

So far, more than 1,270 people have been killed and more than 7,100 wounded since the start of the Israeli offensive, which began with an intensive air campaign on July 8 and expanded when Israel sent ground troops into the Gaza periphery on July 17.

Figures released at 1200 GMT on Tuesday by the UN humanitarian agency OCHA give a figure of 1,118 dead, including at least 827 civilians, among them 243 children. Of the 6,233 injured, 1,949 were children, it said.

OCHA also said up to 240,000 Palestinians had been internally displaced by the ongoing fighting, with the UN agency for refugees saying over 200,000 of them had taken refuge in 85 of its shelters. The rest were staying with relatives or friends.

On the Israeli side, the conflict has also cost the lives of 53 soldiers, all of whom were killed since the ground operation began, as well as two civilians and a Thai agricultural worker who were killed by rocket fire.