Nineteen Palestinians were killed in the deadliest day in the Gaza Strip for months, as Israel stepped up its latest offensive in the territory with multiple air strikes.
Eight Palestinians were killed in after-dark aerial attacks following violence yesterday in which 11 other people, including two women, were killed by Israeli fire, bringing the total Palestinian death toll to 35 in just three days.
Faced with the bloodshed, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas renewed calls on the international community to intervene to stop the bloodshed, as both Britain and France moved to express concern over the escalating troubles.
Of the eight killed in night-time air strikes, at least five were armed men, including one from the military wing of the governing Islamist movement Hamas, killed in raids over the towns of Beit Hanun, Beit Lahiya, Jabaliya and Rafah.
Two rescue workers also died in a strike in Jabaliya, on the third day of Operation Autumn Clouds, coming on top of four months of Israeli military operations in Gaza since a soldier was captured in late June.
A military spokesman confirmed at least five different air strikes throughout the Gaza Strip since 8:40 pm (0010 IST today), targeting suspected militants who were planting explosives or behind rocket attacks on Israel.
"I know we hit out targets," the spokesman told AFP, listing them as two gunmen planting explosives around Beit Hanun, a cell of rocket launchers and five suspected Hamas members involved in rocket attacks.