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New Israeli strikes raise Gaza toll above 200

  • AFP, Gaza City
  • Updated: Jul 16, 2014 13:56 IST

New Israeli air and tank strikes in Gaza early Wednesday killed several people, medics said, bringing the death toll from Israel's operation in the besieged Palestinian territory to 204.

A strike on a house in the southern city of Rafah killed two men, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP, and a separate raid killed a young man who witnesses said was an Islamic Jihad militant.

Another Rafah strike shortly afterwards left one man dead, Qudra said, while a raid on the home of Mohammed al-Arjani in the southern city of Khan Yunis killed his son Abdullah, 19.

Read: Israel targets top Hamas leader as truce collapses

About an hour later, tank fire from inside Israel hit the eastern part of Khan Yunis, killing one person, Qudra said, later pronouncing the death of another man there, 33-year-old Mahmud Abu Dakka.

Some of the first raids on Wednesday morning targeted homes of senior Hamas officials, including Mahmud al-Zahar, but there were no reports of casualties in those strikes.

It was the ninth day of Israel's Operation Protective Edge, which aims to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza militants.

Since July 8, militants have fired nearly 1,000 rockets and mortars into the Jewish state, and Israel has carried out around 1,500 strikes against targets inside the Gaza Strip, according to the army.

Read: A deafening silence from the world as Israel pounds Gaza

Tuesday saw Israel's first fatality, when a man died from a rocket attack near the Erez border crossing.

Four Israelis have been seriously injured by rocket fire, and Israel's air strikes have wounded more than 1,500 Palestinians.

International efforts towards a ceasefire collapsed Tuesday, as Hamas rejected an Egypt-proposed truce, and Israel resumed its bombing raids several hours later after continued rocket fire.

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