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Friday, July 11

Gaza death toll hits 100 as Israel continues it's assault
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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Thirteen Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes since midnight on Thursday, Gaza's Ministry of Health said, bringing the death toll in Israel's military assault to 102.

The latest airstrike in Jabaliya killed an elderly man, Muhammad Rabee Abu Hmeidan, medics said.

An airstrike on a car in central Gaza killed Hamas municipality employees Mazen Aslan and Shahraman Abu Kas, and a five-year-old boy, Shahd al-Qarnawi, later died from injuries sustained in the blast.

Earlier, five Palestinians were killed and 15 injured in Rafah after the Israeli air force targeted the Ghannam family home.

Ghaliya Dib Jaber Ghannam, 7, Wissam Abdulraziq Hassan Ghannam, 23, Mahmoud Abduloraziq Hassan Ghannam, 26, Kifah Shihada Dib Ghannam, 20, and Muhammad Munir Ashur, 25, were identified as those killed.

The home was hit without warning and the impact of the airstrike completely destroyed the building and several surrounding properties.

Toddler Nour Abu al-Najdah was also killed in Rafah after being injured by shrapnel from an airstrike, while Raed Abu Hani, 50, was killed in eastern Rafah.

Adnan al-Ashhab, 40, died from injuries sustained in an airstrike near the al-Nuseirat refugee camp.

In Gaza City, Israeli warplanes targeted a fifth-floor apartment building, killing Anas Abu al-Kas.

According to Gaza's Ministry of Health, over 100 Palestinians have been killed and at least 600 injured in Israel's assault on the besieged coastal enclave.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs published an emergency report documenting that 58 Palestinian civilians, including 11 women and 21 children, have been killed as of 3 p.m. Thursday during Israel's assault.

Over 300 homes have been totally destroyed or severely damaged and around 2,000 Gazans have been made homeless, OCHA added.

US President Barack Obama said he was concerned the fighting could escalate and "called for all sides to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians", the White House said.
Relatives and friends of the al-Hajj family gather in a mosque to
pray over the bodies of eight family members during their funeral
in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 10, 2014
(AFP/Said Khatib)

"The United States remains prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement."

Appeals for an immediate truce also came from UN chief Ban Ki-moon at an emergency meeting Thursday of the Security Council, saying a ceasefire was "more urgent than ever".

Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a similar plea in a phone call to Netanyahu, urging an immediate end to the bloodshed and expressing concern over civilian casualties.

Hamas has been striking deep inside Israel over the past 48 hours, with rockets crashing down near Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and even as far away as Hadera, 116 kilometers to the north.

Senior Hamas member and the movement's former Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh ruled out any backing down by the group.

"The enemy (Israel) is the one that started this aggression and it must stop, because we are (simply) defending ourselves," Haniyeh said in a statement early Friday.

1090 sites bombed

Since the start of the operation, the Israeli military's biggest offensive on Gaza since November 2012, its forces have hit over 1090 sites in Gaza.

In the same period, Gaza militants fired 407 mortars and rockets that struck Israel, while another 118 rockets were intercepted, an army spokeswoman said Friday.

Israel has approved the call-up of 40,000 reservists.

In a news conference, Hamas' armed wing the al-Qassam Brigades issued a veiled threat to kidnap soldiers, saying a "ground war will be a chance to free Palestinian prisoners."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a separate statement that Israel would "pay the price for its crimes," saying an Israeli ground assault would be a mistake, calling Israeli troops "cowards."

AFP contributed to this report
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