Israel pursues Gaza air strikes as Palestinians say death toll tops 200

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Israel pursues Gaza air strikes as Palestinians say death toll tops 200

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Day Nine of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge – and Gaza is again under fire.

At least seven Palestinians were killed early on Wednesday according to local officials.

In Gaza City, the home of top Hamas political leader Mahmoud Zahar was destroyed. He is believed to be in hiding elsewhere.

Palestinians say the death toll in the enclave has now topped 200.

Dropping leaflets from the sky, Israel has warned thousands in northern and eastern Gaza to leave their homes as it prepares to intensify its military campaign.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had “no choice” but to do so after Hamas spurned an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire on Tuesday, continuing to fire rockets on Israel which respected the truce for six hours.

“The situation is miserable,” said one Gazan woman. “The children are afraid. I’m so afraid. I can’t even speak.”

Equally exasperated at the plight of his people, a man said:
“We have all gone mad. All night they cry, the babies, the women, all of them. We can’t deal with this horrible situation anymore. For God’s sake, end this conflict. We are caught between the Jews and the Arabs. We don’t know what to do.”

Air raid sirens again rang out in Tel Aviv on Wednesday as rocket fire from Gaza persists.

Israel’s Iron Dome has shot down most projectiles liable to hit towns and cities, but the country is now mourning its first fatality in this conflict, fuelling calls from some for a ground offensive in Gaza.