At least 20 people have been killed in Gaza as Israeli army shelling intensified on the second day of a ground offensive it says is aimed at destroying Hamas’ military wing.
From Gaza, Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker reported of “relentless and constant thuds” of tank fire across the eastern border of Gaza yesterday, “with only around 10 seconds between each”.
She added that the tanks were concentrated along the eastern Gaza, bordering Israel and that there was mass civilian casualties in that area.
Heavy Israeli artillery attacks were reported by an Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent across other areas of the enclave. The Gaza health ministry said the death toll over 12 days now stands at 319. That figure includes 72 children, 24 women and 18 senior citizens, and that more than 2 290 people have been injured.
One Israeli civilian and one Israeli soldier have been killed since the campaign started on July 8, and several others wounded. The army said that the soldier was killed by friendly fire.
The ground offensive is a new phase in Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” which the military said would destroy tunnels used by Hamas.
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said the ground operation was necessary to deal with the tunnels, but admitted there was “no guarantee of 100 percent success.” — Al Jazeera-Agencies.
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