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Gaza death toll continues to rise
29 Jul 2014 22:10
More than 100 Palestinians were killed today after Israel intensified its bombardment of Gaza, bringing the number of Palestinians killed to over 1,200.
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Israel stepped up its artillery fire overnight, especially in central Gaza's Bureij refugee camp, spreading in the afternoon to Jabaliya in the north and Rafah in the south.
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On the Israeli side, 53 soldiers have been killed in the fighting, as well as two Israeli civilians and a Thai agricultural worker who was killed in southern Israel.
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Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked for fresh US help in trying to broker a ceasefire in Gaza, US Secretary of State John Kerry said.
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"Last night we talked, and the prime minister talked to me about an idea and a possibility of a ceasefire. He raised it with me, as he has consistently," Mr Kerry said.
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He added that Mr Netanyahu had said he "would embrace a ceasefire that permits Israel to protect itself against the tunnels and obviously not be disadvantaged for the great sacrifice they have made thus far".
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Mr Netanyahu said yesterday that his country needs to be prepared for a long conflict in the Palestinian enclave.
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Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, said any truce with Israel must include a stop to Israeli "aggression" and a lifting of its Gaza blockade.
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"We don't accept any condition of ceasefire," Mohammed Deif said in an audio address carried by Hamas radio and television.
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"There is no ceasefire without the stop of the aggression and the end of the siege."
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In Gaza, the only power plant supplying electricity to the region was knocked out of commission as part of attacks carried out by the Israeli military overnight.
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"Gaza's sole power plant has stopped working due to Israeli shelling last night, which damaged the steam generator and later hit the fuel tanks which set them on fire," said Fathi al-Sheikh Khalil, the deputy director of the energy authority in Gaza.
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The Israeli army said it had "targeted over 110 terror sites" in Gaza since midnight.
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