Israel-Gaza conflict: Death toll tops 300 as IDF's ground offensive pushes deeper into Strip

Intensive tank fire in eastern Gaza is reported to have killed at least 20 people

Tanks and military units penetrated deeper into Gaza on Friday as the Israel Defence Forces' ground offensive entered its second day.

At least 20 people died and many more were injured as intensive tank fire across eastern Gaza ravaged buildings and led to mass civilian casualties in the area.

The latest figures reported by health officials in Gaza, now estimate the total number of dead to be 316, a rise more than 60 since the offensive first began.

IDF reports say that “40 Hamas terrorists” have been killed during the operation so far, with many of the underground tunnels used by the group destroyed.

Three Israeli soldiers were injured, including one seriously, in a gun battle in northern Gaza; while one more was injured after being caught by sniper fire on Saturday morning.

With the number of people to die as a result of conflict in Gaza now topping 300, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon is set to travel to the region today in a bid to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Following an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council last night, a UN spokesman said that the UN chief was travelling to the region to meet with officials from both sides to secure a “lasting resolution” between both sides.

With the number of people to die as a result of conflict in Gaza now topping 300, UN chief Ban Ki-Moon is set to travel to the region today in a bid to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas. Following an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council last night a UN spokesman said that the UN chief was travelling to the region to meet with officials from both sides to secure a “lasting resolution”.

Speaking to press, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman said that the “The Secretary-General is extremely concerned that this escalation will further increase the already appalling death toll among Gazan civilians.”

Ban Ki-Moon will travel to the region today to talk to both sides Ban Ki-Moon will travel to the region today to talk to both sides

Feltman stressed the need for a two-state solution, and called on the international community to support the efforts of the UN in finding a resolution.

He concluded: “Our appeal stands on the Israeli and Palestinian leadership to defuse tensions and act responsibly.”

This was supported by a later statement from a spokesperson for the UN secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who said that Ban was worried by “the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and Israeli retaliatory action” and that the UN chief wanted all parties to do their utmost to protect civilians.

The comments from Ban and the UN come after it was reported that 15 more Palestinian civilians died in Gaza on Friday night as a result of two Israeli air strikes. The air strikes – Israel’s 90th in 11 days - takes the estimated number of Palestinians to be killed since July 8 to 316, so far one Israeli soldier and one Israeli civilian has been killed.

Thursday night saw Israel intensify their operations against Hamas. with their first ground offensive into the Gaza Strip.

The offensive has seen a number of Israel Defence Forces units mobilised with tanks also being used as part of the operation.

According to reports from health officials in Gaza, at least 60 Palestinians had been killed during the offensive.

A spokesman for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) claimed that the offensive that despite “several points of friction” the ground offensive had seen 240 terror targets struck, 10 of Hamas’ underground tunnels hit and 40 Hamas fighters killed, with a further 13 surrendering.

Israeli forces entering Gaza

 

Reports from the UN on Friday, had suggested that the 12 day conflict had so far seen the Israeli military conduct four ground incursions into Gaza, some 90 air strikes, firing 91 missiles, as well as more than Israeli 500 shells hitting Gaza.

Israel claims that Hamas has launched well over 1,000 rockets into Israel.

Talks between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Friday had resulted in both leaders agreeing that a ceasefire.

Speaking to a group of Egyptian intellectuals and journalists after his talks with el-Sisi, he said condemned the ground offensive by the IDF: “This operation would only lead to more bloodshed and complicate the situation and efforts to stop the (Israeli) aggression.”

Nevertheless, Israeli leaders say that a ceasefire can only be agreed when Hamas forces stop aiming rockets at Israel.

Read More Stories: Israel's first ground offensive leads to the death toll reaching 260
 Baby killed by tank as IDF begins ground offensive
Beaten Palestinian-American teenager returns to Florida
Uefa bans Israel from hosting matches during conflict
Robert Fisk: Medical charity likens work to 'patching up torture victims in an open-air prison
Voices: Why I'm burning my Israeli passport

On Friday, Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the IDF were looking to “widen their invasion” of the Gaza strip saying that without ground offensives Israel could pay a “higher price”.

The UN is currently looking into a system requested by Abbas that could see Palestine come under a specialist UN protection system.

Nevertheless, some members of the UN have become beleaguered with the organisation’s seeming inability to find solutions to stop the conflict.

In an open letter to the Security Council, Palestinian UN representative, Riyad Mansour, threatened to go to UN and international courts if the Security Council did not act to protect Palestinian civilians from Israeli attacks.

 

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'