Deaths mount in Gaza

Deaths mount in Gaza

Forty-two people have died in the latest Israeli air strikes on Gaza, as the conflict with Palestinian militants entered its seventh day.

Gaza health officials said 16 women and 10 children were among the dead.

Israel’s military said it had been targeting leaders and infrastructure linked to Hamas, the militant group that runs Gaza.

Hamas launched a new barrage of rockets towards southern Israel on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a UN Security Council meeting has begun, with international mediators hoping to broker a ceasefire.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the meeting by describing the violence as “utterly appalling” and said the fighting must stop immediately.

Since it began on Monday at least 188 people have been killed in Gaza, including 55 children and 33 women, with 1,230 injured, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry. Israel says dozens of militants are among the dead.

Ten people, including two children, have been killed by militant attacks on Israel, Israeli officials say.

The flare-up of violence over the last week came after weeks of increasing Israeli-Palestinian tension in East Jerusalem, which culminated in clashes at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. Hamas – the Palestinian militant group that runs Gaza – began firing rockets after warning Israel to withdraw from the site, triggering retaliatory air strikes.

Israel’s military said it had struck the homes of both Yahya Sinwar and his brother Muhammad Sinwar, whom it described as head of logistics and manpower for Hamas.

Both residences had, it said, “served as military infrastructure” for Hamas.

Yahya Sinwar in Gaza City, 28 October 2019
Yahya Sinwar pictured in Gaza City in 2019

Local sources confirmed to media that the Hamas leader’s home in the Gaza town of Khan Younis had been bombed. There were no immediate reports about the fate of the two brothers.

Multiple air strikes rocked Gaza City during the night, with dozens of people reported missing under the rubble of homes, said the BBC’s Rushdi Abualouf in Gaza.

I have never covered air strikes with such intensity, explosions are everywhere in Gaza, there are difficulties in communicating with officials to find out where the strikes are,” he said on Twitter.

“The building in which I live in [the] western part of the city shook like an earthquake,” he said. “A hysterical state of chaos, children and women in the building that houses more than 200 people screaming.” 

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