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Palestinian death toll rises as Israel intensifies attack on Gaza

More than 100 Palestinians are reported as having been killed on Tuesday after Israel intensified its bombardment of Gaza and warned of a long conflict ahead.

Caritas International has launched an emergency appeal to help the people of Gaza, but there was no end to the conflict in sight as the SCO went to press this week. Reports document the deaths of 1115 Palestinians, most of them civilians, in the fighting since July 8 while Israel has lost 53 soldiers and three civilians—two Israelis and a Thai worker.

Fr Raed Abusahliah, an official of Caritas Jerusalem, has compared destruction wrought by the Israeli offensive in Gaza to the devastation of the Second World War. Reports state that bombing this week has damaged the school of Gaza’s only Catholic parish, as well as the office of Gaza’s parish priest.

Attempts to agree a ceasefire last weekend appear to have stalled despite increasing pressure from the United Nations and international community.

After the latest round of strikes an Israeli military spokesman said the strikes signalled a ‘gradual increase in the pressure’ on Hamas, the group that controls Gaza. Israeli fire on Tuesday is also said to have damaged the Hamas TV and radio stations, three mosques, four factories and government buildings, which included the finance ministry and a compound belonging to the interior ministry. Gaza’s port was also destroyed, Palestinian security sources said, and two schools and a kindergarten were on fire after being hit. Among the 100 people killed on Tuesday were seven families, the

Palestinian health ministry said.

At the Vatican a Caritas spokesman said ‘the Church of Jesus Christ cannot remain silent’ in the face of the increasing needs of the Gazans.

The first phase of the €1.1 million emergency programme, Caritas will provide medical supplies and medicine to four hospitals, and fuel for generators. It is hoped that 2000 families will receive food parcels.

 

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