Israel pounds Gaza with air raids, shelling

Death toll in Gaza rises to 122 as Palestinian families seek shelter in schools to flee Israel’s ‘most violent’ attacks.

Israel continued on Friday to bombard the Gaza Strip with air raids and artillery shells as it stepped up the deployment of troops and tanks near the besieged Palestinian enclave.

At least 122 Palestinians, including 31 children, have been killed and more than 900 wounded since hostilities flared up on Monday. Hundreds of Palestinian families have taken shelter in United Nations-run schools in northern Gaza to escape Israeli artillery fire, with residents reporting that that the Strip had experienced its “most violent” night.

Palestinians assess the damage caused by Israeli air strikes, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip [Mahmud Hams/AFP]
Palestinians assess the damage caused by Israeli air strikes, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip [Mahmud Hams/AFP]

Despite international calls for an immediate halt of all hostilities, including from United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged the offensive will continue “as needed to restore calm in the state of Israel”.

Hamas fired another barrage of rockets towards Israel, hitting the city of Ashkelon in the early hours on Friday.

At least six Israelis and one Indian national have also been killed. The Israeli army said hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza towards various locations in Israel and they have added reinforcements near the enclave’s eastern lands.

Meanwhile, violence is brewing between Israeli settlers and Palestinian citizens in the occupied West Bank as well as in Israel. In another potential escalation, at least three rockets were fired from southern Lebanon towards Israel.

By : Virginia Pietromarchi and Mersiha Gadzo – AL JAZEERA

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