Last updated: 17 July, 2014

New Gaza violence hikes toll to 241

Four people were killed by Israeli fire in Gaza on Thursday night as the Jewish state announced a ground operation in the coastal enclave, medics said.

The deaths raised the Gaza toll in 10 days of violence to 241, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

The deaths included one man killed in shelling in southern Khan Yunis, and three killed by tank fire in east Gaza.

The three were a four-year-old child, a 15-year-old, and a man aged 26, Qudra said.

Their deaths came after a strike that killed three children in the Sabra neighbourhood of central Gaza — Jihad, Waseem and Fulla from the Shuheiber family.

They were killed following the end of a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire, which brought some respite for residents of the besieged Palestinian territory.

Another strike shortly afterwards in the southern city of Khan Yunis killed four-year-old girl Rahaf al-Jubur, and a 29-year-old man, Hamza al-Abadleh.

And another child died of wounds sustained in an earlier strike in Gaza City, Qudra said.

Before the UN-requested ceasefire took effect at 10:00 (0700 GMT), Israeli tank fire killed three men in their twenties in the southern city of Rafah, Qudra said.

One Israeli has also been killed by rockets fired by Palestinian militants.

On the Palestinian side, 1,690 people have been injured during the conflict, Qudra said.

Israel and Hamas said they were observing the humanitarian lull but later they accused each other of violating the truce.

According to figures provided by the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), more than 80 percent of those killed have been civilians.

Since the latest violence began before dawn on July 8, at least 1,048 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel, and another 282 have been shot down by the Iron Dome air defence system, army figures show.

In its air war aimed at halting the rocket fire and “inflicting a significant blow to Hamas infrastructures,” Israel has struck more than 1,750 “terror targets” across the coastal enclave, the army said.