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89 Palestinians, 13 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza offensive

Posted on Jul 21 2014 | IANS

Gaza, July 20 : At least 89 Palestinians died Sunday in Israeli attacks in Gaza, the bloodiest day since July 8, when the Israeli army launched its offensive against the densely populated coastal strip of territory, emergency services officials said.

With these new casualties, the total number of Palestinian deaths in 'Operation Protective Edge' now amounts to about 430, with 3,000 more people having been wounded, the great majority of them civilians.

At least 112 of the dead are children and teenagers, 45 are women and 25 are elderly people, Gaza Strip emergency services spokesperson Ahraf el Qadra said.

The largest number of deaths so far took place in the Shahaiya neighbourhood in eastern Gaza, where at least 62 people died and more than 200 others were wounded Sunday in Israeli bombings that lasted until nightfall.

The bodies were recovered after the warring sides - at the urging of the Red Cross - agreed to temporarily cease hostilities and observe a five-hour humanitarian window to allow those able to do so to flee the zone and emergency crews to enter and collect the dead and wounded.

Officials in Israel, meanwhile, said that at least 13 Israeli soldiers, evidently including two top officers with the Golani brigade, died in fighting that took place early Sunday in Shahaiya.

The information has not been officially released in Israel, where it is customary to inform the families of the casualties before making their names public.

Hamas fighters apparently laid a "trap" for the army, luring them to Shahaiya, officials said.

Other officials said that at least some of the victims were killed when a modern anti-tank rocket hit their armoured vehicle.

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