Gaza, July 29 IANS | 4 months ago

Israeli helicopters early Tuesday bombed the home of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in western Gaza, which was empty at the time, eyewitnesses and media close to the Islamist movement said. The toll in the coastal enclave in the ongoing offensive has now touched 1,130.

Hamas-affiliated broadcaster al-Aqsa reported that there were no casualties in the attack on Haniyeh's house, which came amid heavy Israeli bombardments on the Palestinian enclave that caused 43 deaths since midnight while dozens were injured, according to medical sources.

The escalation in Israeli attacks brought to 1,130 the number of Palestinians killed and 6,500 those wounded since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge July 8 to stop rocket attacks from Gaza.

Among the targets hit overnight were the treasury office of Hamas and the only power plant in Gaza, which suspended its operation after a shell struck a fuel tank, starting a fire, the Gaza infrastructure ministry reported.

Radio and TV stations of Hamas in Gaza were also destroyed.

Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said they attacked 70 "terrorist" targets, including two Hamas headquarters, four weapons stores hidden in mosques, rocket launchers and a tunnel used to infiltrate Israel.

The IDF reported that 10 soldiers were killed in combat Monday, in one of the worst days in terms of casualties for Israel since the offensive began.

According to a statement released early Tuesday, five of the soldiers were killed as they thwarted an attack by five Palestinians who tried to infiltrate Israel through a tunnel that took them from Gaza to the Nahal Oz settlement.

One of the Palestinians was also killed, the statement said.

Media reported that at least four Palestinian militants were killed in that incident, but the Israeli army only confirmed one death.

Palestinian militias Tuesday continued firing rockets against Israel, two of which exploded in the municipal council of Eshkol while two others were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.

In the past 22 days, 53 Israeli troops have been killed in the fighting, most of them after a ground offensive was launched on July 18, and three civilians, one of them a Filipino man, have died in the rocket attacks.

(Posted on 29-07-2014)

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