Casualty numbers raise questions about Gaza war

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Casualty numbers raise questions about Gaza war
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C), army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz (R) and Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon give a joint press conference at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on July 28, 2014. Netanyahu said Israelis must be ready for a long military campaign in Gaza, after mortar fire from the enclave killed four people in the Jewish state. AFP PHOTO/GIL COHEN-MAGEN (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
An abandoned Palestinian home destroyed by Israeli strikes lies empty on the main road of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, Monday, July 28, 2014. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised speech Monday that Israelis must be "ready for a prolonged campaign" against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and that a demilitarization of Gaza must be part of any future solution in the territory. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Smoke from an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, in the northern Gaza Strip, Monday, July 28, 2014. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised speech Monday that Israelis must be "ready for a prolonged campaign" against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and that a demilitarization of Gaza must be part of any future solution in the territory. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
An abandoned Palestinian home destroyed by Israeli strikes lies empty on the main road of Mughraqa, in the central Gaza Strip, Monday, July 28, 2014. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised speech Monday that Israelis must be "ready for a prolonged campaign" against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and that a demilitarization of Gaza must be part of any future solution in the territory. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Israeli artillery fires towards Gaza, near the Israel and Gaza border in the morning of Sunday, July 27, 2014. Hamas on Sunday agreed to observe a 24-hour truce in Gaza after initially rejecting a similar Israeli offer, as fighting resumed and the two sides wrangled over the terms of a lull that international diplomats had hoped could be expanded into a more sustainable truce. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. (1100 GMT) Sunday. But shortly after the truce was to have started warning sirens wailed in southern Israel and the military said three rockets landed in the area, without causing casualties or damage. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Palestinians inspect the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli strike killing Christian woman Jalila Ayyad, 70, in Gaza City on Sunday, July 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
An Israeli soldier sleeps under the canon of a mobile artillery near the Israel and Gaza border, Sunday, July 27, 2014. Hamas on Sunday agreed to observe a 24-hour truce in Gaza after initially rejecting a similar Israeli offer, as fighting resumed and the two sides wrangled over the terms of a lull that international diplomats had hoped could be expanded into a more sustainable truce. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. (1100 GMT) Sunday. But shortly after the truce was to have started warning sirens wailed in southern Israel and the military said three rockets landed in the area, without causing casualties or damage. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
An Israeli soldier from an artillery battery plays guitar in near the Israel and Gaza border, Sunday, July 27, 2014. Hamas on Sunday agreed to observe a 24-hour truce in Gaza after initially rejecting a similar Israeli offer, as fighting resumed and the two sides wrangled over the terms of a lull that international diplomats had hoped could be expanded into a more sustainable truce. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. (1100 GMT) Sunday. But shortly after the truce was to have started warning sirens wailed in southern Israel and the military said three rockets landed in the area, without causing casualties or damage. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Smoke rises from explosions caused by an Israeli missile strike in the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 20, 2014. The neighborhood came under heavy tank fire Sunday as Israel widened its ground offensive against Hamas, causing hundreds of panicked residents to flee. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 21: Relatives mourn as the dead bodies of the Palestinians who lost their lives during Israeli shelling on Shujaya neighbourhood of Gaza are taken to the morgue after just removed from the wreckage on July 21, 2014. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 21: Relatives mourn as the dead bodies of the Palestinians who lost their lives during Israeli shelling on Shujaya neighbourhood of Gaza are taken to the morgue after just removed from the wreckage on July 21, 2014. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of Maj. Amotz Greenberg, 45, during his funeral in the Israeli city of Hod Hasharon, Sunday, July 20, 2014. According to reports, Greenberg was killed fighting a group of militants who infiltrated Israel through a tunnel from the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
Relatives of Maj. Amotz Greenberg, 45, mourn during his funeral in the Israeli city of Hod Hasharon, Sunday, July 20, 2014. According to reports, Greenberg was killed fighting a group of militants who infiltrated Israel through a tunnel from the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
Smoke and flare of an explosion rise after an Israeli missile hit the Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 20, 2014. The neighborhood came under heavy tank fire Sunday as Israel widened its ground offensive against Hamas, causing hundreds of panicked residents to flee. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Israeli soldiers carry the coffin of Maj. Amotz Greenberg, 45, during his funeral in the Israeli city of Hod Hasharon, Sunday, July 20, 2014. According to reports, Greenberg was killed fighting a group of militants who infiltrated Israel through a tunnel from the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
Smoke rises after an Israeli missile hit Shijaiyah neighborhood in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 20, 2014. Hundreds of panicked residents have fled the neighborhood which they say has come under heavy tank fire from Israeli forces. Some reported seeing dead and wounded in the streets, with ambulances unable to reach the area. Israel widened its ground offensive early Sunday, sending more troops into the Hamas-ruled territory to destroy tunnels used by the Islamic militants to try to sneak into Israel. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinian families who fled their homes from Shijaiyah neighborhood, arrive to Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 20, 2014. Hundreds of panicked residents have fled the neighborhood which they say has come under heavy tank fire from Israeli forces. Some reported seeing dead and wounded in the streets, with ambulances unable to reach the area. Israel widened its ground offensive early Sunday, sending more troops into the Hamas-ruled territory to destroy tunnels used by the Islamic militants to try to sneak into Israel. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians escort a wounded woman in the emergency room of Shifa hospital in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 20, 2014. Hundreds of panicked residents have fled a Gaza City neighborhood which they say has come under heavy tank fire from Israeli forces. Some reported seeing dead and wounded in the streets, with ambulances unable to reach the area. Israel widened its ground offensive early Sunday, sending more troops into the Hamas-ruled territory to destroy tunnels used by the Islamic militants to try to sneak into Israel. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Ismail Haniyeh, the outgoing Hamas prime minister in Gaza, speaks in front of a banner that shows Jerusalem, at his office in Gaza City, Monday, June 2, 2014. President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday swore in a Palestinian unity government, taking a major step toward ending a crippling territorial and political split among the Palestinians but also setting the stage for new friction with Israel. And while none of the Cabinet members are believed to be affiliated with Hamas, it remains unclear if the U.S. and Europe will accept the new government. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Israeli policemen arrest Israeli Arabs as they protest against the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, in the northern Israeli city of Haifa on July 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli policemen arrest Israeli Arabs as they protest against the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, in the northern Israeli city of Haifa on July 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke and flames rise after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said the new round of strikes raised the death toll from the 12-day offensive to more than 330 Palestinians, many of them civilians (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
A pro-Palestinian demonstrator throws a stone towards riot police, during a demonstration in Paris, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Police have clashed with thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters who defied a ban in Paris on marching to protest the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Some of the protesters threw stones and other objects at riot police, who responded with rounds of tear gas. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Israeli soldiers stand near the border with Gaza, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Israel pounded Hamas rocket launchers, uncovered more than a dozen cross-border tunnels and engaged in gunbattles with Palestinian militants Saturday, as fighting intensified on the second day of its open-ended ground operation in Gaza, as the Palestinian death toll continued to rise. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Israeli soldiers sit atop a personnel carrier near the Israel and Gaza border, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Israel pounded Hamas rocket launchers, uncovered more than a dozen cross-border tunnels and engaged in gunbattles with Palestinian militants Saturday, as fighting intensified on the second day of its open-ended ground operation in Gaza, as the Palestinian death toll continued to rise. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)
Israeli soldiers ride near the border with Gaza, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Israel pounded Hamas rocket launchers, uncovered more than a dozen cross-border tunnels and engaged in gunbattles with Palestinian militants Saturday, as fighting intensified on the second day of its open-ended ground operation in Gaza, as the Palestinian death toll continued to rise. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
Israeli soldiers walk near the Israel and Gaza border, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Israel pounded Hamas rocket launchers, uncovered more than a dozen cross-border tunnels and engaged in gunbattles with Palestinian militants Saturday, as fighting intensified on the second day of its open-ended ground operation in Gaza, as the Palestinian death toll continued to rise. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)
Palestinian relatives of Mohammed Naser, chant slogans as they carry his lifeless body to the family house during his funeral in the Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Naser and eight others were killed in an early morning Israeli missile strike, official said. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Israeli soldiers stand near the border with Gaza, Saturday, July 19, 2014. Israel pounded Hamas rocket launchers, uncovered more than a dozen cross-border tunnels and engaged in gunbattles with Palestinian militants Saturday, as fighting intensified on the second day of its open-ended ground operation in Gaza, as the Palestinian death toll continued to rise. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
An Israeli soldier wearing a prayer shawl walks near the Israel and Gaza border, Friday, July, 18, 2014 as Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers.(AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)
Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
An Israeli tank moves into position near the Israel and Gaza border, Friday, July, 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. If Israel and the Palestinian militants of Hamas can agree on one point, it seems, it's that things have to change. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)
Smoke rises behind a mosque's minarets after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
A Palestinian protester hurls a stone towards Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against the Israeli military action in Gaza, at Hawara checkpoint near the West Bank of Nablus, Friday, July 18, 2014. Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday to destroy rocket launching sites and tunnels, firing volleys of tank shells and clashing with Palestinian fighters in a high-stakes ground offensive meant to weaken the enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)
Young Palestinian relatives mourn during the funeral of Bashir Abdel Aal, a 20-year-old Hamas militant who was killed by Israeli tank shells minutes before a five-hour truce went into effect, on July 17, 2014 in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. An Israeli official said the Jewish state had agreed a ceasefire with Hamas that will begin at 0300 GMT on July 18, but the Islamist movement refused to confirm the deal. AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers ride on a military vehicle near the Israel-Gaza Border, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Israel and Hamas have begun observing a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire, as fighting extended into a 10th day. The two sides agreed to the pause following a request by the United Nations so that supplies could be delivered to Gaza.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
An Israeli Merkava tank rolls near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 17, 2014. Fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed in deadly earnest today, after a brief humanitarian ceasefire allowed Gaza residents to restock and hunker down, and as efforts towards a lasting truce intensified. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken from the Israeli Gaza border shows an Israeli army flare illuminating the sky above the Gaza strip on July 17, 2014. Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed four children , medics said, after a humanitarian lull in a 10-day conflict that has killed 237 Palestinians. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
AP10ThingsToSee - Relatives of Dror Chanin, 37, cry during his funeral in Yahud, Israel, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. Chanin was fatally wounded when a mortar exploded near the vehicle he was traveling in, spraying him with shrapnel. Israeli police said he was delivering food to soldiers near the Gaza border. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
Left wing Israelis hold signs as they participate in a demonstration against the Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip, in Jerusalem, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Fierce fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed Thursday, including an airstrike that killed three Palestinian children feeding pigeons on their roof, after a temporary cease-fire that allowed Gazans to stock up on supplies. Hebrew on sign reads: "Stop the fighting." (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Left wing Israelis hold signs as they participate in a demonstration against the Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip, in Jerusalem, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Fierce fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed Thursday, including an airstrike that killed three Palestinian children feeding pigeons on their roof, after a temporary cease-fire that allowed Gazans to stock up on supplies. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
SDEROT, ISRAEL - JULY 17: An Israeli soldier prays after helping fire artillery shells into Gaza on July 17, 2014 near Sderot, Israel. As the Israeli operation 'Protective Edge' enters its tenth day, the body count in Gaza has reach over 200 people. One Israeli has been killed in a Mortar attack. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
A woman runs for cover as sirens are heard in the southern Israeli port city of Ashdod during a rocket attack by Palestinian militants from the neighboring Gaza Strip on July 17, 2014. Fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed in deadly earnest today after a brief humanitarian ceasefire allowed Gaza residents to restock and hunker down, and as efforts towards a lasting truce intensified. AFP PHOTO/DAVID BUIMOVITCH (Photo credit should read DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli tank maneuvers to take a position along the Israel-Gaza Border, Thursday, July 17, 2014. Israel and Hamas have begun observing a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire, as fighting extended into a 10th day. The two sides agreed to the pause following a request by the United Nations so that supplies could be delivered to Gaza.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Israeli extreme right wing activists protest in support of the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip and against a left wing demonstration against the offensive, on July 17, 2014, in Jerusalem. Israeli tank fire in Gaza killed three people today night, raising the Palestinian death toll in 10 days of violence in the coastal enclave to 240, medics said. AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers stand near the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip (background) on July 17, 2014. Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed four children today, medics said, after a humanitarian lull in a 10-day conflict that has killed 237 Palestinians. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - JULY 17: The funeral of Jasmin al-Astal (4), Kavser Hussain al-Astal (70) and Hussain Abdulnaser al-Astar (23) as a result of Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis, Gaza on July 17, 2014. Death toll has reached to 236 and wounded numbers have reached to 1,685 within the 'Operation Protective Edge' in Gaza. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A picture taken from the Israeli Gaza border shows smoke billowing from the Gaza Strip following an Israeli air strike on July 17, 2014. Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed four children , medics said, after a humanitarian lull in a 10-day conflict that has killed 237 Palestinians. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - JULY 17: The funeral of Jasmin al-Astal (4) as a result of Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis, Gaza on July 17, 2014. Death toll has reached to 236 and wounded numbers have reached to 1,685 within the 'Operation Protective Edge' in Gaza. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
An Israeli soldier flashes the 'V' for victory sign from an armoured personnel carrier (APC) at an army deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 17, 2014. Fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed in deadly earnest today, after a brief humanitarian ceasefire allowed Gaza residents to restock and hunker down, and as efforts towards a lasting truce intensified. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli Merkava tank rolls near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 17, 2014. Fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed in deadly earnest today, after a brief humanitarian ceasefire allowed Gaza residents to restock and hunker down, and as efforts towards a lasting truce intensified. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Smoke from rockets fired from a northern neighborhood of Gaza City are seen after being launched toward Israel on July 17, 2014. Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed four children, medics said, after a humanitarian lull in a 10-day conflict that has killed 237 Palestinians. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
The bodies of Jihad and Wassim Shuheiber, aged 8 and 7 respectively, and their 10-year-old cousin Fulla lie in the morgue at al-Shifa hospital, in Gaza City, on July 17, 2014. Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed five children, medics said, hours after a temporary humanitarian ceasefire ended. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli Merkava tank rolls near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 17, 2014. Fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed in deadly earnest today, after a brief humanitarian ceasefire allowed Gaza residents to restock and hunker down, and as efforts towards a lasting truce intensified. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
RAMLA, ISRAEL - JULY 17: Israeli home front unit soldiers work at an emergency call centre on July 17, 2014 in Ramla, Israel.As the Israeli operation 'Protective Edge' enters it's tenth day, the body count in Gaza has reach over 200 people. One Israeli has been killed in a Mortar attack. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 17: Building of Al Yazici family, destroyed in an Israeli airstrike within the 'Operation Protective Edge', killed 230 people and wounded 1685 others in Gaza City, Gaza on July 17, 2014. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 17: A sports shop is destroyed on Israel's airstrike in Gaza city, Gaza on 17 July, 2014. 230 people died and 1865 people wounded at the 10th day of airstrikes. (Photo by Ezz Zanoun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 17: Al Yazici family collect the usable stuff among the ruins of their house destroyed in an Israeli airstrike within the 'Operation Protective Edge', killed 230 people and wounded 1685 others in Gaza City, Gaza on July 17, 2014. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 17: Relatives of Muhammed Bekir, killed in an Israeli airstrike as he was playing on the beach with his friends, mourn after his death in Gaza City, Gaza on July 17, 2014. Death toll has reached to 230 and wounded numbers have reached to 1,685 within the 'Operation Protective Edge' in Gaza. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers watch the smoke trails of 155mm shells fired at targets in the Gaza Strip, at an army deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, on July 17, 2014. Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement have agreed on a ceasefire that will begin at 0300 GMT on Friday, an Israeli official told AFP. AFP PHOTO /MENAHEM KAHANA (Photo credit should read MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken in Beit Hanun in the north of the Gaza Strip on July 17, 2014, shows the Hamas checkpoint located at the entrance of Gaza, about three kilometers from Israel's Erez border crossing, after it was hit by an Israeli air strike. Israel and Hamas agreed to abide by a five-hour humanitarian truce, from 0700 to 1200 GMT, as requested by the United Nations. It brought temporary reprieve from nine days of fighting in which 230 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes, and one Israeli killed by a rocket attack. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli Merkava tank rolls along the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip following Israeli air strikes in the Palestinian coastal enclave before a five-hour truce went into effect, on July 17, 2014. Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas were observing a temporary five-hour humanitarian ceasefire, both sides said, on the 10th day of conflict between the sides. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
SDEROT, ISRAEL - JULY 17: An Israeli soldier prays after helping fire artillery shells into Gaza on July 17, 2014 near Sderot, Israel. As the Israeli operation 'Protective Edge' enters its tenth day, the body count in Gaza has reach over 200 people. One Israeli has been killed in a Mortar attack. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
A Palestinian mourner carries the body of five-month-old girl Lama al-Satri after she was killed in an Israeli air strike the previous day, during her funeral in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on July 16, 2014. The Israeli army said it has agreed to a UN request to halt its attacks on the Gaza Strip for five hours on July 17 on humanitarian grounds. AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - In this file photo taken July 11, 2014, Palestinians look at the damage of a destroyed house where five members of the Ghannam family were killed in an Israeli missile strike early morning in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Israel says its punishing air assault on Hamas militants, their property and their weaponry has delivered a devastating blow to the Islamic militant group. Yet rocket fire at Israel has continued almost unabated. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)
FILE - In this file photo taken July 9, 2014, Israeli missiles hit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. Israel says its punishing air assault on Hamas militants, their property and their weaponry has delivered a devastating blow to the Islamic militant group. Yet rocket fire at Israel has continued almost unabated. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)
FILE - In this file photo taken July 9, 2014, an Israeli missile hits an area in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. Israel says its punishing air assault on Hamas militants, their property and their weaponry has delivered a devastating blow to the Islamic militant group. Yet rocket fire at Israel has continued almost unabated. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)
A photographer runs to a better position as Israeli army bulldozers move to a staging area on the Israel-Gaza border, Thursday, July 10, 2014. Israel dramatically escalated its aerial assault in Gaza Thursday hitting hundreds of Hamas targets, as Palestinians reported more than a dozen of people killed in strikes that hit a home and a beachside cafe and Israel's missile defense system once again intercepted rockets fired by militants at the country's heartland. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Smoke rises following an Israeli strike on Gaza, seen from the Israel-Gaza Border, Thursday, July 10, 2014. Israel dramatically escalated its aerial assault in Gaza Thursday hitting hundreds of Hamas targets, as Palestinians reported more than a dozen of people killed in strikes that hit a home and a beachside cafe and Israel's missile defense system once again intercepted rockets fired by militants at the country's heartland. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Palestinians search in the rubble of a destroyed house where eight members of the Al Haj family were killed in a strike early morning in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, July 10, 2014. Israel dramatically escalated its aerial assault in Gaza Thursday hitting hundreds of Hamas targets, as Palestinians reported more than a dozen of people killed in strikes that hit a home and a beachside cafe and Israel's missile defense system once again intercepted rockets fired by militants at the country's heartland. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
An Israeli missile hits Palestinian buildings in Gaza City on July 17, 2014. Israel launched a ground operation in Gaza late Thursday on the 10th day of an offensive to stamp out rocket attacks from the Palestinian enclave, the army said. At least 240 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air strikes since July 8, many of them children, medics in Gaza said, with a NGO based in the coastal enclave saying 80 percent of the deaths are civilians. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken from the Israeli Gaza border shows an Israeli army flare illuminating the sky above the Gaza strip on July 17, 2014. Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed four children , medics said, after a humanitarian lull in a 10-day conflict that has killed 237 Palestinians. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian boy holds damaged pages of a Koran, Islam's holy book, as he inspects a building hit by an Israeli air strike before a five-hour truce went into effect, on July 17, 2014 in Gaza City. Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas were observing a temporary five-hour humanitarian ceasefire, both sides said, on the 10th day of conflict between the sides. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 16: Palestinian firefighters extinguish a fire that broke out after an Israeli air strikes hit a building in Gaza City, Gaza on July 16, 2014. Israeli airstrike killed 213 people and 1530 others wounded in Gaza. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A picture taken from the Israeli Gaza border shows smoke billowing from the Gaza Strip following an Israeli air strike on July 16, 2014. Israel intensified its bombardment of Gaza, killing four children on a beach in an apparent naval salvo and launching deadly air strikes, as regional leaders sought to end the killing. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 16 : Israeli airstrike targeted Gaza kills 4 Palestinian children while they were playing on the beach in Gaza City, Gaza. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
An man reads a prayer at the grave of Israeli Dror Khenin mourn on July 16, 2014, during his funeral in Yehud, east of Tel Aviv, the day after he was killed when a short-range rocket fired by Palestinian militants landed near the border with the Gaza Strip where he was delivering food to the Israeli soldiers. He is the first Israeli civilian killed during Israel's Operation Dove. Israel's campaign, now in its ninth day, has killed 214 Palestinians, with a Gaza-based rights group saying over 80 percent of them were civilians. AFP PHOTO/AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - JULY 16 : (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains graphic content.) A wounded Palestinian kid Muhammed Ahvaj (4) is taken to a hospital after an Israeli airstrike targeted Khan Yunis, Gaza on July 16, 2014. The death toll from Israel's ongoing onslaught on the blockaded Gaza Strip has risen to 214 since July 7, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on July 16, 2014. (Photo by Ezz El-Zanoun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A relatives of four Palestinian boys, all from the Bakr family, mourns over the body of one of the boys at the morgue of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on July 16, 2014. Four children were killed and several injured at a beach in Gaza City medics said, in Israeli shelling witnessed by AFP journalists. The strikes appeared to be the result of shelling by the Israeli navy against an area with small shacks used by fishermen. The deaths raised the overall toll in nine days of violence in Gaza to 213. AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY SARA HUSSEIN A person stands by the broken window of the Al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital near Gaza City on July 16, 2014 following an Israeli military strike. At the hospital a handful of doctors and nurses hover over paralysed patients, wondering how to protect them from more air strikes as threatened by Israel. The patients lie mostly inert in beds lined up in the hospital's reception, where staff moved them after an Israeli rocket crashed into the fourth floor. AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 16: A building of Alashy family is destroyed by an Israeli airstrike within the 'Operation Protective Edge', killed 205 people and wounded 1530 others, in Gaza City, Gaza on July 16, 2014. (Photo by Ezz Zanoun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JABALIA, GAZA - JULY 24: A woman walks on the debris as Palestinians inspect the destroyed area after Israeli strikes hit the Jabalia refuge camp on July 24, 2014, as the Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' continues on Gaza. (Photo by Ali Hassan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
JABALIA, GAZA - JULY 24: A woman walks as children stand on the debris as Palestinians inspect the destroyed area after Israeli strikes hit the Jabalia refuge camp on July 24, 2014, as the Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' continues on Gaza. (Photo by Ali Hassan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A picture taken from the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip shows buildings following an Israeli air strike east of Gaza City, on July 24, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke today to his counterparts in Qatar and Turkey, which support the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as he pressed for a Gaza ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIT LAHIA, GAZA - JULY 24: Injured members of Abuayta family, whose house hit by an Israeli airstrike at Jabalia Camp, are taken to the Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, Gaza on July 24, 2014. Death toll rises to 745, including 182 children, 92 women, 45 elderly people, and injured numbers rises to 4633 within the ongoing 'Operation Protective Edge' on the 17th day in Gaza. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
An Israeli canon fires a 155mm shell toward the Gaza Strip from their position near Israel's border with the Palestinian enclave on July 24, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke today to his counterparts in Qatar and Turkey, which support the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as he pressed for a Gaza ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / DAVID BUIMOVITCH (Photo credit should read DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP/Getty Images)
ISRAEL/GAZA BORDER, ISRAEL - JULY 24 : (ISRAEL OUT) Israeli soldiers prepare their Tanks in a deployment area on July 24, 2014 on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. ashington's top diplomat said global efforts to end 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza were progressing as the Palestinian death toll rose to 714 and airlines kept flights to Israel suspended over rocket fears. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 24: Palestinians inspect destroyed buildings following Israeli air assaults staged within the scope of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza City, Gaza on July 24, 2014. The Palestinian death toll from Israel's ongoing offensive against the Gaza Strip has risen to 732. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 24: Palestinians inspect destroyed buildings and collect usable stuff following Israeli air assaults staged within the scope of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza City, Gaza on July 24, 2014. The Palestinian death toll from Israel's ongoing offensive against the Gaza Strip has risen to 732. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISRAEL/GAZA BORDER, ISRAEL - JULY 24 : (ISRAEL OUT) Israeli soldiers patrol next to a Kibutz on July 24, 2014 on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. Washington's top diplomat said global efforts to end 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza were progressing as the Palestinian death toll rose to 714 and airlines kept flights to Israel suspended over rocket fears. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - JULY 24: Palestinians carry the wounded man, hit during the ongoing Israeli strikes on July 24, 2014 in Khan Yunis, Gaza. (Photo by Belal Khaled/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - JULY 24: Relatives of Palestinians cry as wounded and killed are taken to Nasser Hospital after the Israeli attacks in Khan Yunis, Gaza on July 24, 2014. Death toll has reached to 771 and wounded numbers have reached to 5000 within the 'Operation Protective Edge' in Gaza. (Photo by Belal Khaled/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Palestinians inspect the wreckage of a car following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, on July 24, 2014. Fifteen Palestinians were killed today when an Israeli shell slammed into a UN shelter where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge, sending the death toll in Gaza soaring to 788 despite world efforts to broker a ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 24: Relatives of Palestinians who injured and killed Israeli attacks hit the schools of UNRWA in Gaza, wait around the Kemal Advan hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on July 24, 2014. Seven United Nations schools in Gaza have been damaged during the past 24 hours, the UN relief agency has said. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 24: Relatives of Palestinians who injured and killed Israeli attacks hit the schools of UNRWA in Gaza, wait around the Kemal Advan hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on July 24, 2014. Seven United Nations schools in Gaza have been damaged during the past 24 hours, the UN relief agency has said. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A picture taken from the southern Israeli Gaza border shows the sun setting over the Gaza strip on July 24, 2014. Fifteen Palestinians were killed today when an Israeli shell slammed into a UN shelter where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge, sending the death toll in Gaza soaring to 788 despite world efforts to broker a ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken from the southern Israeli Gaza border shows a trail of dust as Israeli army Merkava tanks (unseen) and armoured personnel carriers (APC) ( unseen) take postion inside the Gaza Strip on July 24, 2014. Fifteen Palestinians were killed today when an Israeli shell slammed into a UN shelter where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge, sending the death toll in Gaza soaring to 788 despite world efforts to broker a ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 24: The relatives of wait around the hospital after Palestinians who injured Israeli attacks hit the schools of UNRWA in Gaza, are taken to Beit Lahia and Kemal Advan hospitals in Gaza City, Gaza on July 24. Seven United Nations schools in Gaza have been damaged during the past 24 hours, the UN relief agency has said. (Photo by Mohammed Talatene/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Relatives of Daniel Pomerantz, a 20-year-old Israeli soldier from the Golani Brigade who was killed a few days ago in an exchange of fire with Palestinian militants inside the Gaza Strip, mourn during his funeral on July 24, 2014 in Kfar Azar near Tel Aviv. So far, 32 Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians have died in the fighting and at least 718 Palestinians have been killed in the 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza. AFP PHOTO / GIL COHEN-MAGEN (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Two brothers (2nd from R and 1st from L) and Varda (2nd from L), the mother of Daniel Pomerantz, a 20-year-old Israeli soldier from the Golani Brigade who was killed a few days ago in an exchange of fire with Palestinian militants inside the Gaza Strip, mourn during his funeral on July 24, 2014 in Kfar Azar near Tel Aviv. So far, 32 Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians have died in the fighting and at least 718 Palestinians have been killed in the 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza. AFP PHOTO / GIL COHEN-MAGEN (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
The three brothers (C) and Varda (R), the mother of Daniel Pomerantz, a 20-year-old Israeli soldier from the Golani Brigade who was killed a few days ago in an exchange of fire with Palestinian militants inside the Gaza Strip, mourn during his funeral on July 24, 2014 in Kfar Azar near Tel Aviv. So far, 32 Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians have died in the fighting and at least 718 Palestinians have been killed in the 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza. AFP PHOTO / GIL COHEN-MAGEN (Photo credit should read GIL COHEN MAGEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Palestinian men grieve over the death of relatives at the morgue of the Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahiya, on July 24, 2014, after a UN school in the northern Beit Hanun district of the Gaza Strip was hit by an Israeli shell. Fifteen Palestinians were killed when the Israeli shell slammed into the UN-run school where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge, sending the death toll in Gaza soaring to 777 despite world efforts to broker a ceasefire. AFP PHOTO/ MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)
KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - JULY 24: Palestinians flee their houses due to Israeli shelling in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on July 24, 2014. The Palestinian death toll from Israel's devastating military offensive against the Gaza Strip rises to 771 on Thursday according to Palestinian Health Ministry. (Photo by Eyad Al-Baba/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KHAN YUNIS, GAZA - JULY 24: A Palestinian man holding his child arrives Nasir Hospital for a Palestinian man killed in an Israeli attack targeting Khan Yunis, Gaza on July 24, 2014. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 24: Members of Ebu Sakra family cry for their wounded relative in Gaza city, Gaza on 24 July, 2014. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Palestinian man is arrested by Israeli border police following clashes outside of the Old City of Jerusalem on July 24, 2014 during a demonstration by Palestinians in support of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. Medics reported more than 50 people killed in Gaza, mostly in the south, hiking the overall Palestinian toll to 746 since Israel launched a military operation to halt rocket fire from the besieged territory on July 8. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken from the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip shows buildings following an Israeli air strike east of Gaza City, on July 24, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke today to his counterparts in Qatar and Turkey, which support the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as he pressed for a Gaza ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli Merkava tank is seen at an army deployment area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip, on July 24, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke today to his counterparts in Qatar and Turkey, which support the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as he pressed for a Gaza ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli canon fires a 155mm shell toward the Gaza Strip from their position near Israel's border with the Palestinian enclave on July 24, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke today to his counterparts in Qatar and Turkey, which support the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as he pressed for a Gaza ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / DAVID BUIMOVITCH (Photo credit should read DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP/Getty Images)
An Israeli army Merkava tank rolls along Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 24, 2014. US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke today to his counterparts in Qatar and Turkey, which support the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as he pressed for a Gaza ceasefire. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
ISRAEL/GAZA BORDER, ISRAEL - JULY 24 : (ISRAEL OUT) Israeli soldiers prepare their Tanks in a deployment area on July 24, 2014 on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip. ashington's top diplomat said global efforts to end 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza were progressing as the Palestinian death toll rose to 714 and airlines kept flights to Israel suspended over rocket fears. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
GAZA CITY, GAZA - JULY 24: Palestinians inspect destroyed buildings and collect usable stuff following Israeli air assaults staged within the scope of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza City, Gaza on July 24, 2014. The Palestinian death toll from Israel's ongoing offensive against the Gaza Strip has risen to 732. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Smoke from Israeli strikes rises over Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Sunday, July 27, 2014. Israel resumed its Gaza offensive on Sunday, calling off a unilateral extension of a humanitarian cease-fire after Palestinian militants fired several rockets at southern Israel. The rocket fire began late Saturday after Gaza's Hamas rulers, who have demanded the lifting of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade on the territory and the release of prisoners, refused to extend the truce. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
The mother of Staff Sgt. Amit Yeori, 20, cries during his funeral at the Mount Herzel military cemetery in Jerusalem, Sunday, July 27, 2014. Yeori was killed on Friday in the fighting in Gaza. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. The plant’s shutdown was bound to lead to further serious disruptions of the flow of electricity and water to Gaza’s 1.7 million people. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. The plant’s shutdown was bound to lead to further serious disruptions of the flow of electricity and water to Gaza’s 1.7 million people. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. The plant’s shutdown was bound to lead to further serious disruptions of the flow of electricity and water to Gaza’s 1.7 million people. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. The plant’s shutdown was bound to lead to further serious disruptions of the flow of electricity and water to Gaza’s 1.7 million people. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
A street vendor’s umbrella and chair lie damaged on the ground as Indian security forces use tear gas shells to disperse Kashmiri Muslims protesting against Israel's attack on Gaza after Eid al-Fitr prayers in Srinagar, India, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Qazi Irshad)
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Israel escalated its military campaign against Hamas on Tuesday, striking symbols of the group's control in Gaza and firing tank shells that shut down the strip's only power plant in the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. The plant’s shutdown was bound to lead to further serious disruptions of the flow of electricity and water to Gaza’s 1.7 million people. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
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BY KARIN LAUB AND YOUSUR ALHLOU

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Shopkeepers say they were sitting outside their shuttered businesses Wednesday, catching a break from being cooped up during wartime, when an Israeli missile struck a nearby mosque, killing a truck driver and wounding 45 people.

One of those wounded by shrapnel said from his hospital gurney that the strike came without warning.

Israel has defended such strikes on civilian sites - nearly 500 homes, 16 mosques and at least two hospitals, by Palestinian count - by saying that Hamas hides weapons and fighters there or that tunnels into Israel originate in such places.

Israel says it is defending its civilians against rocket fire and other attacks from Gaza and doing its utmost to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians.

However, three-fourths of the Palestinians killed in more than two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting were civilians, according to U.N. figures. One in four was a minor, it said.

A Palestinian health official put the death toll at 695 and said more than 4,100 were wounded, with civilian casualties rising sharply since Israel sent tanks and troops into Gaza last week in its first ground operation in five years.

Israel has not offered its own count, but Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said Wednesday that 210 Gaza militants were killed since the ground operation began.

The heavy civilian death toll leaves Israel increasingly vulnerable to accusations that it is using excessive force and possibly committing war crimes - though in Israel, most of the discourse has focused on the rocket attacks.

While most of the rockets have been intercepted and the damage caused has not been great, the furor over them has been powerful among Israelis. Only in recent days has public opinion started to focus more closely on the devastation in Gaza and the question of disproportionality in Israel's actions.

Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said Wednesday that some of the recent Israeli attacks, including those on homes and on a care center for the disabled, raise "a strong possibility that international law has been violated in a manner that could amount to war crimes."

She also condemned indiscriminate Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians - including some 3,000 rockets fired since July 8 that have killed three Israeli civilians - and said storing military equipment in civilian areas or launching attacks from there is unacceptable.

But, she said, "the actions of one party do not absolve the other party of the need to respect its obligations under international law."

The U.N. Human Rights Council voted later Wednesday to establish an independent commission to investigate possible violations of international law during the fighting.

Israel has said the goal of its Gaza operation is to hit Hamas targets, weaken the Islamic militant group's ability to fire rockets, and destroy Hamas tunnels leading into Israel. The military said Wednesday it has carried out about 3,250 strikes against "terrorist locations," including what it described as Hamas command centers, tunnels and rocket launching sites.

However, in most cases, the army does not explain why a certain location is being hit, particularly when asked about strikes on private homes in which several members of the same family are killed, an increasing common occurrence in recent days.

The Palestinian human rights group Mezan said that 477 homes have been destroyed in targeted hits since July 8, and that 332 people died in their homes as a result of military operations.

On Wednesday, Palestinian officials reported an airstrike on the Shamea Mosque in Gaza City and said Red Crescent cars and a Red Cross convoy came under heavy fire when they entered a small Gaza town near the border with Israel to evacuate the dead and wounded.

In another incident, witnessed by Associated Press journalists, Red Cross staff and members of the Palestinian civil defense came under fire as they approached the Israeli front line in an attempt to remove casualties from the Gaza City neighborhood of Shijaiyah.

The airstrike on the Shamea Mosque came just before noon. One man was killed, identified by police as 25-year-old truck driver Nidal al-Ijla. Forty-five people were wounded, said Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

Hussam Odeh, a clothing shop owner who was hit in the face by shrapnel, said he and other merchants were sitting outside when a large explosion went off. No warning was given, said Odeh, 27, and a cousin, as they were patched up in a hospital emergency room.

Lerner, the military spokesman, would not say why the mosque was hit.

As the battle for international public opinion intensifies, the military has published more material it says shows the militants use civilian sites for cover - including videos purporting to show missiles launched from urban areas and secondary explosions in neighboring buildings that suggest there were explosives stored there.

It also released drone footage showing two black-clad figures, presumably fighters, getting into an ambulance and issued maps of purported rocket launching sites close to homes and a hospital.

Israel says militants had stored rockets near the Al Aqsa Hospital in central Gaza where four people were killed and about 30 wounded by Israeli tank fire earlier this week.

The army also portrayed the Al Wafa Hospital in the Shijaiyah neighborhood, hard-hit in several days of fighting, as a Hamas military compound. Several access shafts led from the hospital to the Hamas tunnel network, it said. The hospital was repeatedly hit by Israeli tank shells, and after initially refusing, the director agreed to evacuate 17 patients.

Israeli officials have also alleged that Hamas prevents Gaza civilians from fleeing their homes when they receive warnings to clear an area ahead of Israeli strikes. In the early days of the fighting, before Israel's ground offensive, Hamas authorities issued statements urging residents to stay and dismissing Israeli warnings as "psychological warfare."

However, displaced Gaza residents describing their ordeal have said consistently that they fled in haste, with few belongings, and made no mention of attempts by Hamas to keep them in their homes.

Nahed Sirsawi, 30, a displaced resident of Shijaiyah, said her husband had received a call from the Israeli army late last week, telling him the family had five minutes to leave the house before bombing would begin.

The call set in motion a terrifying odyssey, with the family of seven seeking refuge in a series of homes of relatives, only to be exposed to more tank shelling or told again by the army to evacuate.

Eventually, the Sirsawis found refuge in the St. Porphyrios Church in Gaza City along with dozens of others from their area. Yet even the church wasn't safe, she said. This week, several missiles hit a nearby cemetery, sending debris flying into the church courtyard.

"I don't feel safe anywhere," she said, pointing to where shrapnel hit inside the church library where her family was sleeping.

Israel said that it can't be held hostage by Hamas' decision to fire from within densely populated areas, and that it has an obligation to defend Israeli civilians. Government spokesman Mark Regev said Israel's response is "both measured and proportionate."

But even in Israel, some - still a fringe - are questioning this.

In a letter to Israel's defense minister, a number of local aid organizations demanded Israel ensure the humanitarian needs of the civilian population, especially water and electricity. A few celebrities have spoken out against the airstrikes, then faced a flood of criticism for doing so.

News shows are still dominated by calls to let the army "complete its job." The attitude derives from a widespread sense in Israel that Hamas is evil incarnate and that the militants actually want civilians to be killed for the propaganda value.

Gideon Levy, a prominent leftist Israeli columnist, said a longstanding "dehumanization of the Palestinians" has resulted today in a "total lack of any kind of empathy" with them.

One concern in Israel is the effect the rising civilian casualty count will have on international public opinion.

Numerous Israeli campaigns ground to a halt amid world pressure over civilian casualties on the Arab side. That included the previous two rounds with Hamas in recent years and operations against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon in 1996 and 2006 - all of which ended amid the same kind of global condemnation being heard this week.

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