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Gaza fighting rages amid cease-fire efforts

Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts

Associated Press

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Israeli tanks and warplanes bombarded the Gaza Strip on Thursday, as Hamas militants stuck to their demand for the lifting of an Israeli and Egyptian blockade amid U.S. efforts to reach a cease-fire.

The 16-day conflict has claimed the lives of 718 Palestinians, most of them civilians, Palestinian health officials say. Israel has lost 32 soldiers, all since July 17, when it widened its air campaign into a full-scale ground operation aimed at halting rocket fire from Gaza and destroying a sophisticated network of cross-border tunnels.

Two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker in Israel have also been killed.

Appearing with visiting British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no reference to the cease-fire efforts in underscoring his determination to neutralize the rocket and tunnel threats.

More than 2,000 rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza since July 8, and the Israeli military says it has uncovered more than 30 tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel, some of which have been used by Hamas to carry out attacks.

"We started this operation to return peace and quiet to Israel," Netanyahu said in Jerusalem. "And we shall return it."

Six members of the same family and an 18-month-old infant boy were killed when an Israeli airstrike hit the Jebaliya refugee camp in the early morning hours, according to Gaza police and health officials. Twenty others were injured in the strike, they said, and rescuers were digging through the rubble of flattened homes, looking for survivors.

Heavy fighting was reported along the border of central Gaza, according to Gaza police spokesman Ayman Batniji. Israeli troops fired tank shells that reached parts of the Bureij and Maghazi refugee camps. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Clashes also erupted between Palestinian fighters and Israeli troops in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, and the sound of explosions was audible across the town, Batniji said.

Israeli naval vessels meanwhile fired more than 100 shells along the coast of Gaza City and northern Gaza, the spokesman said. Rescue teams were prevented from operating in the area because of the heavy fire, he added.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Israel Wednesday on an Air Force jet, despite a ban imposed a day earlier by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on commercial flights into Ben-Gurion International Airport because of Hamas rocket fire.

The FAA dropped the ban just before midnight, but European airlines have extended their cancellations through Thursday.

"We certainly have made steps forward," Kerry said in Jerusalem Wednesday, without elaborating. "There's still work to be done."

Underscoring the challenges he faces, the leader of Hamas insisted the Islamic militants would not relent until their main demand of lifting an Egyptian-Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip is met.

"When it comes to the balance of power in this crisis between us and Israel, they are the executioners, the aggressors, the occupiers, the settlers, and we are the true owners of the land," Khaled Mashaal said in a televised speech from his home-in-exile in Doha, Qatar. "We will not accept anything but the end of the siege."

Israel imposed the blockade in 2006 after Hamas and other militants abducted an Israeli soldier in a deadly cross-border raid. It tightened the siege in 2007 after Hamas seized power from forces loyal to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but had eased some of the restrictions in recent years.

Egypt tightened its own restrictions last year after the overthrow of a Hamas-friendly government in Cairo and has destroyed many of the cross-border smuggling tunnels that sustained Gaza's economy, and which were also used by Hamas to bring in arms.

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Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
frankiegallo33 July 24 2014 at 6:21 AM

Israel continue to defend yourself until your people are safe.
Whatever you do don't listen to Obama or Kerry they are trying to strengthen Iran by weakening Israel.
Obama has an adviser who's loyalty is to Iran and has communist ties.
Don't trust Obama. He hates you.

Flag Reply +43 rate up
9 replies
lunarsilver629 July 24 2014 at 6:22 AM

Don't listen to the slanted news reporting of AOL news!! Israel did NOT break this ceasefire!! Hamas did when they fired upon IDF agents during this ceasefire with anti-tank missiles!! This was just a few days ago!! Good job on reporting that AOL!! *sarcasm*

Hamas also broke the previous ceasefire by trying to tunnel into Israel!! Just STOP with the slanted reporting!!

Flag Reply +42 rate up
2 replies
Alen Kay lunarsilver629 July 24 2014 at 6:34 AM

And don't forget the big rocket fired at the Airport in Tel Aviv and the fact the U.S. has stopped ALL flights into Israel. At least Israel picks out the Hamas houses.

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1 reply
Tspoon Alen Kay July 24 2014 at 6:48 AM

Another way for Obama to punish Isreal. And Obama claims to be a Christian! The only Bible verse he knows is when Cain lipped off the God after killing his brother. That tells you all need to know about Obama. He hates Christians and Jew!

Flag +1 rate up
Emanuel lunarsilver629 July 24 2014 at 9:12 AM

Just put a death toll. Maybe you'll be happy. Over 700 Palestinian civilians dead, 30 Jewish soldiers dead.

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2 replies
racjaa Emanuel July 24 2014 at 9:45 AM

And? what does that prove other than Hamas is getting real good at using Palestinian civilians as shields for its rocket launchers.

Flag +1 rate up
ncmauk Emanuel July 24 2014 at 10:20 AM

Looks like proof that the Jews are smarter fighters than the Palestinian Arabs and do not hide in their neighbors house while shooting the Jews. Dont start the fight if you can not finish it.

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mvnup July 24 2014 at 6:31 AM

Add a comment...The pictures are heartbreaking. It is heart breaking to see what the Palestinians have brought upon themselves. But they can only blame themselves for this.

Flag Reply +36 rate up
1 reply
Paul mvnup July 24 2014 at 7:57 AM

Just remember not all Muslims are terr*&^sts but most terr&*^sts are Muslims. And those who are not helping the ter&*(ists.and stay quiet

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
d1anaw Paul July 24 2014 at 8:31 AM

Interesting how you tend to overlook the histroy of Christianity.

Flag 0 rate up
racjaa Paul July 24 2014 at 9:51 AM

The thing is d1anaw what the heck does the history of christianity have to do with this crisis. What Paul says is true and when peaceful Muslims decide to divorce themsevles from the radicals, maybe then we can begin to trust them.

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Rob July 24 2014 at 6:15 AM

So, you'll continue to watch the destruction of your little country over a blockade. And continue to fire your rockets from behind the cribs of your children. May hell find the space for you all.

Flag Reply +34 rate up
1 reply
Alen Kay Rob July 24 2014 at 6:36 AM

I presume you mean the Palestinians? Why they put children in the front line is to gain sympathy from the world and make Israel look like the bad guys.....

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
racjaa Alen Kay July 24 2014 at 9:48 AM

oh please phardynetmail, the Hamas handling of palestinian civilians is worse than Israel. Hamas kills more of its own for association of any type with Israel. Hamas doesnt care because the more Palestinian deaths the more foriegn aid flows in, more money for rockets and missles. We understand the game. Everyone understands the game, except of course, you

Flag +1 rate up
RowdyFriends July 24 2014 at 6:14 AM

Hamas started this crap, leave Israel alone.

Flag Reply +28 rate up
1 reply
Chris RowdyFriends July 24 2014 at 10:23 AM

The Jews started it in 1948 when they took over Palestine with weapons and USA/UK help. There was no "Israel". Get some knowledge before spewing wrong garbage.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
bps163 July 24 2014 at 6:53 AM

Go Israel Go and don't stop keep pounding these dirtbags Hamas until they are totally dead. And put an end to the 60 years of hell that Israel has been under. Flatten the whole city. Then flatten Iran.

Flag Reply +28 rate up
1 reply
Willie bps163 July 24 2014 at 7:42 AM

a bit angry huh?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
jannjanf Willie July 24 2014 at 9:01 AM

No, he is disgusted by 60 years of threats and attacks on Israel. After 60 years of such attacks and threats, guys like Willie blame Israel and its supporters.

Flag +1 rate up
Chris Willie July 24 2014 at 10:24 AM

Yeah, he's angry and AFRAID, SCARED. Typical response of a coward.

Flag 0 rate up
lemon302 July 24 2014 at 6:46 AM

If I were Netanyahu I would level Gaza, tell the international community how sorry I am but shiit happens with a crocodile tear in my eye.

Flag Reply +24 rate up
1 reply
Bob lemon302 July 24 2014 at 9:56 AM

Ask for a 48 hour cease fire-- tell Hamas to evacuate Gaza, then tell Hamas if ONE rocket comes to Israel, during the cease fire, they will level Gaza, and kill every living thing left. Then--do it, the hell with public opinion.

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let.freedom.ring July 24 2014 at 7:18 AM

Gaza cease-fire hopes falter ---
Israeli tanks and warplanes
bombarded the Gaza Strip...
ANOTHER slanted words headline!
Rather like
a headline reading
"Killing of blacks continue by whites".
Only to find out that
every one of these 'killing'
was due to whites (with C.C.)
protecting themselves from yet another violent attack!
WHY s AOL & HUFF slanting facts?

Flag Reply +22 rate up
3 replies
IBruzEZ July 24 2014 at 7:35 AM

The blockade is because of hamas bringing in arms, rockets, etc. They may continue to say they need "food, medical supplies" but they lie, always lie. Go Israel.! protect yourself from these terrorists.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
wbearl July 24 2014 at 7:37 AM

You want to end this once and for all? Let it go till it ends on it's own. There was a good reason our ancestors fought till the enemy was totally vanquished, you didn't have to re fight a battle with dead enemies. .

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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