Bloody Sunday as 100 Gazans, 13 Israeli soldiers killed
Jul 20, 2014
by Sara Hussein, Mai Yaghi
Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – At least 100 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers were killed on Sunday with Hamas claiming it had captured another, as Israel ramped up a major military offensive in Gaza.
The Palestinian president, meanwhile, called for an immediate meeting of the UN Security Council as regional leaders met in Doha for urgent talks on a ceasefire.
As the Palestinian death toll soared to 438 in the bloodiest single day in Gaza in five years, a spokesman for the enclave’s emergency services said more than a third of the victims were women and children.
The Israeli army said 13 soldiers had been killed inside Gaza on the third day of a major ground operation.
“Over the course of the day, 13 soldiers from the IDF’s Golani Brigade were killed in combat in the Gaza Strip,” a statement said.
Their deaths raised to 18 the number of soldiers killed since the ground operation began late on Thursday. It was the largest number of soldiers killed in combat since the 2006 Lebanon war.
Late Sunday, the armed wing of Hamas claimed it had kidnapped an Israeli soldier, prompting celebrations in the streets of Gaza City and West Bank cities.
“The Israeli soldier Shaul Aaron is in the hands of the Qassam Brigades,” a spokesman using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida said in a televised address.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said they were aware of the claim and were investigating.
More than half of Sunday’s Palestinian victims were killed in a blistering hours-long Israeli assault on Shejaiya, near Gaza City, which began before dawn and has so far claimed 62 Palestinian lives, with another 250 wounded.
With ambulances unable to reach the area, the International Committee of the Red Cross arranged a brief ceasefire that allowed paramedics to evacuate some of the dead and wounded before hostilities resumed.
Inside Shejaiya, there were hellish scenes of carnage and chaos as a convoy of ambulances moved in, an AFP correspondent said.
Entire buildings were collapsed on themselves or strewn into the streets, while others were ablaze, sending pillars of dark smoke skywards.
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