War in Gaza: 97 killed on 13th day, 13 Israel soldiers die

Kerry demands ‘stubborn’ Hamas agree to a truce

Tel Aviv, Gaza City, Washington: Israeli strikes on Gaza on Sunday killed 97 people, hiking the overall Palestinian death toll to 435 since the start of a major military campaign on July 8, health officials said.

The vast majority of Sunday;s dead were in Shejaiya between Gaza City and the Israeli border, with at least 62 people killed there in a blistering bombardment which began overnight.

At least 250 were wounded, raising the overall injury toll during the 13 days of violence to well above 3,000, he said. Also on Sunday, the Israeli army said 13 soldiers were killed in fighting inside the enclave.

Their deaths raised to 18 the total number of soldiers killed since Israel began a ground operation in Gaza late on Thursday, in what was the highest casualty figure since the 2006 Lebanon war.

In Washington, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday blamed Hamas for the continuation of the conflict in Gaza, saying the Islamic militants were refusing all ceasefire efforts.
“They've been offered a ceasefire and they’ve refused to take the ceasefire,” Mr Kerry told ABC Television, adding that Hamas has “stubbornly” refused efforts to defuse the conflict “even though Egypt and others have called for that ceasefire.”

By its behaviour, Hamas had “invited further actions” by the Israelis to stop the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, Mr Kerry said. “It's ugly, obviously. War is ugly, and bad things are going to happen. But they need to recognise their own responsibility,” he added, referring to the Hamas.

Israel warns journos

Israel’s Government Press Office warned foreign journalists it was not responsible for their safety in the Gaza Strip, where the Jewish state has launched an offensive against Palestinian militants.

“Gaza and its vicinity are a battleground. Covering the hostilities exposes journalists to life-threatening danger,” an e-mailed statement said. “Israel is not in any way responsible for injury or damage that may occur as a result of field reporting.” The GPO accredits journalists based in Israel, many of whom also cover events in the Palestinian Territories.

( Source : agencies )
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