Some 16 Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli attacks on Gaza since midnight, as reports of a new ceasefire proposal surfaced on the 18th day of the offensive on the Strip.
Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Palestinian ministry of health, said that the latest deaths brought the death toll since the beginning of the assault to 815.
Over 5,240 Palestinians have been injured since the beginning of the Israeli offensive, al-Qidra said.
The deadliest Israeli airstrike of the night targeted the Rafah family home of 45-year-old Salah Ahmad Abu Hasanin, killing him and three of his sons and injuring 14 others.
His sons were 15-year-old Abd al-Aziz, 12-year-old Hadi, and nine-year-old Abd al-Hadi.
Abu Hasanin was a leader in Islamic Jihad’s al-Quds Brigades.
Shayma Hussein Abd al-Qader Qannan, 23, was killed in an Israeli shelling on the al-Sheikh Ali family home in Deir al-Balah. The woman was pregnant, and medics in al-Aqsa Martyrs’ hospital were able to save her baby.
Suleiman al-Shawwaf was killed in Abasan in eastern Khan Younis and three others were injured in Israeli attacks on the area.
Ali Muhammad Asfour, 58, Samir Abdulal al-Najjar, 25, and Muhammad Ibrahim al-Khatib, 27, were also killed in Israeli attacks on Khan Younis.
Eid Muhammad Abu Qteifan, 23, was killed in another attack on Deir al-Balah.
An Israeli army statement said that “since midnight, 8 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, whereas 1 was intercepted, and 7 hit Israeli territory.”
“Overnight the IDF targeted 45 terror activity sites. Amongst them was a military command post, which included Hamas internal security offices and the office of a Hamas senior operative, Ra’at Habat,” the statement said.
“Earlier this morning, in a combined IDF-ISA (army-Shin Bet intelligence agency) effort, Salah Abu Hasim, a member of the PIJ Military Council, was targeted in the southern Gaza Strip.”
Truce Efforts Renewed
Signs of renewed efforts for a Gaza ceasefire were evident on Friday, the day after Israel shelled a UN shelter killing at least 17 Palestinians.
US Secretary of State Kerry, in Cairo trying to negotiate a ceasefire, reached out to Hamas allies Turkey and Qatar on Thursday as he sought to further regional efforts to broker an end to the bloodshed.
His efforts are focused on a week-long humanitarian ceasefire, during which intensive negotiations will tackle the blockade of Gaza and other disputes, Western and Palestinian officials said.
Israel’s secretive security cabinet was expected to meet later in the day to discuss truce proposals passed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in the week, Israeli media said.
Those reports came after an Israeli shell slammed into a UN facility sheltering displaced Gazans on Thursday, prompting UN chief Ban Ki-Moon to say he was “appalled” at the incident which “underscores the imperative for the killing to stop — and to stop now”.
The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations wrote to the Security Council demanding action.
“We demand an immediate, impartial, and thorough investigation into this grave incident in order to establish accountability and bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice,” said the letter, a copy of which was received by AFP.
Palestinians Succumb to Wounds amid Ongoing Strikes
Maram Rajeh Fayyad, 26, from Deir al-Balah succumbed to wounds sustained in an earlier strike.
Mahmoud Suleiman al-Astal, 17, and Laila Ibrahim Zurub, 40, in addition to three unidentified others, succumbed to wounds in Gaza’s European hospital.
Mahmoud Asaad Ghabn, 24, succumbed to his wounds in al-Shifaa medical center.
Rabbu Affanah, 28, and Rasmiyeh Salameh, 24, succumbed to their wounds in Khan Younis.
Additionally, al-Qidra said that many were injured in Israeli airstrikes on Sharab family home in Khan Younis.
He added that a Ministry of Health ambulance was targeted by airstrikes on its way to Gaza European hospital from Nasser hospital in Khan Younis.
The driver, doctor, and nurse were injured after being hit by one missile, but were able to flee before the ambulance was hit by another two strikes, destroying it.
Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes targeted Hamza Mosque in Khan Younis with two airstrikes.
(Ma’an and agencies – www.maannews.net)