Gaza Death Toll ‘Rises above 600’

The death toll in Gaza rose above 600 on Tuesday as emergency teams pulled dead bodies from the rubble of homes destroyed by Israeli strikes on the 15th day of the assault.

Palestinian medical sources announced the death of Ahmad Abu Seido by Israeli shelling on a park in eastern Gaza City, raising the day’s toll to 27.

Rescue teams removed body of a man from rubble in Shujaiyya neighborhood.

Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra earlier announced another victim as four-year-old girl Muna Rami al-Kharawt in the northern Gaza Strip.

The bodies of two women were also removed from the debris of their homes in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City, al-Qidra said.

He identified the two victims as 70-year-old Fatima Hasan Azzam and 50-year-old Maryam Hasan Azzam.

Additionally, emergency teams pulled the body of Muhammad al-Hindi from a destroyed building in Tal al-Hawa in southern Gaza.

Earlier Tuesday, over a dozen Palestinians were killed after Israeli airstrikes and artillery hit their homes.

Israeli media had earlier quoted a Hamas official as saying there were negotiations for a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire to begin at 10 a.m.

Israeli officials rejected the proposal, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Since the start of the offensive, more than 100,000 Gazans have fled their homes, seeking shelter in 69 schools run by the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

Overall, 27 soldiers have died in the past four days, with 13 killed on Sunday alone in what was the bloodiest single day for the Israeli military since the Lebanon war of 2006.

Two Israeli civilians have also been killed by rocket fire.

Hamas’ main condition for halting its fire is a lifting of Israel’s eight-year blockade on the enclave, but it also wants “the release of those recently detained” in the West Bank, Ismail Haniyeh, the movement’s top Gaza-based official, said late on Monday.

Cross-border rocket fire has continued despite the operation, with 116 rockets hitting Israel on Monday, one striking the greater Tel Aviv area, and another 17 shot down.

(Ma’an and agencies – wwww.maannews.net)

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