Scores of Palestinians killed, wounded as conflict continues
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — After a night of sustained Israeli strikes by air and sea and a morning of rocket attacks on Israel, the Health Ministry here said Monday that the Palestinian death toll in six days of conflict had risen to 91 with 700 wounded, including 200 children, as the assault ground on unrelentingly despite efforts toward a cease-fire.
The casualties — 19 people reported killed since midnight local time — included Palestinians killed in strikes by warplanes and a drone attack on two men on a motorcycle. Another drone attack killed the driver of a taxi hired by journalists and displaying “Press” signs, although it was not clear which journalists hired it, Palestinian officials said. On Sunday, Israeli forces attacked two buildings housing local broadcasters and production companies used by foreign outlets, but Israeli officials denied targeting journalists.
An Israeli bomb pummeled a home deep into the ground here Sunday, killing 11 people, including nine in three generations of a single family, in the deadliest single strike in six days of cross-border conflict. Members of the family were buried Monday in a rite that turned into a gesture of defiance and became a rally supporting Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.
A militant leader said Tel Aviv, in the Israeli heartland, would be hit “over and over” and warned Israelis that their leaders were misleading them and would “take them to hell.”
The airstrikes further indicated that Israel was striking a wide range of targets. Three Israelis have been killed and at least 79 wounded by continued rocket fire into southern Israel and as far north as Tel Aviv.
Israel says its onslaught is designed to stop Hamas from launching the rockets, but, after an apparent lull overnight, more missiles hurtled toward targets in Israel, some of them intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. Of five rockets fired on Monday at the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, four were intercepted but one smashed through the concrete roof at the entrance to an empty school. There were no reports of casualties. Other rockets rained on areas along the border with Gaza.
Later a second volley struck Ashkelon. Several rockets were intercepted, but one crashed down onto a house, causing damage but no casualties. News reports said 75 rockets had been fired by midafternoon.
On Sunday, a new blitz of Palestinian rockets totaled nearly 100 by nightfall, including two that soared toward the population center of Tel Aviv but were knocked out of the sky by Israeli defenses.
In a statement Monday, the Israel Defense Forces said overnight targets included “underground rocket launchers, terror tunnels, training bases, Hamas command posts and weapon storage facilities.”
But news reports said the strikes flattened two houses belonging to a single family, killing two children and two adults and injuring 42 people, while a shrapnel burst from another attack killed one child and wounded others living near the rubble of the former national security compound.