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Palestinian toll in Gaza rises to 476

21 July 2014, 08:20

Gaza City - The number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire in the latest round of Gaza violence rose to 476, medics said, after announcing the deaths of 38 people early on Monday.

Emergency services spokesperson for the Gaza Strip Ashraf al-Qudra said they had found the bodies of three children and a man in a demolished home east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza.

Another 34 have been found dead after blistering Israeli airstrikes on Sunday, ten of them in Shejaiya east of Gaza City, bringing the toll there to 72.

Qudra said 80% of the fatalities in Shejaiya were "old men, women and children." He said another 400 Palestinians were wounded there.

Qudra's toll included deaths over the past 15 days.

Since the Israeli military started Operation Protective Edge on 8 July in a bid to stamp out rocket fire, Palestinian militants have fired 1 414 mortars and rockets that hit Israel, with the Iron Dome air defence system intercepting another 377, the army said.

On Sunday the Israeli army said 13 soldiers had been killed inside Gaza on the third day of a major ground operation, raising to 18 the number of soldiers killed since the ground operation began late on Thursday.

Another two Israeli civilians had been killed by rocket fire from Gaza.

Late on 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 spokesperson using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida said in a televised address.

A spokesperson for the Israeli military said they were investigating the claim.

However Israel's UN ambassador Ron Prosor denied the kidnapping, saying: "Those rumors are untrue".



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