GAZA DEATH TOLL SOARS DESPITE CALLS FOR TRUCE

92 Palestinians killed in 6 days of airstrikes

AL JAZEERA AND AGENCIES

Gaza, Nov 19: Israeli airstrikes have pounded Gaza for a sixth day successive day, raising to 92 the number of Palestinians killed, as the UN Secretary-General calls for an immediate ceasefire.
 Three people, including two children, were killed and 30 others were injured in the latest air strike before dawn on Monday on a family home in the Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza City, medical officials said.
 Israel bombed 80 locations in Gaza overnight, the military said on Monday, as officials prepare for a ground offensive if talks for a truce fail.
 Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, was due to arrive in Cairo to add his weight to the truce efforts after Egypt took the lead in trying to negotiate a ceasefire and its officials met the parties on Sunday.
 Israeli media said a delegation from Israel had been to Cairo for talks on ending the attacks.
 Muhammad Morsi, Egypt's president, met Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, and Ramadan Shallah of Islamic Jihad as part of the mediation efforts.
 Gaza health officials said that 84 Palestinians, at least 23 of them children and several women, had been killed since Israel's airstrikes began.
 Hundreds of others have been wounded, and Palestinian hospitals are struggling to cope.


CIVILIAN CASUALTIES
 The Israeli army said it had fired missiles at more than 1,300 locations in Gaza since Wednesday, and that 544 rockets were fired back against Israel. Three Israelis have been killed and a few dozen wounded.
 The army said that about 302 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome and 99 failed to reach Israel and landed inside Gaza.
 Ashraf al-Kidra, a spokesperson of the health ministry in Gaza, said on Sunday that civilians accounted for half of the Palestinian toll. More than 750 other Palestinians have been wounded.
 In the single deadliest attack of the Israeli operation so far, 12 civilians were killed in Sunday's air attack on a four-storey house in northern Gaza City, health officials said.
 Two or three missiles fired by F-16 fighter jets reduced the house in the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood to rubble, witnesses said.
 Five women, including one 80-year-old, and four small children were among the dead, Kidra said.
 The Israeli military said that they had mistakenly bombed the home due to a technical error while targeting a senior Hamas official, the Haaretz newspaper reported.
 The report says that the military admitted killing mainly "unarmed civilians, including children and infants", and that the source of the error was either the failure to paint the target of the attack on the correct site or that one of the munitions in the strike misfired.
 Earlier, medical sources in Gaza said at least three children - including an 18-month-old infant - and two women were killed in an air raid east of Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.


'IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE'
 Ban expressed concern in a statement before setting off for the region. He will visit Israel on Tuesday.
 "I am deeply saddened by the reported deaths of more than ten members of the Dalu family... (and) by the continuing firing of rockets against Israeli towns, which have killed several Israeli civilians," Ban said
 "I strongly urge the parties to cooperate with all efforts led by Egypt to reach an immediate ceasefire," he said.
 Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, said that he had assured world leaders that Israel was doing its utmost to avoid causing civilian casualties. However, many of the Palestinians killed are women and children.
 Fighters in Gaza launched dozens of rockets and targeted Tel Aviv for a fourth day on Sunday. Israel's "Iron Dome" missile shield shot down all three rockets.
 In scenes recalling Israel's 2008 war on Gaza, tanks, artillery and infantry have massed in field encampments along the sandy, fenced-off border with Gaza and military convoys moved on roads in the area.
 Israel has authorised the call-up of 75,000 reservists, although there was no immediate sign when or whether they might be needed in a ground invasion.
 Israel's operation has so far drawn Western support for what US and European leaders have called its right to self-defence, but there have also been a growing number of appeals to seek an end to the attacks against civilians.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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