posted at 03:51
Author: The Associated Press
Israel Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels
Netanyahu's vow came as international efforts to end the 23-day-old conflict seemed to sputter despite concern over the mounting death toll, with more than 1,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 50 Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, killed since July 8. At least 116 Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers were killed Wednesday. Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to discuss the matter with the press, an Israeli defense official said the purpose of the latest call-up was to provide relief for troops currently on the Gaza firing line. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers and three civilians on the Israeli side have been killed since the offensive began, as Palestinians have fired hundreds of rockets at Israel - some reaching major cities - and carried out attacks through tunnels beneath the heavily guarded frontier. Israeli fire near another U.N. school in Gaza killed more than a dozen people the day before, drawing international condemnation. "We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in U.N. designated shelters in Gaza," said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the White House's National Security Council. Later on Wednesday, an Israeli airstrike hit a crowded shopping area in the Shijaiyah district in Gaza City, killing at least 16 people, including Palestinian video journalist Rami Rayan, who was wearing a press vest at the time, and wounding more than 200 people, al-Kidra said. Israeli officials have said Hamas uses Gaza's civilians as human shields by firing rockets from crowded neighborhoods.

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