Family of five killed as Israel bombs Gaza homes, mosques

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Palestinian men watch as a bomb from an Israeli airstrike explodes on target in Gaza City on August 23, 2014. (Photo: AFP - Roberto Schmidt)

Published Saturday, August 23, 2014

Updated 2:40 pm (GMT+3): Israeli warplanes bombed civilian sites, including mosques and homes, across Gaza on Saturday, killing five Palestinians from the same family, two of them children, as the US-backed terror campaign against the besieged strip entered a 47th day.

Eighty-one Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded since Tuesday, when truce talks collapsed ending nine days of relative calm, bringing the overall death toll to 2,097.

The Israeli occupation army said it had carried out more than 20 airstrikes over the Gaza Strip on Saturday and that Palestinian fighters hit back with at least three rockets or mortar rounds.

Witnesses and Palestinian officials said two mosques were destroyed in the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza, while a third, in the Shati refugee camp, which had already been damaged, was bombed again.

The deadliest Israeli airstrike on Saturday levelled a home in al-Zawayda in central Gaza, killing a couple, their sons aged three and four, and a 45-year-old aunt, medics said.

Distraught mourners gathered at the cemetery, clawing at the dry soil and using their bare hands to fill in the graves after laying marble slabs over the bodies in the burning morning sun.

Neighbors said the family house had been bombed earlier in the conflict and that the family had returned to camp out in the ruins, when it was hit overnight by an F16.

A 64-year-old Palestinian man was also killed and seven other people wounded in another airstrike south of Gaza City, medics said.

Another seven Palestinians were wounded in an Israeli strike that struck a house in Zeitoun, east of Gaza City.

The fresh rampage against Gaza comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened on Friday to make Hamas "pay a heavy price" after an Israeli boy was killed by shrapnel in Israeli occupied territory.

The boy was the only Israeli child killed since the Israeli assault on Gaza began on July 8.

More than 500 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli airstrikes and shelling since that date.

At least 2,097 Palestinians have been killed since July 8, the vast majority of them civilians. The United Nations says 70 percent of the Palestinian dead are civilians.

On the Israeli side, 68 people have died, all but three or four of them soldiers.

On Friday, Hamas executed 18 people it accused of collaborating with Israel a day after three of its top commanders were assassinated in Israeli airstrikes.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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