Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip on Friday killed six persons, including a pregnant woman and two children, taking the Palestinian toll to 815, as the 18 day conflict threatens to spread to the West Bank after death of two youths in anti-Israel protests in north of Jerusalem.
Gaza emergency services officials said that a top leader of Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, a Hamas ally, and his sons were also killed on Friday in Israeli attacks.
Another raid killed a 23-year-old pregnant woman in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah after her house was hit. However, surgeons saved the life of the woman’s unborn child.
Hamas military wing claimed it fired three rockets targeting Israel’s Ben Gurion International airport. Israeli forces were put on high alert for possible clashes in Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem during Friday prayers marking the final stretch of the month of Ramadan.
The Israeli move came after two Palestinian protesters were killed and many others injured in clashes with Israeli police in the north of Jerusalem on Thursday. Protests were also held in Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Jerusalem neighbourhoods.
Israeli offensive overnight killed 42 Palestinians, as international efforts for a ceasefire intensified after over 15 Palestinians died and 200 others injured in an Israeli strike on a UN-run school in Hamas-ruled northern Gaza Strip.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack, which came hours after the agency had warned that Israel’s actions in the Gaza could constitute war crimes.
According to the UN, more than 118,000 people are now sheltering in UN schools and people are running out of food.
Palestinian toll now stands at 815 killed and more than 5,000 injured. Thirty two Israeli soldiers, two civilians and a Thai worker in Israel have also been killed in the conflict.
Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu said that he regretted each Palestinian civilian death, but said they were the responsibility of Hamas. He also said that the operation is “continuing in full force” and Hamas conditions for a cease-fire are a non-starter.