UK & World News

  • 11 July 2014, 1:54

Funerals In Gaza As Hamas And Israel Trade Fire

Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes have been laid to rest in Gaza, as Hamas militants and the Israeli military continue to exchange fire.

Hundreds of Palestinians turned out on Thursday for the funerals of the latest airstrike victims.

Video footage showed one father carrying the body of his young daughter through the streets of Gaza.

At least eight members of the same family, including five children, were killed after a house was hit in the southern city of Khan Younis.

In a separate incident, at least eight people died when a beach cafe was struck in an aerial attack.

Three days into Israel's Operation Protective Edge, the death toll in the Palestinian territory was believed to be at least 85.

President Barack Obama has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuthe US would be willing to help negotiate a ceasefire, the White House said.

Earlier, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonwarned there was a risk of an "all-out escalation" and urged both sides to agree to a "durable ceasefire".

Israel says the airstrikes are defensive and designed to target Hamas leaders and locations where it was concealing rockets which were being fired at Israelis.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) says it has targeted around 800 "terror sites", mostly tunnels, and has accused militants of deliberately hiding in populated areas and using civilians as human shields.

IDF spokesman Arye Shalicar told Sky News it was warning civilians before attacks.

He said: "We do our utmost to only target places being used by terrorists to fire on us.

"If there is a commander who uses his own house as a command centre, we make sure the people living in that house understand that we are about to attack, we knock on the roof before we target."

Sky's Tom Rayner visited a hospital in Gaza City, where a four-year-old girl had been badly injured in an attack.

Her aunt said 'enough was enough' and Israel and Hamas needed to stop firing at each other.

The IDF has reported continued rocket fire sent from Gaza and sirens have been heard in Jerusalem.

The army said the armed wing ofHamashas fired more than 365 rockets into Israel in the last three days.

It claimed a number of missiles had been intercepted over Tel Aviv, Netivot and the Shfela area. At least three rockets reportedly hit residential communities in the Negev.

There have been no Israeli deaths, but the barrages have seen Israelis running for shelter as sirens have sounded and paralysed business in southern communities.

The exchange of fire marks the heaviest fighting between Israel and Hamas since an eight-day battle in November 2012.

The Israeli cabinet has said it may also send in ground troops and has authorised the call-up of as many as 40,000 reservists.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has accused Israel of committing atrocities in Gaza.

"It's genocide - the killing of entire families is genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people," he said.

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