Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Death toll in Gaza continues to rise after short lived ceasefire fails

By Charlotte Armstrong - August 02, 2014
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Gaza] [Operation Protective Edge]

 Palestinians in Gaza prepare graves for the dead | Reuters


The Israeli officer missing in Gaza was likely killed in an airstrike, Hamas said on Saturday as Israel's 'Operation Protective Edge’ entered its 26th day. It was reported that 23-year-old Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was abducted during clashes with Palestinian fighters early Friday in Rafah, an area in southern Gaza. 

“We lost contact with the group of combatants that took part in the ambush, and we believe they were all killed in the bombardment. Assuming that they managed to abduct the soldier during combat, we assess that he was also killed in the incident,” Hamas’ military wing explained in a statement on their website early Saturday.  

Two other soldiers were killed in the same attack, raising the number of Israeli military fatalities to 63. The announcement came not long after a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire agreed upon by Israel and Hamas collapsed within two hours of being launched.

The short-lived ceasefire

A statement released by Hamas’ military wing firmly blamed Israel for the quick collapse of the ceasefire brokered by the US and UN. “What happened east of Rafah Friday morning was that occupation forces took advantage of the alleged humanitarian ceasefire to penetrate our land for more than two kilometres. We estimate that our fighters who were in the area clashed with the Israeli troops around 7:00, before the alleged ceasefire went into effect.” 

However, the Israeli military have claimed that the attack occurred at 9:30 a.m, an hour and a half into the ceasefire. 

Although the exact timing of the attack remains disputed, the US quickly accepted Israel’s version of the event and released a statement condemning Hamas for its “barbaric violation of the ceasefire.” President Barack Obama later warned Hamas that the soldier needs to be “unconditionally released” if they are “serious about trying to trying to resolve this situation.”

Retaliation in Rafah

According to Al-Jazeera, at least 70 people were killed and 100 wounded when Israel resumed its bombardment of the besieged Gaza strip shortly after the alleged abduction of Hadar Goldin. It isreported that at least 35 of the Palestinians killed overnight were slain in the Rafah region.  

There have also been fatalities in the West Bank as Hamas called on Palestinians to participate in 'Day of Anger’ demonstrations in solidarity with Gaza. It is reported that live bullets used by Israeli forces in Hebron injured over 90 people on Friday. 

Israeli forces also shot and killed on Friday 22-year-old Tamer Faraj Sammur during a demonstration in Tulkarem, a city located in the north of the West Bank, and 19-year-old Odai Nafiz Jabr during clashes in a village west of Ramallah. This brings the three-week death toll in the West Bank to 15. In this time over 1,600 people have been killed in Gaza; a number that now exceeds the total people killed in Israel’s 2008-2009 assault, 'Operation Cast Lead’. 

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