GAZA CITY: Thirty-nine Gazans were killed on Friday as Israel pressed a major ground offensive in the coastal enclave, raising the overall Palestinian death toll since July 8 to 280, medics said.
An Israeli soldier was also killed as troops began an offensive on the Gaza periphery aimed at destroying Hamas’s network of cross-border tunnels, the army said.
The latest deaths included four children killed in tank shelling east of Gaza City, ranging in age from two to 13-years-old, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.Among them were brothers Emad Alwan, seven, and Qasem Alwan, four.
In the southern city of Rafah meanwhile, a man was killed by tank shelling, and in Khan Yunis, a 23-year-old died of wounds sustained earlier in the week.
The deaths raised the toll in Gaza during the 11 days of the conflict to 280, as Israel pressed a ground operation it announced on Thursday night.
Earlier, three people were killed in Khan Yunis in the south, one man killed in Nusseirat in central Gaza and another death was reported in a cemetery in the northern Gaza Strip, Qudra said.
Elsewhere, medics found the bodies of another four people: two of them just to the east of the southern city of Rafah, and another two in Khan Yunis, one of them a 17-year-old, he said.
Another eight people had earlier been killed in and around the northern town of Beit Hanun, among them three teenagers.