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Gaza death toll hits 370 on day 13 of conflict


An Israeli soldier carries ammunition outside the Gaza Strip July 20, 2014. Photo - Reuters

At least 20 people were killed in a big Israeli assault east of Gaza City on Sunday, hiking the overall Palestinian death toll to 370, medics said.

As the bloodshed entered its 13th day, Israel confirmed another two soldiers had been killed on Saturday night, raising the Israeli toll to seven dead, five of them soldiers killed since the ground operation began late on Thursday.

In Gaza, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said the numbers were set to leap following a night of intensive bombardment of the eastern districts of Shejaiya and Zeitun as well as in Jabaliya in the north.

So far, at least 20 bodies had been retrieved from the eastern Shejaiya district, but ongoing fire was preventing the evacuation of many more, among them women and children, he said.

"The vast majority of those killed and injured so far are civilians," he said, putting the overall number of those wounded at more than 3,000.

Earlier, Qudra said at least six people had been killed in heavy shelling east of Gaza City, among them a woman, two children and the son of senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya.

Another seven people were killed in the southern city of Rafah overnight by both tank fire and air strikes.

And a 29-year-old man died in an air strike in central Gaza.

Since the military started Operation Protective Edge on July 8 in a bid to stamp out rocket fire, 1,333 rockets have struck Israel, with another 360 intercepted by the Iron Dome air defence system, the army said.


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