Israeli campaign on Gaza enters 7th day

The death toll on the seventh day of an Israeli offensive against the Hamas-run Gaza Strip has killed more than 170 people, Al Arabiya News Channel reported Monday.

Two Palestinian citizens, a man and a woman, died in the early hours of Monday due to injuries caused by Israeli attacks the day before, medics were quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge last Tuesday in what it said was a response to heavy rocket fire out of Gaza.

The military says it has launched more than 1,300 airstrikes, while Palestinian gunmen have launched more than 800 rockets at Israel.

On Sunday, thousands of Palestinian residents of the northern Gaza Strip fled their homes in Beit Lahiya and sought safety in U.N. shelters, heeding warnings from the Israeli military about impending plans to bomb the area.

Since then, a single air strike landed on farmland outside the town, causing no casualties, Palestinians said, according to Reuters, It was largely quiet in the early hours of Monday.

Meanwhile, Israel said one rocket was fired from Gaza, without causing damage.

The fighting showed no signs of slowing, despite international calls for a ceasefire and growing concerns about the mounting civilian deaths.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry offered on Sunday to help secure a Gaza truce.

Kerry's bid to broker a wider peace deal collapsed in April when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called off negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over his surprise power-share with Hamas.

His ceasefire call was echoed by France and by Germany, which will send its foreign minister to the region on Monday.

A U.S. official quoted by Reuters said that Kerry, in a phone conversation with Netanyahu, "described his engagement with leaders in the region to help to stop the rocket fire so calm can be restored and civilian casualties prevented."

That referred to an Egyptian-mediated accord that doused the last big Gaza flare-up. Cairo is now again seeking calm. Hamas, said it also received U.S. overtures through Abbas and Qatar.

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