Israeli strikes kill 10 Palestinians ahead of ceasefire

Photo: Israeli strikes kill 10 Palestinians ahead of ceasefire
 / Arab-Israel Relations

Ten Palestinians were killed by Israeli strikes throughout the Gaza Strip early Monday, raising the Palestinian toll from the four-week conflict between Israel and Hamas to 1,822, Agence-France Presse reported.

A child was killed in the city of Rafah, south of Gaza in addition to five people in Jabalia in the north, three in the Gaza City neighborhoods Zeitun and Sheikh Radwan, and one in Nuseirat in central Gaza, Gaza emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra tolf AFP.

These strikes will purportedly halt for seven hours after Israel announced a "humanitarian" ceasefire on Monday, the military said.

The ceasefire is said will last between 0700 GMT and 1400 GMT, Al Arabiya reported.

The ceasefire will exclude an area south of the southern city of Rafah, as the Israeli military will continue fighting there, an army statement said.

Head of the Israeli military activities in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, General Yoav Mordechai, warned in the statement that "if the truce will be violated, the army will respond with fire toward the source of the (Palestinian) fire during the declared hudna," or truce.

Mordechai also called on residents of Abasan al Kabira and Abasan al Saghira, two villages east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, to return to their homes beginning 0500 GMT on Monday.

These strikes follow a deadly attack Sunday on a United Nations-run school in Rafah that was condemned by the U.N. and the United States.

"The coordinates of the school, like all U.N. facilities in Gaza, have been repeatedly communicated to the Israel Defense Forces," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in the statement. "We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties."

The U.S. condemnation follows one by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who depicted the shelling near the Rafah school as both "a moral outrage and a criminal act."

Meanwhile, Ban condemned the "recent upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks, particularly in Europe, in connection with protests concerning the escalation of violence in Gaza," a spokesman said.

Ban "firmly believes that the conflict needs to be solved through an immediate cessation of violence and negotiations," the statement added.

More than 1,700 Palestinians were killed and 7,000 were injured as a result of Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip.

Some 20 mosques and more than five hospitals were completely destroyed
during the hostilities.

The Israeli army lost some 131 servicemen during the hostilities in Gaza, Turkish Anadolu agency reported citing the military wing of Hamas movement. However, the Israeli authorities have not confirmed this information.

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