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Gaza's latest flashpoints: 52 entire families killed in Israeli attacks

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza deepens as Israeli military attacks continue, while the Americans lead a new ceasefire initiative
More than 170,000 people have been displaced in Gaza as a result of the Israeli military offensive (AFP)

Israel’s offensive against Gaza entered its 18th day on Friday, and here are all the latest updates on what’s happening in the Palestinian coastal enclave as well as developments in international efforts to find a ceasefire agreement.


  • The death toll currently stands at 828 and is rising all the time, while at least 5,200 people have been injured. The UN says there are 170,000 displaced Palestinians, who have fled their homes.                                                                                                                                                                           
  • The Gaza Health Ministry said on Friday morning that there have been 52 instances where entire families have been killed in Israeli military attacks, ranging from families consisting of four to 21 people.                                                                                                                                                                                       
  • Two military planes from Morocco arrived in Cairo on Thursday, containing humanitarian supplies for Gaza. The UAE has provided similar aid, although it remains unclear how it will take for the goods to enter Gaza as Qatari donated fuel has sat in the Suez Canal awaiting clearance for almost a month.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
  • The military wing of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades, said 65 rockets were fired from Gaza on Thursday and claimed to have killed eight Israeli soldiers. The death toll in Israel stands at 35, consisting of 32 soldiers and three civilians.                                                                                       
  • Palestinians in Gaza were prevented from observing the holiest night in the Islamic calendar on Thursday, as Israeli airstrikes hit several mosques late afternoon. The night of Lailat al-Qadr usually sees mosques filled with people from midnight to 4am but in Gaza very few people attended due to fears of further military strikes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • The home of Salah al-Bardawil, prominent member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, was hit in Khan Younis on Thursday night. It isn’t clear whether he, or anyone else, was injured in the attack.                                                                                                                                          
  • The Interior Ministry in Gaza says it has established evidence Israel has used white phosphorous and internationally prohibited shrapnel. This has not been independently verified.                                                                                                                                                                            
  • In the town of Khuza’a in Khan Younis, south Gaza, the Health Ministry says Israeli forces have arrested those wounded in airstrikes after ambulances had picked them up for treatment. The ministry says two ambulance workers have been arrested as well.                                                  
  • The Palestinian Authority has provided 55mn New Israeli Shekels ($16mn) in aid to families in Gaza. Locals have decried this as a form of aid “to poor people in Gaza”, rather than emergency government funding.

Ceasefire efforts

  • US Secretary of State John Kerry has submitted a new ceasefire proposal to both sides, which was presented to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday evening.                                                                                                                                                                    
  • The new initiative proposes a week-long truce, starting Sunday, during which time Israel’s forces will not leave the Gaza Strip and will continue in their goal of finding and destroying Hamas tunnels.                                                                                                                                              
  • During the truce both sides will begin negotiations on a more permanent agreement, via mediation by Egypt. The Palestinian Authority will also participate in these discussions.                                                                                                                                                                         
  • The US, UN and EU will make guarantees to both sides that the negotiations will address both of their key issues: for Israel, the destruction of tunnels and an end to rocket fire; for Gaza, an end to the blockade and a plan for repairing the infrastructure damage.                                         
  • There has been no response to the ceasefire proposal from either side, with Kerry waiting for Hamas’ answer to be communicated by the Qatari and Turkish foreign ministers.

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