TEL AVIV, July 21. /ITAR-TASS/. At least 16 Palestinians, including seven children, have died in the Israeli army’s air strike at the Gaza Strip, spokesman for the Palestinian enclave’s rescue service Ashraf al-Qudra said on Monday.
The air strike was delivered on Sunday evening on the southern town of Rafah, the spokesman said.
The Israeli army launched its Operation Protective Edge against militants of the Hamas radical Islamic movement in the Gaza Strip on July 8. The operation’s ground phase started on July 17 and was preceded by massive artillery preparations and strikes from air and sea at the territory of the Palestinian enclave.
The operation involves large forces of the Israeli army’s infantry, engineering troops and tank units. The Israeli army has summoned 56,000 reservists for the operation and asked the government permission for additionally employing 18,000 men from the reserve.
Since July 8, when Israel started the air phase of its army operation in the Gaza Strip, over 370 Palestinians have been killed and more than 3,000 wounded.
The Israeli army’s press office earlier reported that at least 130 Palestinians had been killed since the start of the ground operation in the Gaza Strip, including 110 activists of radical organizations.
The Israeli army said that during the ground operation it had found 40 underground tunnels connecting rocket launch sites, weapons depots and command centers. Israel says the destruction of these tunnels is the main goal of the ground army operation in the Palestinian enclave
Since Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip, Israel’s army confirmed the death of five servicemen while at least other 17 were wounded.
Palestinians’ rocket attacks on Israeli cities have killed two Israelis over 13 days since the start of the air phase of the Israeli army’s operation in the Gaza Strip. As many as 400 Israelis have been hospitalized, including 283 people in a state of shock.
Palestinian radicals continue rocket attacks on Israel, despite the Israeli army’s operation in the Gaza Strip.
Over 130 rockets have been fired on Israeli cities from the Palestinian enclaveover the last 24 hours. Tel Aviv has come under rocket attack for the 20th time over the last 13 days.
About 2,000 rockets have been fired at Israeli cities from the Gaza Strip since July 8.
Hamas militants set a course for liberation of Israel-occupied Palestinian territories right from the start of their activity on December 14, 1987. The group has conducted a few dozen terrorist attacks against military and civilian facilities of Israel.
Hamas regularly shells Israel’s territory with homemade rockets. In response, Israel shells Gaza and holds military operations there to suppress militant activity and destroy Hamas’ military structure.