UNITED NATIONS, July 22, /ITAR-TASS/. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed over the past day since escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported Monday.
“The past 24 hours marked the deadliest period since the current escalations of violence began, with 107 Palestinians killed, including 23 women and 35 children,” the UNRWA said.
“Tragically, the total number of children killed in the current conflict has now passed 100 and represents almost one quarter of all Palestinian fatalities. 13 Israeli soldiers were reportedly killed in this 24-hour period,” it said.
The densely populated Shejayeh area, in the Eastern part of Gaza City, suffered the most extreme levels of violence during this period, with at least 72 Palestinians killed [38 men, 13 women and 21 children] in a major escalation of the Israel Defense Forces ground offensive, the agency said.
In response to escalating violence between Israel and Hamas, the UNRWA declared an emergency in all five areas of the Gaza Strip on July 7. The number of displaced people has since exceeded 84,000 in 67 schools.
“UNRWA has launched an emergency flash appeal for $60 million to respond to the urgent and pressing humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, including the thousands who have already fled their homes to seek safety in UNRWA facilities,” the agency said.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo on Tuesday as part of his Middle East tour aimed at contributing to a truce in Gaza. Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric told journalists that talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby and US Secretary of State John Kerry are expected to take place in the Egyptian capital.
The day before, Ban held meetings with Qatari Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Israeli-Palestinian relations grew sour after June 12, 2014, when three Jewish teenagers were abducted in the West Bank. Later the teenagers were found killed. Israel accused militants of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), which controls the Gaza Strip, of committing the crime.
On July 8, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces announced the start of the operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip against Hamas militants. The IDF made strikes on 50 targets in the Gaza Strip, most of which were launching platforms for rockets. Five Palestinians were killed and some 20 were wounded.