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The 24-day military operation has killed 1,400 Palestinians, including 300 children, and injured more than 8,000, Palestine Ambassador to Russia Faed Mustafa told a news conference in Moscow on Thursday. Destruction was disastrous with more than 8,000 houses eliminated and some areas wiped off the face of the earth, the diplomat said. Shelling damaged 145 schools and destroyed 200 mosques. The Gaza Strip has been left without electricity and water supply for several days as Israeli fire destroyed the region’s only power station.
Abbas has requested UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to declare the enclave a humanitarian disaster zone and ensure medicine, drinking water and food supplies. Giving Palestinians who were forced to leave their homes safe shelters was a priority, he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday his country would eliminate the network of militants’ tunnels in the Gaza Strip, whether the truce is declared or not. The army had neutralized dozens of terrorist tunnels, he said, and was determined to complete the work with ceasefire or without it. Netanyahu added he would accept no truce proposal if this prevented his army from completing this major task.
A day earlier, Israeli Security Cabinet ruled that fire at Hamas targets will continue. On Thursday, the Israeli army was authorized to summon 16,000 reservists to continue the operation.