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Abbas demands Gaza Strip declared humanitarian disaster zone — Palestine ambassador

July 31, 2014, 14:30 UTC+3

The 24-day military operation has killed 1,400 Palestinians, including 300 children, and injured more than 8,000

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MOSCOW, July 31./ITAR-TASS/. Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas described the events in the Gaza Strip and requested the UN to recognize the situation at the international level. Meanwhile, the Israeli army is determined to continue the operation.

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.

According to Palestinian news agency Maan, no less than 240,000, or one in eight Palestinians, have left their homes during the time of the Israeli operation. Hundreds of thousands more in the enclave’s north received a warning from the Israeli army to evacuate. However, they have nowhere to turn to as UN schools and institutions are overcrowded, and there are not enough refugee camps.

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.

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