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Israeli shells hit Gaza hospital, four killed, 70 suffer injuries
22-07-2014

JERUSALEM: Four people have been killed and 70 suffered injuries after Israeli tank shells hit a hospital in central Gaza, according to Palestinian medics. Thirty of those wounded in the attack were reportedly medical staff.

Health official Ashraf al Kidra said 12 shells hit the intensive care unit, surgery department and administration building at the al Aqsa hospital in the town of Deir el-Balah. Footage on Hamas’ al Aqsa TV station showed chaotic scenes at the facility.

In an earlier Israeli airstrike, 26 members of the same family were killed near Gaza’s southern border with Egypt. Israel also suffered more deaths, with seven soldiers killed in a gun battle, said the country’s military.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army claimed it had killed more than 10 Hamas militants who entered Israel via cross-border tunnels. Grainy video released by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) showed what appeared to be Hamas gunmen in a firefight with Israeli forces before they were hit by an airstrike.

The film showed several armed men lying in the grass near what Israel claimed was the exit to the tunnel on the Israeli side. After exchanging fire the men appear to retreat before they are hit by what Israel claimed was an airstrike. There was no way of verifying the video.

Military radio claimed the “second terrorist squad” tried to approach Niram kibbutz, close to Gaza’s north-eastern tip, where they engaged in gunfire with Israeli soldiers. Several soldiers were hurt, the radio report said, without giving further details.

Hamas’ armed wing the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades claimed it had carried out “an operation behind enemy lines in response to the massacre in Shejaiya.”

The attack came as the UN Security Council urged an “immediate cessation of hostilities” in a call echoed by US President Barack Obama in a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has flown to Cairo to join UN chief Ban Ki-moon to try to broker an end to the two-week-long conflict. But a ceasefire could still be some way away.