UPDATE 0845 GMT: The Gazan death toll has topped 900 as the bodies of at least another 35 Gazans have been recovered from rubble this morning during the 12-hour humanitarian pause.
Thirteen bodies were recovered in Shaja’ia, east of Gaza City, taking deaths from last week’s Israeli bombardment to near 100.
Thirteen dead were retrieved in Deir al-Balah and Nusseirat in central Gaza, and nine in north Gaza.
UPDATE 0545 GMT: At least 20 Gazans, including 11 children, have been killed by Israeli shelling of a building in Khan Yunis.
The building was inhabited by dozens who fled the village of Khouza’a, east of Khan Yunis, after mass casualties on Wednesday from Israeli strikes.
Israeli forces in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip continued shelling of a hospital on Friday night.
About 60 medical staff, three patients, and two international activists are still in the hospital. Several people were injured by the attacks.
“It’s now chaos, the military is shelling directly at us. There are two patients on the second floor and we think they’re okay, but we can’t move them easily as they’re bed-bound. I’m bleeding from a head wound and there’s another person injured. People are very frightened,” Fred Ekblad, a Swedish activist, said.
The Israeli Government and Hamas have both rejected a proposal by US Secretary of State John Kerry for a ceasefire in the 18-day war in Gaza.
Both sides reportedly agreed on Saturday morning to a 12-hour pause in attacks, although there is still some confusion: Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said the army is planning to expand ground operations.
Israel radio reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Cabinet were divided over the Kerry proposal, with some ministers supporting Yaalon and warning against any gain for Hamas.
In Cairo, where diplomats have been working this week for an end to the Israeli invasion and Hamas rocket fire, Kerry insisted that West Jerusalem had not rejected his initiative:
The basic outline is approved by everyone. People believe that if the structures are right, a ceasefire is right. But it obviously has to be in ways that either side feels prejudiced….[Israel] had some opposition to some concepts.
Hamas officials said earlier on Friday that the plan was too favorable to Israel. The Gazan leadership is insisting that any proposal include substantive measures such as an end to the Israeli blockade on Gaza and the release of Palestinian detainees from Israeli prisons.
Another 55 Gazans were killed on Friday, with more than 850 slain since Israeli air attacks began on July 8, followed by the ground invasion on July 17. More than 160,000 are now in United Nations shelters, one of which was attacked by Israel on Thursday with the loss of 15 lives and at least 200 injured.
In the West Bank, five more Palestinian protesters were killed on Friday by Israeli forces, bringing the total to seven in two days as thousands of demonstrators demanded an end to the attakcs on Gaza.
About 250 people were injured, many by gunshots, yesterday.
Three Israeli soldiers were killed on Friday and 13 wounded. Israel has lost 36 troops and one is missing since the start of the ground invasion.
Two Israeli civilians and one foreign worker have been killed by Gazan rockets
(Featured Photo: Adel Hana — AP)