The death toll from this week’s Israeli airstrikes on Gaza has risen to at least 75, with 550 wounded.
At least 550 sites have been hit. Israeli authorities say the attacks are in response to more than 200 rockets fired into Israel from Gaza since Monday.
Hospitals in Gaza said they are being overwhelmed with casualties. Egypt opened the Rafah crossing to evacaute and treat the wounded.
Among the dead are eight civilians, including five children, in an airstrike that hit at least two houses in a densely-populated area near Khan Younis while residents were asleep. At least 25 people were wounded.
The Israeli Defense Forces said the family returned prematurely to the home after being warned by the IDF that the site would be targeted.
A high-ranking officer said the IDF will continues bomb the homes of senior Hamas operatives, even if residents of a targeted building try stand on the roof as human shields: “We will take down those houses.”
One of the Israeli attacks on Wednesday blew up the house of Hafez Hamad, a leader of the military wing of Islamic Jihad, killing him and at least four of his family, including women and children.
Another strike targeted the house of a commander in the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal urged Israelis to force their leaders to halt the attacks:
(Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu will take you from disaster to disaster. They (the Government) will give you nothing but defeat and destruction.
You kill our people. The world is aware — the war has been forced upon us. We have not forced this war.
Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Economy Minister and the leader of the right-wing Jewish Home party, responded:
Meshaal was talking nonsense as usual.
We are going to continue the pressure and we are going to expand our operation….(We will) haunt the Hamas terror group until they stop shooting missiles”.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, said in a meeting with officials, “It’s genocide –– the killing of entire families is genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people.”
Arab nations called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council and immediate action to end what Israel’s “outrageous onslaught” against Palestinians.
(Featured Photo: Thomas Coex — AFP/Getty)