The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, confirmed Tuesday that it had destroyed an Israeli armor personnel carrier in the Toufah neighborhood, killing the soldiers inside. Since the ground offensive started by Israel in Gaza, Hamas said it had destroyed 36 Israeli military vehicles and its snipers had killed 11 Israeli soldiers, according to Al-Quds TV.
Hamas and Israel remained locked in fierce battles, despite mounting international pressure on the two to agree on a cease-fire as the death toll from the conflict passes 600.
As the conflict entered its third week, neither side showed any sign of willingness to pull back, with Israel pursuing a relentless campaign of shelling and airstrikes, and militants hitting back with rocket fire and attacks on troops operating on the ground.
Gaza medics say the Palestinian dead include many women and children, while 27 of the 29 Israeli victims were soldiers killed since a ground assault began late on July 17.
'No safe place for civilians' in Gaza: UN
Palestinian civilians in densely-populated Gaza have no place to hide from Israel's military offensive and children are paying the heaviest price, the United Nations said Tuesday, according to Reuters.
"There is literally no safe place for civilians," Jens Laerke, spokesman of the UN Office for Humanitarian Assistance, told a news briefing in Geneva.
Nearly 500 homes have been destroyed by Israeli airstrikes and 100,000 people have sought shelter in schools of the UN Relief and Works Agency, where they need food, water and mattresses, he said.
"According to an assessment by aid workers on ground at least 107,000 children need psycho-social support for the trauma they are experiencing such as death, injury or loss of their homes," Laerke said.
More than 1.2 million people in the enclave have no water or only limited access to water as power networks have been damaged or lack fuel for generators, he said.
"In addition, we do have reports of sewage flooding which is a threat to public health," he said.
Kerry, Ban intensify peace efforts
U.S. secretary of state John Kerry on Tuesday opened talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri and later met President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.
Washington's top diplomat, who has invested much of his tenure in an unsuccessful bid for a lasting Middle East peace agreement, said he would discuss the Egyptian proposal, which calls for a cease-fire followed by negotiations.
The talks were on "how we can build on it and hopefully find not only a way to a cease-fire but a way to deal with the underlying issues, which are very complicated," Kerry said.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who has also come to the Egyptian capital to push for a truce, was to hold separate talks with Sisi Tuesday before heading to occupied Jerusalem to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
World powers have urged Hamas to accept an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire and stop raining rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, demands it has so far resisted.
As the diplomatic push gathered steam, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas held talks in Doha, pledging to work together for a cease-fire and to lift the blockade on Gaza.
A senior Hamas official said the movement was insisting on a full agreement before it ceased firing.
There was no halt to the bloodshed in Gaza, with at least 20 people killed in fresh Israeli strikes Tuesday, raising the death toll since Israel launched its operation on July 8 to more than 600, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
Nine of Tuesday's dead were women, one of whom was pregnant, and the toll also included a four-year-old girl, and five members of the same family, who died in a strike on Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.
Another 3,640 people have been wounded.
Israel hits Al-Jazeera office
Al-Jazeera accused Israel Tuesday of attacking its station’s office in Gaza. According to a reporter from the channel, the office was evacuated after being attacked by what he described as intentional, heavy Israeli gunfire.
Israel has said Operation Protective Edge is to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza, and on July 17 it sent in ground troops to destroy cross-border tunnels used by Hamas militants to infiltrate southern Israel.
Since the offensive, more than 100,000 Gazans have fled their homes, seeking shelter in 69 schools run by the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.
Early Tuesday, the Israeli army said another two of its troops had been killed in clashes in Gaza a day earlier, raising Monday's toll to nine soldiers.
It said that a soldier Hamas claimed to have captured two days ago - Oron Shaul - was dead but that his body remains unaccounted for.
Overall, 27 soldiers have died in the past four days, with 13 killed Sunday alone in what was the bloodiest single day for the Israeli military since the Lebanon war of 2006.
Two Israeli civilians have also been killed by rocket fire.
Pro-Palestinian demonstration in Paris turns violent
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in the French capital, Paris, clashed with anti-riot police yesterday for the second consecutive day defying a ban on their rallies.
The unrest erupted in the city of Sarcelles, north of Paris, which has a large Jewish community.
French news reports said that police used rubber bullets against protesters who ransacked shops and burned cars.
The French government condemned the riots saying the violence that occurred has prompted the police to resort to using repression.
The French police arrested 44 protestors on Monday in the province of Barbes, northern Paris, during the riots.
Police said they banned the organization of pro-Palestinian demonstrations for security reasons.
Turkey doesn't sell oil to Israel: minister
Turkey's Energy Minister Taner Yildiz denied media reports that his country sells jet fuel and gas to Israel, World Bulletin quoted him saying yesterday.
In press statement Yildiz said: "Israel's occupation of Gaza is a serious obstacle to the development of energy projects in the East Mediterranean region."
He admitted that a number of firms use Turkey as a transit route for transporting oil to Israel.
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