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                                        Volume. 12115

Hamas fighters stop Israel in first ground offensive on Gaza
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c_330_235_16777215_0___images_stories_edim_01_Gaza99(8).jpgIsraeli navy commandos made the first ground incursion into the Gaza Strip to carry out a raid on a missile launch site, but were stopped by Palestinian fighters.
 
Four Israeli navy commandos were hurt in clashes during the brief incursion early Sunday to destroy a rocket launching site in northern Gaza, the Israeli military said. It said the troops later returned to the occupied Israeli territory.
 
Hamas - the Islamist movement that rules Gaza - said its fighters had fired at the Israeli force offshore and confirmed that they prevented it from landing, Reuters reported.
 
It was the first time that Israeli ground troops are known to have entered Gaza in the current offensive. But the operation was carried out by special forces and did not appear to be the beginning of a broad ground offensive.
 
Israel says a ground invasion of Gaza remains an option, and it has already mobilized more than 30,000 reservists to do so, but most attacks have so far been from the air, hitting some 1,200 targets in the territory.
 
Hamas Fighters kept up rockets salvoes deep into the occupied territories and the worst bout of Israel’s bloodshed in Gaza in two years showed no signs of abating despite mounting international pressure to cease fire.
 
On Saturday night, Hamas made good on a threat to send rockets streaking toward Tel Aviv at 9 p.m. (2.00 p.m. EDT) and other areas in heavily populated central Israel.
 
Hundreds of thousands of Israelis sought shelter as Palestinians in the streets of Gaza City cheered the launchings, the biggest strike yet on the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
 

Netanyahu escapes during a press conference in Tel-Aviv
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suddenly ended his press conference on Friday in Tel-Aviv after he had heard a rocket alarm.
 
Palestinians announced that they fired homemade rockets with long ranges at Tel-Aviv while Netanyahu was delivering his press conference.
 
Qassam Brigades announced it launched 4 M75s at Tel-Aviv and other rockets at Dimona in Beer Shiva in the Negev.
 

Thousands flee Gaza after Israeli warning
 
Thousands fled their homes in a Gaza town on Sunday after Israel warned them to leave ahead of threatened attacks on rocket-launching sites, on the sixth day of an offensive that Palestinian officials said has killed at least 160 people.
 
Israeli leaflets dropped on Beit Lahiya, where 70,000 Palestinians live, said civilians in three of its 10 neighborhoods were "requested to evacuate their residences" and move south, deeper into the Gaza Strip, by 12 p.m., Reuters reported. 
 
The Gaza Interior Ministry, in a statement on Hamas radio, dismissed the Israeli warnings as "psychological warfare" and instructed those who left their homes to return and others to stay put.
 
It was the first time Israel had warned Palestinians to vacate dwellings in such a wide area. Previous warnings, by telephone or so-called "knock-on-the-door" missiles without explosive warheads, had been directed at individual homes slated for attack.
 
At least 4,000 people fled Beit Lahiya and crowded into eight UN-run schools in Gaza City on Sunday, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said.
 
The Gaza Health Ministry said at least 160 Palestinians, including about 135 civilians - among them some 30 children, have been killed six days of warfare, and more than 1,000 have been wounded.
 
Pope appeals for peace in Gaza conflict
 
Pope Francis on Sunday appealed for peace in Gaza during his weekly Angelus prayer, calling for "concrete gestures to build peace" as the deadly six-day offensive escalated.
 
According to AFP, in an address to thousands of pilgrims on St Peter's Square Francis spoke of the "tragic events of the last few days".
 
"I urge all interested parties and all in local and international political office not to spare in prayer and efforts to cease all hostilities," Francis said.
 

UNSC calls for cease-fire
   
The UN Security Council late on Saturday called for a cease-fire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
 
All 15 members approved a council statement calling for de-escalation of the violence, restoration of calm and a resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.
 
The statement calls for "the reinstitution of the November 2012 cease-fire" brokered by Egypt, but gave no time frame for when it should take effect.
 
The press statement, which is not legally binding but reflects international opinion, was the first response by the UN's most powerful body.
 

Amnesty calls for arms embargo on Israel 
    
Amnesty International (AI) urged the UN to urgently mandate an independent international investigation into Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and hold accountable those responsible for war crimes.
 
Despite claims by Israel that its operation “Protective Edge”, since June 8 targets militants, most of more than a hundred Palestinians killed in airstrikes on Gaza are civilians, Amnesty said.
 
It added that at least 24 children and 16 women were among the casualties.
 
“Swift UN action is needed as lives hang in the balance,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International. “The international community must not repeat previous mistakes, standing by and watching the devastating consequences for civilians,” it said. 
 

Israel hits Gaza every three minutes
 
Human rights campaigners claimed that Israel is launching attacks on Gaza at a rate of one every three minutes. 
 
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network said on Saturday that Israel has fired 2,061 missiles since strikes began on July 7. Of these 1,402 were aerial attacks, 330 from artillery ground forces and 329 from naval vessels, Anadolu reported. 
 
"The attacks are aimed at women and children as well as areas where civilians live," the network said in a statement. The group called on Israel to halt the offensive against civilians.

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