34 more Gazans killed, death toll hits 729


Thirty four Palestinians have been killed by Israeli shelling and airstrikes across the Gaza Strip, bringing the Palestinian death toll on the 17th day of the offensive to 729, with nearly 5,000 injured.

Some 34 bodies were recovered early Thursday amid continued Israeli shelling across the Gaza Strip, including 10 members of one family.

Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said that six members of the al-Astal family were killed in shelling on their house in a western Khan Younis district.

In another neighborhood of Khan Younis, meanwhile, Israeli shelling killed Muhammad Ismail al-Astal, 17, Ismail Muhammad al-Astal, 48, Ahad Muhammad Ismail al-Astal, 20, and Muhammad Hassan Abdulqadir al-Astal, 43.

At least six other members of the family have also been killed in the last week by Israeli bombing.

Additionally, five Palestinians were killed in Israeli raids that targeted two motorcycles in Khan Younis.

The Israeli military confirmed in a statement on Thursday that they bombed 35 targets across the Gaza Strip the day before, as the operation continued with no end in sight.

The attacks come a day after Israeli forces said that three troopers were killed and 28 injured in fighting on Wednesday, bringing total military casualties to 32 in what has been the deadliest assault for Israel since attacking Lebanon in 2006.

At least four were detained and dozens injured by Israeli troops in the West Bank, as clashes erupted across the region in solidarity with the Gaza Strip after a youth was killed in a similar protest near Beit Lahm the day before.

The continued Israeli violence comes as John Kerry shuttles between Jerusalem (al-Quds) and Cairo in order to push for a ceasefire, which Hamas has said can only come after Israel lifts its crippling eight-year siege of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas has also insisted that resistance groups in Gaza will maintain their armed capabilities in the case of any ceasefire, after EU leaders called on them to disarm.