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Gaza Death Toll Exceeds 400 as Israel Expands Offensive

By Saud Abu Ramadan and Calev Ben-David
July 20, 2014 11:49 AM EDT 339 Comments
Palestinian women react during the funeral of four boys, all from the Bakr family, killed during Israeli shelling, in Gaza City, on July 16, 2014.
Photographer: Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images
Palestinian women react during the funeral of four boys, all from the Bakr family, killed during Israeli shelling, in Gaza City, on July 16, 2014.

Israel poured more troops into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, where fierce fighting in one neighborhood sent the Palestinian death toll climbing past 400. Fifteen soldiers were killed in combat, the military said.

Sixty Palestinians, including children and women, were killed in the Shuja’iya area of Gaza City, where residents reported heavy artillery and tank fire, bringing the total toll to 430, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Twenty Israelis have been killed since the military began its offensive last week, including two civilians. The army updated its toll after lifting a blackout imposed to notify families.

“It was like doomsday,” Hanadi al-Kabariti, 33, said by phone after she fled Shuja’iya. “There is nowhere to hide in Gaza. It’s dangerous wherever you go.”

The Israeli military campaign began with air strikes against Gaza rocket operations, then evolved into a ground war with the declared aim of destroying a network of tunnels militants dug to carry out cross-border raids. The attack on Shuja’iya targeted the “Hamas terrorist infrastructure, specifically tunnel infrastructure and rocket capabilities,” Israeli army spokesman Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner said today.

The United Nations has said more than 60,000 Gazans have fled to its shelters in the coastal enclave.

To contact the reporters on this story: Saud Abu Ramadan in Gaza City at sramadan@bloomberg.net; Calev Ben-David in Jerusalem at cbendavid@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net Amy Teibel

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