Gaza- The Israeli military has announced that its offensive into Gaza, which began on Thursday as a move to close off tunnels used by terrorists to launch attacks, may “significantly widen” into a broader offensive. Palestinian officials said 58 Palestinians, at least 15 of them under the age of 18, have been killed since Israel sent ground forces on Thursday into the densely-populated area of 1.8 million.
Israeli military said it killed 17 Palestinian gunmen while another 13 surrendered and were taken for questioning. Israel is carrying out its push with an infantry and tank assault in the Islamist Hamas-dominated territory.
One Israeli soldier was killed in an apparent friendly fire incident, the military said, and several other troops were wounded in the ground operations. It said some 150 targets, including 21 concealed rocket launchers and four tunnels, have been attacked.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is cautioning Israel about that wider offensive as more and more Palestinian civilian deaths are mounting. Those mounting deaths are resulting in massive protests worldwide including in London where tens of thousands took to the streets against Israel’s military operations in Gaza, denouncing Israel as a terrorist state.
— PSC (@PSCupdates) July 19, 2014
— john (@captainj_84) July 19, 2014
In France the government placed a ban on Saturday’s expected rally as tensions between Jewish and Muslim communities is spiking. Citing a “threat to public order”, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve backed the police ban on the widely-advertised mass demonstrations, after members of the Jewish Defense League (LDJ) and pro-Palestinian groups clashed last Sunday.
The death toll from the Israeli military operation has now climbed past 200 Palestinians, around 70 percent of which are civilians and 30 percent are children, says the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Fifty-two people were killed on Saturday alone.