GAZA STRIP – On the 18th day of fighting since Israel’s Operation Protective Edge campaign began, Israel Defense Force airstrikes hit 30 houses on Friday including the home of Hamas leader Salah Hassanein and his two sons that killed them.
Gaza police spokesman Ayman Batniji confirmed the strike saying Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders have been hiding in homes prompting Israeli airstrikes to target homes in the Gaza Strip. Israeli military also confirmed airstrikes killed a Hamas commander and a son of senior Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya.
The death toll soared past 800 on Friday which has claimed the lives of mostly civilians that according to a Gaza human rights group says at least 500 houses have been hit from the air with more than 320 people being killed in their homes.
Protests marching in solidarity with Gaza have been seen around the world asking Israel to stop saying “enough is enough.” On Thursday night after a UN school/shelter killed 15 people when a tank was seen opening fire at the shelter, over 10,000 demonstrators were seen demonstrating near the Palestinian administrative capital Ramallah. At one point protesters were seen surging against an Israeli army checkpoint as they threw rocks and Molotov cocktails. Two protesters were shot dead and 200 wounded when Israeli troops opened fire into the crowd.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering another humanitarian ceasefire to allow aid to recover the dead and help the wounded. While Turkey and Qatar is proposing a 7-day ceasefire Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will only consider the ceasefire after Hamas delivers their response.
According to the New York Times, it was on Wednesday when Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said they will consider the humanitarian truce but only if Israel eases restrictions into Israel and Egypt agreeing to open up their borders with Gaza to the 1.8 million people. Hamas is also asking that Israel release the hundreds of prisoners Israel arrested in the West Bank as suspects in the kidnapping and killing of the three Jewish seminary students last month.
As of Friday, Israel has not agreed with the demands of Hamas which Meshaal said isn’t good enough. “Everyone wanted us to accept a ceasefire and then negotiate for our rights,” Meshaal said at a news conference two days ago.“We reject this, and we reject it again today.”
Secretary of State John Kerry remains in Cairo however does not stay in the region “for an indefinite amount of time” who over the last four days has tried to bring at least a temporary ceasefire in an effort to end the conflict. “Secretary Kerry has been on the phone all morning, and he will remain in close touch with leaders in the region over the course of the morning as he continues work on achieving a ceasefire,” said a senior U.S. State Department official in Cairo.
Meanwhile flights into Tel Aviv have not yet resumed as under normal conditions. Air Berlin has suspended flights through Friday. Lufthansa said all Friday flights into the airport have been cancelled after learning a Gaza rocket landed a mile away from Israel’s international airport.