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Gaza talks on hold; Israeli delegation stays home
Mideast conflict » Israel says it won’t attend unless Hamas stops firing its rockets.


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The current Gaza war escalated from the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June. Israel blamed the killings on Hamas and launched a massive arrest campaign, rounding up hundreds of its members in the West Bank, as Hamas and other militants unleashed rocket fire from Gaza.

On July 8, Israel launched an air campaign on the coastal territory, sending in ground troops nine days later to target rocket launchers and cross-border tunnels built by Hamas for attacks inside Israel. Israel has targeted close to 5,000 sites, the army has said, while Gaza militants have fired more than 3,000 rockets into Israel.

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Gaza’s civilians, especially children, have paid a steep price.

Of 1,911 people killed, at least 450 were children, according to Palestinian health officials. Children also made up almost one-third of close to 10,000 wounded. More than 10,000 homes have been destroyed, leaving some 65,000 people homeless, according to U.N. estimates. Tens of thousands fled fighting in the border areas, including heavy Israeli tank shelling, and are staying in crowded U.N. shelters.

On Saturday, Israeli aircraft struck about 50 targets, the army said.

Gaza officials said seven people were killed in strikes on homes, mosques and factories.

Three bodies were found under the ruins of the al-Qassam mosque in Gaza, including that of senior Hamas official Moaaz Zaid, said Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra. Two people were killed and three wounded in a strike on a car in the southern town of Rafah.




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