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Gaza conflict: ‘Israeli market strike kills 17’

At least 17 people have been killed and 160 wounded in an Israeli strike that hit a fruit and vegetable market near Gaza City, Palestinian officials say.

Hundreds of people were shopping in the market in Shejaiya, a spokesman for the Gaza health ministry said.

The attack came during a four-hour truce called by the Israeli military. Hamas, which controls Gaza, had rejected it as meaningless.

Meanwhile, Israel said three more of its soldiers had been killed in Gaza.

Palestinian doctors also said that another Israeli air strike after the truce was announced had killed seven people in Khan Younis.

Site of explosion in Gaza market, 30 JulyHundreds of people were said to have been out shopping
An injured Israeli soldier is airlifted to Soroka Hospital in BeershebaAn injured Israeli soldier is airlifted to Soroka Hospital in Beersheba

Earlier, the UN said Israel had attacked a UN-run school housing refugees in Gaza, despite warnings that civilians were there. Fifteen people were killed and dozens hurt.

More than 1,300 Palestinians and 58 Israelis have now died in the conflict. Most of the Palestinian deaths have been civilians.

Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed along with two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel has also died.

The Israeli military said that the three soldiers killed on Wednesday died in a booby-trapped building.

‘Media exploitation’

Correspondents say many people in Gaza were unaware the partial ceasefire had been called.

Chris Morris reports from the school that was hit in Gaza: ”This is a terrible scene”

Peter Lerner of the Israel Defense Forces: ”We do not target UN facilities”

Witnesses at the scene in Shejaiya spoke of smoke billowing over the site, with ambulances racing victims to hospital.

A journalist who worked for a local news agency was reported killed.

The Palestinian al-Aqsa satellite TV channel quoted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum as saying that the market attack required “an earth-shattering response”.

The Israeli military had said the ceasefire would last between 15:00 (12:00 GMT) and 19:00.

However, it had warned that the truce would only apply to areas where Israeli soldiers were not currently operating, and it told residents not to return to areas they had previously been asked to evacuate.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri had rejected the truce as meaningless.

“The lull which Israel announced is media exploitation and has no value because it excludes the volatile areas along the border, and we won’t be able to get the wounded out from those areas,” he said in a statement.

Sirens continued to sound in southern Israel after the ceasefire, to warn of militant rocket attacks.

Longest conflict

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza after a surge in rocket fire from the territory.

Hamas says it will not stop fighting until the blockade, maintained by both Israel and Egypt, is lifted.

The current conflict, now in its 23rd day, is the longest between Israel and militants from Gaza.

A 2012 offensive lasted for eight days, and the 2008 conflict went on for 22 days.

Source:BBC

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