Israeli forces continued to bombard Gaza with airstrikes and Hamas militants continued their cross-border rocket attacks for the 10th day on Wednesday.
Gaza officials reported that Israeli strikes have killed 212 people since the fighting began on May 10. Israeli authorities put the death toll in Israel at 12.
More than 10,000 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis have died in conflicts since 2000, after the breakdown of peace negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestine Liberation Organization President Yasser Arafat. Today’s clashes are the most intense between Hamas and Israel in years – the third offensive launched against the militant group by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
About 450 buildings in the dense Gaza enclave were destroyed or severely damaged, including six hospitals and nine health centers, the United Nations humanitarian agency said.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, nearly 60,000 people have also had to flee their homes in Gaza. Forty-seven thousand took refuge in the schools of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA).
The conflict is the most serious between Hamas and Israel since July 2014, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched Operation Protective Edge. In a departure from past conflicts in Gaza, the current conflict has led to more violence in Israeli cities between Jews and Arabs.