Rising Palestinian Death Toll Spurs Calls for Ceasefire in Gaza
(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) -- Mourners on Monday buried the 11 victims of an Israeli air strike Sunday, the single deadliest incident since the escalation between Hamas and Israel began last Wednesday.
Among the dead were nine members of the Daloo family, killed when an Israeli warplane targeted their home in Gaza City while trying to kill a Hamas rocket maker, whose fate is unknown.
Palestinian deaths climbed to more than 90 on Monday when four more, including two children, were killed in a strike on a sports stadium the Israel Defense Forces said was being used to launch rockets. Gaza health officials said half of those killed were children, women or elderly men.
Israel carried out 80 air strikes Monday morning, down from previous morning totals. There were just 16 militant rocket launches, the Israeli military said, also a relatively low tally.
The Israel Defense Forces said that since Wednesday, when Hamas' top military commander was assassinated by Israel, around 1,100 strikes had been carried out in Gaza, while militants have launched about 1,000 rockets.
Sunday proved to be one the deadliest days of what Israel has called "Operation Pillar of Defense," with at least 23 people reported killed. Of those, at least 14 were women and children, according to a Gaza health official.
The Israel Defense Forces told ABC News it was targeting Hamas rocket maker Yehiya Bia, who lives near the Daloo family in a densely populated Gaza neighborhood and has not been accounted for.
Rescue workers worked frantically Monday morning looking for any survivors in the rubble of the attack.
Israel shifted its tactics this weekend from striking rocket arsenals and firing positions to targeting the homes of senior Hamas commanders and the offices of Hamas politicians in Gaza. Doing so brought the violence into Gaza's most densely populated areas.
Israel also hit two high-rise buildings on Sunday that house the offices of Hamas and international media outlets, injuring at least six journalists.
Meanwhile, militant rockets continued to rain down on Israel Sunday. More than 100 rockets were fired Sunday, with 76 landing in Israel, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
The military said that more than 500 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. More than 300 have been intercepted by Israel's "Iron Dome" defense system.
Three Israeli civilians died from militant rocket fire in one attack Thursday and dozens have been wounded.
The pace of diplomacy has stepped up as civilian casualties in Gaza continue to rise. An Israeli envoy is in Cairo to talk with Egyptian officials but Hamas sources say no progress has been made.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to arrive later Monday, and has called for an immediate ceasefire. Leaders of Qatar, Turkey and Hamas, as well as an Israeli envoy, are working toward a ceasefire proposal.
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