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Israeli aggression at new height, death toll stands at 333
Saturday July 19, 2014 8:29 PM, Agencies

A total of 333 Palestinians have been killed since Israeli aggression on Gaza began on July 8, Gaza officials said. Most of the dead were civilians, of whom more than 50 were under the age of 18. About 2,385 other people have been injured.

Gaza bombing

Palestinian officials said that 65 Palestinians, at least 15 of them under the age of 18, had been killed since Israel sent ground forces on Thursday into the densely-populated enclave of 1.8 million Palestinians.

At least 34 people have been killed in Gaza after Israeli army bombardment intensifies on the second day of a ground offensive it says is aimed at destroying Hamas' cross-border tunnels.

The Israeli army said it killed 17 Palestinian gunmen and took 13 prisoners in operations inside the Gaza Strip.

One Israeli soldier was killed and several others injured. Among those killed early Saturday was one seven people outside a mosque in the southern city of Khan Yunis, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

Three of the dead were from the same family and among those was one woman. One Israeli soldier was killed in an apparent friendly fire incident, the military said, and several other troops were wounded since Thursday's launch of an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza.

Three more people were killed shortly afterwards, in three separate strikes in Beit Hanun in the north, Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, and another in Khan Yunis, according to AFP.

A later strike on home also in Khan Yunis killed 28-year-old Raed al-Laqan.

Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Gaza, spoke of of "relentless and constant thuds" of tank fire across the eastern border of Gaza on Saturday, "with only around 10 seconds between each".

She said the tanks were concentrated along eastern Gaza, bordering Israel, and that there were many civilian casualties in that area.

Heavy Israeli artillery attacks were reported by an Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent across other areas of the enclave. Drones, jets and attack helicopters patrolled the skies.

The Gaza Health Ministry said the death toll over 12 days now stood at 333. That figure included 77 children, 24 women and 18 senior citizens, and that more than 2,385 people have been injured.

In another development on Saturday, agencies said Egyptian soldiers in north Sinai prevented an aid convoy of activists from reaching the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip.

An army officer at the Balloza checkpoint, one of many along the desert highway to Rafah, told an AFP correspondent that the security situation in the peninsula was too unstable to allow the convoy of 11 buses and 500 activists to pass.

There was a brief scuffle between some activists and soldiers but no arrests were made.

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