As the Israeli military’s “Operation Protective Edge” entered its third day, the death toll in Gaza continued to mount. As of this writing, at least 81 Palestinians have been killed in three days–among them 22 children-and over 550 injured as a result of the air force dropping hundreds of bombs. A driver for journalists was killed, as were Palestinians watching the World Cup at a beach coffee shop.
Palestinian militant groups continued to fire rockets into Israel, with no casualties inflicted on soldiers or civilians. Since the operation began, at least 59 Israelis have been treated for shock, and 9 for light injuries. The Israeli army also said that a second attack by sea was thwarted.
There are no signs of the operation letting up soon. Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz hinted that a ground invasion could be on its way. “Despite the fact it will be hard, complicated and costly, we will have to take over Gaza temporarily, for a few weeks, to cut off the strengthening of this terror army,” he told Israel Radio on Tuesday. The last time a ground invasion occurred was “Operation Cast Lead,” the 2008-09 assault that killed 1,400 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians.
And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he is not “talking to anybody about a cease-fire right now. It’s not even on the agenda.” The tough words signaling no let-up in the military assault were voiced despite air force officers telling BuzzFeed‘s Sheera Frenkel that they are running out of “primary targets” because Hamas’ leadership has gone underground. Hamas has demanded the fulfillment of a number of conditions for a cease-fire: the reinstatement of the 2012 ceasefire that ended the last military assault; the release of prisoners let go in 2011 in exchange for Gilad Shalit but who have been re-arrested during Israel’s recent West Bank arrest campaign; and an end to Israeli interference in Palestine’s unity government.
— Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) July 10, 2014
Among the most striking events Tuesday were the killings of a driver in a car marked “TV” and of a group of nine people watching the World Cup. The driver, Hamdi Shihab, was killed in an airstrike on the car he drove for the news agency Media 24. During its 2012 military campaign, Israel was harshly criticized by human rights groups for killing Palestinian journalists in Gaza, including those in cars marked “TV.” Human Rights Watch called the killings of two journalists war crimes.
Here’s video of the aftermath of the attack on Shihab published by Watania (via Linah Alsaafin):
And the Washington Post‘s William Booth and Ruth Eglash reported that “nine Palestinians were killed in a strike by an Israeli F-16 while they were watching the World Cup semifinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands at a cafe.”
Also early Wednesday, eight members of one family, including five children, were killed in an airstrike in Khan Younis, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem condemned an airstrike Tuesday on the al-Kaware home, which killed eight people–six of them children. The army had phoned the home and instructed the civilians to leave. While the Kaware’s listened and temporarily left the residence, they went back to the home after an initial missile struck a water tank. A second airstrike devastated the family, including those who had gathered on the roof. B’Tselem said that the strike was not a legitimate target under international law and stated that “given the military’s sophisticated surveillance equipment, those responsible for the bombing should have known that civilians went back into the building.”