MEE/3 Palestinians killed as Israeli air raids in Gaza overnight

SHAFAQNA (International Shia News Association)- Middle East Eye: At least three Palestinians were killed as Israeli air strikes, including hits targetting residential buildings and apartment towers, intensified over Sunday night and hit as many as 35 targets on the Strip.

Beit Lahiya resident Farhana al-Attar, 48, died after a missile struck her home after midnight and Yasin al-Biltaji and Yahya Abu Daqin were killed at dawn when warplanes fired missiles into a group of people in Gaza City, Ma’an News reported.

Two mosques, Omar Ibn Abd al-Aziz Mosque in the Strip’s northern city of Beit Hanun and Ali Ibn Abu Talib Mosque in Gaza City, were also destroyed in the raids, witnesses said.

The mosques had been used for storing military equipment and planning “terrorist activities,” according to Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee.

Israel resumed airstrikes in the Gaza Strip last Tuesday following the collapse of indirect, Egypt-hosted talks aimed at hammering out a durable ceasefire deal.

While Israel accused Hamas of breaking a temporary ceasefire with a rocket barrage, the Palestinian faction accused Israel of attempting to derail the truce talks in Cairo.

After a visit to Cairo with the Palestinian delegation on Sunday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Egyptian television that he plans to launch a “diplomatic bombshell” this week in an attempt to resolve the conflict, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Abbas said he will present his initiative to US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is expected to visit the region soon. While the proposal is unlikely to receive a welcome response from the US, Abbas said, it enjoys broad Arab support.

At least 2,125 Palestinians have been killed and more than 10,800 others injured in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since 7 July. Over the same period, at least 68 Israelis – 64 soldiers and four civilians – have been killed, according to Israeli figures.

The Palestinian death toll from the Israeli offensive alone has surpassed the combined total fatalities from two past major operations – including 2008/9’s operation “Cast Lead” which killed at least 1500 Palestinians in three weeks.

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