Israeli military aircraft continued carrying out raids on targets in Gaza Strip on Wednesday as the Palestinian death toll of more than a week of of attacks on the enclave exceeded 200.
According to Palestinian medical sources, the Palestinians' death toll climbed to more than 205, including many children and women. The number of the wounded has also soared to up to 1,530.
Latest of the dead was Ashraf Abu Shanat, 38, who passed away early today when an Israeli reconnaissance aircraft fired a rocket that blew up close to his house in Rafah. Shortly earlier, Farid Abu Dakkah, 33, lost his life in an identical attack on Absan village in the south of Gaza, according to the medical sources.
Lama Al-Satri, aged five, died along with 10 other Palestinians when the Israeli warplanes attacked a multi-storey building in Rafah. Ahmad Al-Nawajha, a young Palestinian, succumbed to injuries he had sustained since an air strike on a civilian car at dawn, while his fellow citizen, Atta Al-Ammour, died in artillery bombardment that targeted Sofa, east of Rafah.
Palestinian security sources meanwhile said a large number of houses and buildings were literally razed to the ground in a series of Israeli air strikes in various locations of the enclave, over the past hours. They confirmed that a number of the houses belonged to members of the Islamic movement, Hamas, which controls Gaza.
Among the buildings that were bombed and turned into a heap of rubble was the headquarters of Hamas' interior administration in Al-Maqawsi district in the north of Gaza. Baghdad Mosque at Al-Shatea west of Gaza was badly damaged in an identical attack.
Elsewhere, dead body of the Palestinian, Mohammad Sharab, was founded in Khan Youness, where cultivated fields were bombarded intensively by the Israeli gunners.
Abdullah Al-Arjan, 22, died and three others, members of his family, were wounded in one of these attacks, targeting his house in Khan Youness. Two others, Mohammad Abu Odeh, 40, and Mohammad Zahouq, 42, lost their life in a similar assault on a house in Rafah.
Also at dawn today, Palestinian fighters clashed with an Israeli naval squad that attempted to sneak into Gaza by sea.
Israeli Army, during the past hours, warned the Palestinians, with fliers dropped from the air and text messages that they must evacuate their houses in Al-Shujaieh, Al-Zaitoun and Bait Lahia.
Meanwhile, Izz-Eddine Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, said in a statement that its gunners fired four M75 missiles in the direction of Tel Aviv. It also reported the unleash of salvos of rockets targeting several Israeli towns and cities.
At the political level, no sign of a tangible step forward for a cease-fire has been reported in the past hours.
An Egyptian-proposed truce had been rejected by Hamas, and Israel threatened to expand scope of its military attacks on Gaza.
Israel is targeting the strip with barrages of artillery, tank fire, bombs and rockets fired from warplanes and gunship helicopters, and the Palestinians are fighting back, largely depending on an arsenal of missiles, mostly made from meagerly available materials in the enclave.