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UPDATE – 40 Gazans killed in Israeli shelling of Rafah

At least 40 Palestinians were killed and scores injured in Israeli shelling of Rafah city in southern Gaza Strip, according to a Health Ministry spokesman.

"At least 40 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 others injured in the Israeli shelling of Rafah," ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency.

He expected the death toll to rise as the shelling targeted scores of Palestinians in the city.

"Israel is committing massacres in the city," he said.

An Israeli official earlier said on Friday that a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip had collapsed.

The Israeli government, however, has not confirmed the report.

Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip for almost four weeks, which killed at least 1458 Palestinians and injured more than 8300 others.

Israel claims that the offensive aims to undermine the ability of Palestinian factions to fire rockets at Israeli cities.

According to Israeli figures, at least 61 soldiers have been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters and three civilians by rocket fire.

Israel's military operation, codenamed "Operation Protective Edge," is the self-proclaimed Jewish state's third major offensive against the densely-populate Gaza Strip – which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – within the last six years.

Report by Ola Attalah, for Anadolu Agency

 

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