Gaza toll at 121 in day five of Israeli strikes

Gaza toll at 121 in day five of Israeli strikes

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories - Sixteen Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip early Saturday, bringing the toll on the fifth day of violence to 121, medics said.

The latest strike killed three in the eastern Tufah neighbourhood of Gaza City, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

The raid came shortly after two people were killed in a strike that hit a charitable association for the disabled in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza, and another three people died in an attack in western Gaza City.

Earlier, Qudra announced the deaths of eight other Palestinians, including a man who died of wounds sustained in an earlier strike, five people killed in Gaza's northern Jebaliya, and two further south in Deir el Balah.

Local officials said the morning's raids hit targets that included mosques and homes of Hamas officials, throughout the coastal enclave.

The latest fatalities raise the death toll to 121 since Israel began Operation Protective Edge early Tuesday in an attempt to halt cross-border rocket fire by militant groups.

Since then, militants have fired approximately 520 mortar rounds and rockets that struck Israel, while another 140 rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system, an Israeli army statement said late Friday.

It is the deadliest violence since November 2012, with a growing number of rockets fired at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and even as far north as Haifa.

So far, no Israelis have been killed.

An Israeli soldier was severely wounded in a mortar attack late Thursday, and another man was very seriously injured when a rocket hit a petrol station in the southern port city of Ashdod early Friday.

Two soldiers were lightly wounded along the border with Gaza when Palestinians fired an anti-tank missile.

And an elderly woman was slightly injured when a rocket hit her home in the southern city of Beersheva.

Israel has authorised the call-up of 40,000 reservist troops, and threatened a ground operation to stamp out the rocket fire.

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