Israel bombs five Gaza mosques among 70 targets

A Palestinian salvages a mattress from the remains of a house, which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 21, 2014.

A Palestinian salvages a mattress from the remains of a house, which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 21, 2014.

Israel bombed five mosques, a sports stadium and the home of the late Hamas military chief across the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, a Gaza police official said, according to the Associated Press.

The bombs were among Israeli aircraft attacks on more than 70 targets in the Gaza Strip, Ayman Batniji, the spokesperson of Gaza police told the Associated Press.

Batniji said tank shells damaged several houses along the eastern border of the territory and that at least 19 fishing boats were burned by Israeli navy shells fired from the Mediterranean.

The unusually intense Israeli strikes came as U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met in Cairo to launch the highest-level push to end two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting.

Meanwhile, two Israeli soldiers were killed during combat in the Gaza Strip, raising the number of troops killed in the 15-day conflict with Hamas to 27, the army said on Tuesday, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Yesterday, Monday, two IDF (Israel Defence Forces) soldiers were killed during battles of Operation Protective Edge,” a statement from the army read.

Three soldiers were seriously wounded over the course of the night and one other soldier was reportedly missing, Israeli media reported according to Reuters news agency.

Also on Tuesday, a series of Israeli air strikes killed seven people in Gaza, including five members of the same family, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

The deaths hike the total Palestinian toll to 583 since the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 in a bid to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza.

 
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