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Gaza Death Toll Exceeds 400 as Israel Expands Offensive

Israeli Military
A soldier's glove sits draped over artillery shells near the Israeli-Gaza border near Sderot, Israel, on July 19, 2014. Photographer: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Israel poured more troops into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, where fierce fighting in one neighborhood sent the Palestinian death toll climbing past 400. Fifteen soldiers were killed in combat, the military said.

Sixty Palestinians, including children and women, were killed in the Shuja’iya area of Gaza City, where residents reported heavy artillery and tank fire, bringing the total toll to 430, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Twenty Israelis have been killed since the military began its offensive last week, including two civilians. The army updated its toll after lifting a blackout imposed to notify families.

“It was like doomsday,” Hanadi al-Kabariti, 33, said by phone after she fled Shuja’iya. “There is nowhere to hide in Gaza. It’s dangerous wherever you go.”

The Israeli military campaign began with air strikes against Gaza rocket operations, then evolved into a ground war with the declared aim of destroying a network of tunnels militants dug to carry out cross-border raids. The attack on Shuja’iya targeted the “Hamas terrorist infrastructure, specifically tunnel infrastructure and rocket capabilities,” Israeli army spokesman Lt.-Col. Peter Lerner said today.

The United Nations has said more than 60,000 Gazans have fled to its shelters in the coastal enclave.

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