The UN has implored Israel and Hamas to cease fire as warplanes pound Gaza, killing at least 30 Palestinians Saturday. One of the targets hit Saturday by the Israel Defense Force was a mosque.
As the number of Palestinians killed grew on Saturday, the UN Security Council urged respect for "international humanitarian laws." No deaths have so far been reported within Israel.
The 15-member Security Council unanimously urged "calm and restitution of the November 2012 ceasefire," referring to Israel's "Operation Pillar of Defense," in which airstrikes killed 100 Palestinians.
Since launching "Protective Edge" Tuesday, Israel has killed at least 135 people, including scores of civilians and about 20 children. Saturday's strikes leveled a mosque and a center for people with disabilities.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would press on with its campaign. Troops have massed ahead of a possible ground invasion, creating worry of a repeat of "Operation Cast Lead," in which more than 900 Palestinian civilians were killed in a three-week period at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009.
Since Tuesday, Israel has struck 1,100 targets: rocket launchers, command outposts and weapons facilities, but also places of worship, health care centers and homes. Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said on Saturday that, in addition to the 135 Palestinians killed, more than 930 had been wounded in the attacks by Israel and that hospitals had begun to run short on medical supplies.
'Continue to push'
Militants have launched 700 rockets into Israel since Tuesday. The Iron Dome missile-defense system has intercepted 140 of those attacks so far. However, air raid sirens have sounded as far north as Haifa, 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Gaza, previously thought out of missile range.
A rocket launched from Gaza hit a house in Netivot on Saturday, leaving two teenagers with minor injuries. Late Saturday, the IDF announced that it had intercepted rockets over Tel Aviv.
"We have accumulated achievements as far as the price Hamas is paying and we are continuing to destroy significant targets of it and other terror organizations," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said. "We will continue to punish it until quiet and security returns to southern Israel and the rest of the country."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked Hamas to tell militants to cease fire. "I don't like it when Palestinian blood is being traded," he said, adding that Israel possessed superior firepower and that, "with great sorrow, Israel does not treat us as humans or people."
mkg/rc (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)