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WAR REPORT
Israel strikes kill dozens in Gaza as toll tops 670
by Staff Writers
Gaza City, Palestinian Territories (AFP) July 23, 2014


Oxfam warns food, water running perilously low in Gaza
London (AFP) July 23, 2014 - Thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes but have nowhere safe to shelter from Israeli airstrikes, charity Oxfam said on Wednesday, warning supplies of water and food are dangerously low.

Over 120,000 people are displaced but are prevented from escaping violence because borders with Israel and Egypt are shut, Oxfam said.

"The terrible toll on civilians is shocking. Hospitals and water supplies are under massive strain and the needs are increasing by the day. People are fleeing terrified," said Nishant Pandey, Oxfam's head in Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel.

Normally such crises would cause people to flee the area, but this was impossible as the blockade prevented people escaping the violence, Pandey said.

"Lasting peace and security for both sides means ending the blockade and the collective punishment of people in Gaza."

The charity said water supplies were disrupted to over one million people, raw sewage was at risk of contaminating the water due to the destruction of sanitation plants, and only half of Gaza's sewage plants are working.

Much of the area, a densely populated strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea, has electricity for four hours a day or less, Oxfam said.

The charity said it was trucking water supplies to 19,000 people sheltering in a mosque, a church, schools and Al Shifa hospital, but that airstrikes made it difficult to deliver aid, and that many of its staff had also had to leave their homes.

An Israeli air strike on the northern Gaza Strip killed five people on Wednesday evening, medics said, as Israel's army announced two more soldiers had died in fighting.

Earlier, Israeli tank fire killed five people, including two children, in southern Gaza, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, as Wednesday's body count reached at least 47 Palestinians.

A series of other strikes and shellings throughout Gaza brought the total number killed from 16 days of conflict between Israel and Hamas to 678 Palestinians, according to figures from Qudra.

Another air strike on Wednesday killed a two-year-old girl, Qudra said.

Some 32 people in Israel -- two civilians, a foreign worker and 29 soldiers -- have been killed during the Jewish state's operation to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza militants and destroy Hamas tunnels.

Early on Wednesday, the military announced two soldiers had been killed in fighting the night before.

And a foreign worker, whose nationality was not immediately disclosed, died later Wednesday after being hit by a mortar round fired from Gaza, police said.

Rights groups have said that more than 80 percent of Palestinians killed have been civilians, with Gaza-based NGO the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights saying more than 90 were women and more than 160 children.

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