Militant leader killed as Israel strikes 30 houses in Gaza

Militant leader killed as Israel strikes 30 houses in Gaza

PanARMENIAN.Net - Israeli aircraft struck 30 houses in the Gaza Strip early Friday, July 25, killing a leader of the militant Islamic Jihad group and two of his sons, while ground troops and Hamas gunmen fought intense battles in the north and center of the territory, Palestinian officials said, according to the Associated Press.

The Israeli military confirmed dozens of sites were hit, including what it said were Hamas command posts, but did not elaborate.

With the current round of fighting entering its 18th day, Israel's Security Cabinet was to meet later Friday to decide whether to expand its operation or consider ideas for a ceasefire.

Israeli media reported that the military also wants more time to continue destroying rocket sites and tunnels from Gaza into Israel that Hamas has used to launch attacks. The military has found 31 tunnels but only destroyed about one-third of them so far.

Palestinian boys stand next to wall with murals and Arabic writing that reads "Tiba standard nu … In Jerusalem, meanwhile, thousands of Israeli security forces were deployed for possible Palestinian protests after Friday prayers at a key Muslim holy site, said police spokeswoman Luba Samri.

The night before, thousands of Palestinians protesting the Gaza fighting clashed with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. One Palestinian was killed and dozens were wounded, according to Palestinian medical officials.

In Gaza, the death toll soared to 808, after 115 Palestinians were killed on Thursday in one of the deadliest days of fighting, said Ashraf al-Kidra, a Palestinian health official. Thirty-four Israelis, among them 32 soldiers, and a Thai worker have been killed since July 8.

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