Toll in Israel strikes on Gaza hits 186, topping 2012

Protestors wave Palestinian flags and gesture outside the Israeli embassy in Madrid, during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes on Gaza, on July 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Protestors wave Palestinian flags and gesture outside the Israeli embassy in Madrid, during a demonstration against Israeli air strikes on Gaza, on July 14, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - The death toll from Israel's seven-day air campaign against Gaza rose to 186 on Monday, exceeding that of the last conflict in the besieged Palestinian territory, in 2012.

Five Palestinians were killed in two separate air strikes late on Monday.

Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said the strikes killed three people in Rafah in the south of Gaza, including a young child, and two people in Khan Yunis, also in the south.

An hour or so later, another two were killed, including a 16-year-old, in another air strike in Khan Yunis.

A UN official said that more than a quarter of those killed in Gaza since the violence began last week were children.

Earlier, a strike in Gaza City killed a young man, and another Palestinian died of wounds sustained in an earlier raid.

East of Khan Yunis, an Israeli missile struck a motorcycle, killing 17-year-old Ziyad al-Najjar, Mr Qudra said.

His death came shortly after another strike in the same area, which killed a 37-year-old.

A 60-year-old man was killed in a raid on a house in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, and two other people died in separate strikes elsewhere in the coastal enclave, Mr Qudra said.

Earlier, a man and a woman wounded in air strikes on Sunday died of their injuries.

In all, 16 people were killed on Monday, with the total number wounded in the conflict rising to 1,280.

Monday's deaths hiked the toll above the 177 people killed in the last major round of violence between Israel and its foe Hamas in November 2012.

The Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said on Sunday that more than three-quarters of the dead were civilians.

The bloodiest day so far was Saturday when 56 people were killed.

No Israelis have been killed. Four have been seriously wounded since the start of the operation.

Israel began Operation Protective Edge before dawn on Tuesday in an attempt to halt cross-border rocket fire by militant groups.

Since then, more than 800 rockets have hit Israel, while some 187 others have been intercepted by its Iron Dome air defence system, the army said.

Israel's Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012 was also an attempt to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza militants. It left 177 Palestinians and six Israelis dead.