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Israel and Hamas exchange fire following night of violence as Gazans fear for their lives

ISRAEL and Hamas continued to exchange fire today following overnight violence as Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said that they have nowhere to run for their lives.

More than 87 Palestinians, including 18 children, had been killed in Gaza since Monday, with another 530 wounded, when the Morning Star went to press.

Israel’s military was set last night to approve plans for a ground assault into Gaza.

At Gaza City hospital, families reported having to pull their bloodied relatives out of piles of rubble.

One woman said that her four-year-old grandson and pregnant daughter-in-law had been killed when an Israeli air strike hit their home on Wednesday.

“They bombed them without any warning. The house had nothing but the kids,” Umm Mohammad al-Telbani said tearfully in the hospital morgue.

Umm Majed al-Rayyes, who woke to the sounds of explosions and grabbed her four children and ran as Israeli bombs struck their building, said that there was nowhere for them to go.

“This whole territory is a tiny place. It’s a prison. Everywhere you go, you’re a target,” she said.

The Israeli government has accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields against their air strikes by launching rockets from civilian areas.

But Israel has a history of indiscriminately bombing buildings, most notably in 2014 when the last attack of this scale took place.

Gaza is a crowded coastal enclave containing about two million people with no air-raid sirens or safe houses for civilians.

Temporary United Nations shelters have come under attack during previous Israeli attacks.

In Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities, at least seven Israeli civilians, including two children, were killed by Hamas rockets. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis ran to bomb shelters across the country as air-raid sirens sounded.

Hamas said that its rocket attacks were in retaliation for the Israeli police’s violent offensive against Palestinian protesters and zionist settlers’ forced illegal eviction of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem.

Angry crowds of Jews and Arabs fought on the streets as violent scenes spread to the usually quiet regions. In the northern port city of Haifa, Arab Israeli homes were raided.

Negotiators from neighbouring Egypt held in-person talks with the two sides in an intensified effort to restore some level of calm.

United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres condemned the “indiscriminate launching of rockets” from Gaza towards Israeli population centres, but he failed to denounce Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in the same terms, merely urging it to show “maximum restraint.”

US President Joe Biden called Mr Netanyahu to express support for Israel’s right to defend itself.

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