A Palestinian firefighter reacts as he tries to put out a
fire at Gaza's main power plant, which witnesses said was
hit in Israeli shelling, in the central Gaza Strip. Photo
Israel has knocked out Gaza's only power plant and
pounded dozens of other high-profile targets, while Egyptian
mediators prepare a revised proposal for halting its war with
Islamist militants in the enclave.
Israel's Channel Two TV said progress was being made on such
a deal in Cairo, where a Palestinian delegation is expected
later on Tuesday (local time), although the station retracted
an earlier report that a truce had already been provisionally
Health officials said at least 84 Palestinians died in some
of heaviest bombardments from air, sea and land since
Israel's offensive began on July 8 in response to rocket
salvoes fired by Hamas and its militant allies.
Local hospital officials said this brought the total number
of Palestinian dead in the conflict to 1,164, most of them
civilians. On the Israeli side, 53 soldiers and three
civilians have been killed.
The Israeli assault intensified after the deaths of 10 troops
in Palestinian cross-border attacks on Monday, with Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning of a long conflict ahead.
But the military said it needed about a week to complete its
main mission of destroying cross-border tunnels through which
Hamas militants have infiltrated to attack Israelis.
Thick black smoke rose from blazing fuel tanks at the power
station that supplies up to two-thirds of Gaza's energy
needs. The local energy authority said initial damage
assessments suggested the plant could be out of action for a
Electricity was cut to the city of Gaza and many other parts
of the Hamas-dominated territory after what officials said
was Israeli tank shelling of the tanks containing about 3
million cubic litres of diesel fuel.
"The power plant is finished," said its director, Mohammed
al-Sharif. An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate
comment and said she was checking the report.
Gaza City municipality said damage to the station could halt
many of the area's water pumps, and it urged residents to
ration water consumption. Gazans, who have had a few hours
electricity a day since the conflict began, now face months
Southern Gaza gets some power from neighbouring Egypt but
electricity lines from Israel have been damaged during the
ROCKETS, TRUCE TALK
Palestinians launched 52 rockets toward southern and central
Israel, including the Tel Aviv area, the military said,
adding that five were shot down by Iron Dome interceptors
while the rest fell wide, causing no damage or casualties.
Outside pressure has been building on Netanyahu to rein in
his forces. Both U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.N.
Security Council have called for an immediate ceasefire to
allow relief to reach Gaza's 1.8 million Palestinians,
followed by negotiations on a more durable end to
Efforts led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week
failed to achieve a breakthrough, and the explosion of
violence appeared to dash international hopes of turning a
brief lull for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival into a
An Egyptian official said Cairo was revising a truce proposal
that Israel had originally accepted but Hamas rejected, and
that the new offer would be presented to the Palestinian
delegation expected later on Tuesday. An Israeli official
said Israel might send its own envoy to Cairo in the evening
"We are hearing that Israel has approved a ceasefire but
Hamas has not," the Egyptian official told Reuters, an
account that the Netanyahu government neither confirmed nor
The West Bank-based Palestinian leadership, saying it was
also speaking for Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip,
voiced support on Tuesday for a 24-72 hour ceasefire.
But Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters the statement
by senior Palestine Liberation Organization official Yasser
Abed Rabbo did not reflect Hamas's position. "Hamas gave no
approval to anything Abed Rabbo said," Abu Zuhri added.
The Israeli military said soldiers killed five gunmen who
opened fire after emerging from a tunnel inside the Gaza
Strip and that 110 targets were struck in the enclave on
Tuesday. They included four weapons caches, which the
military said were hidden in mosques, and a rocket launcher
near another mosque. Residents said 20 houses were destroyed
and two mosques hit.
Local hospital officials said Israeli tank shells and air
strikes killed 10 people in and around Jabalya refugee camp
in the northern Gaza Strip, and that a doctor from the UNRWA
relief agency and his brother were killed in another strike
MORE THAN 200,000 DISPLACED
UNRWA, the main U.N. agency in Gaza, said more than 200,000
displaced Palestinians had taken shelter in its schools and
buildings, following calls by Israel for civilians to
evacuate whole neighbourhoods before military operations.
Thousands more have been taken in by friends or family.
UNRWA said it found a rocket cache in one of its central Gaza
schools on Tuesday, the third such incident.
"This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of
our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect
the inviolability of U.N. property," said spokesman Chris
Before dawn, Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the house of
Hamas deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh, a former Palestinian
prime minister, destroying the structure but causing no
casualties, Gaza's Interior Ministry said.
"My house is not dearer than any of the houses of our
people," Haniyeh was quoted as saying on a Hamas website.
"The destruction of stones will not break our will and we
will continue our resistance until we gain freedom."
Hamas, whose internal political leadership is in hiding, said
its broadcasters Al-Aqsa TV and Al-Aqsa Radio were also
targeted. The television station continued to broadcast but
the radio station went silent.
The military said the stations were used to "transit orders
and messages to Hamas operatives and to instruct Gaza
residents to ignore IDF (Israel Defence Forces) warnings
regarding upcoming military activity in specific areas."
Israel launched its offensive saying it wanted to halt rocket
attacks by Hamas and its allies. It later ordered a land
invasion to find and destroy the warren of Hamas tunnels.
Hamas and Israel have set conditions for a ceasefire that
Israel wants Gaza's armed groups stripped of weapons. Hamas
and its allies want an Israeli-Egyptian blockade lifted.