07/31/2014, 00.00
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With nearly 1,400 dead in Gaza, Netanyahu pledges to destroy every tunnel

As more rockets land in Israel today, operations continue in Gaza. Talks in Egypt about a possible truce produce little results. Re-opening the Eretz crossing to connect Gaza to the West Bank is one of the goals. The Pentagon releases new ammunitions to Israel, which has called up 86,000 reservists.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) - As Gaza entered its 24th day of war, the death toll stood close to 1,400. Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would not stop until the complete destruction of tunnels that connect the Strip with Israeli territory.

Today more rockets and mortar rounds landed at Sderot, Ashkelon, Eshkol, Beersheva, causing material damage but no casualties. Five Palestinians were killed overnight and early morning on Thursday.

The Gaza Health Ministry places the death toll from three weeks of the operation at 1,364 - of that number 315 children and 166 women. The number of wounded has risen to 6,785, of them 2,307 children and 1,529 women.

Three Israel Defence Forces soldiers were killed and 12 wounded on Wednesday afternoon in the Khan Yunis area in south Gaza, bringing the military death toll to 56. Three civilians have been killed in Israel, including a Thai worker.

The Israeli army said that since it launched its offensive on 8 July, it has attacked some 4,100 targets in Gaza. Militants have fired more than 2,670 rockets, of which 2,102 struck Israel whilst 513 were shot down by its Iron Dome missile defence system.

The situation in Gaza is unsustainable. People feel unsafe everywhere. Water and electricity are in short supply. According to the UN, there are about 240,000 displaced people in the territory.

With casualties mounting, there is little hope for peace. Israel, which launched 'Operation Protective Edge' to stop Hamas rockets, now wants to destroy all the "terrorist" tunnels along the border with Gaza.

"We are determined to complete this mission with or without a cease-fire," Netanyahu said at the start of a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv. "I will not agree to any proposal that will not enable the Israeli military to complete this important task for the sake of Israel's security."

Yesterday Israeli officials travelled to Egypt for talks on a possible ceasefire in Gaza. However, they promised only a temporary cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid in some areas.

For its part, Hamas insists that any cease-fire must include an end to the blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has lasted eight years.

This would lead to the re-opening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, but also the Eretz crossing to allow Palestinians in Gaza to reach the West Bank.

On Wednesday, the IDF decided to call up 16,000 additional reserve troops to allow the military "room to breathe," a senior officer said. Their deployment will begin on Thursday, raising the number of reserve soldiers called up so far to 86,000.

Overcoming disagreements with the Obama administration and despite heavy criticism by Secretary of State John Kerry, a few days ago Israel got the green light from the Pentagon to use a stockpile of ammunition "to maintain a strong and ready self-defence capability," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

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