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Over 1,200 Palestinians killed as Israel plans ground offensive


Israel said it would escalate its response to an attack by the Palestinian group Hamas with a ground offensive even as 5 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation bullets in the West Bank, bringing the number of martyrs to more than 950 and those injured to 5,000.

The Israeli death toll rose to 1,200 and more than 2,700 were injured.

Israel said dozens of its fighter jets struck more than 200 targets overnight on Wednesday in a neighborhood of Gaza City that it said had been used by Hamas to launch its unprecedented wave of attacks.

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Gaza's health ministry said at least 900 people have been killed and 4,600 wounded in the crowded coastal enclave.

Palestinian media said Israeli airstrikes hit homes in Gaza City, the southern city of Khan Younis, and the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. One home struck belonged to the father of Mohammed Deif, the leader of Hamas' armed wing in Gaza, reports said. Deif's brother and other family members were killed, according to the reports.

Residents appealing for help on social media said many buildings had collapsed, sometimes trapping as many as 50 people inside with rescue workers unable to reach them. The United Nations said more than 180,000 Gazans had been made homeless, many huddling on streets or in schools.

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At the morgue in Gaza's Khan Younis hospital, bodies lay on the ground on stretchers with names written on their bellies. Medics called for relatives to pick up bodies quickly because there was no more space for the dead. A municipal building was hit while being used as an emergency shelter. Survivors there spoke of many dead. "No place is safe in Gaza, as you see they hit everywhere," said Ala Abu Tair, 35, who had sought shelter there with his family after fleeing Abassan Al-Kabira near the border. Two members of Hamas' political office, Jawad Abu Shammala and Zakaria Abu Maamar, were killed in an air strike in Khan Younis, a Hamas official said.

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