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Middle East

Abbas: Israel committing 'genocide' in Gaza

Palestinians stand next to a destroyed house following what police said was an Israeli air strike in central Gaza Strip July 9, 2014. (REUTERS/Ashraf Amrah)

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas accused Wednesday Israel of committing "genocide" in Gaza during its military campaign which has so far killed 43 Palestinians.

"It's genocide - the killing of entire families is genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people," he told a crisis meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

"What's happening now is a war against the Palestinian people as a whole and not against the (militant) factions.

"We know that Israel is not defending itself, it is defending settlements, its main project," said Abbas.

"We are moving in several ways to stop the Israeli aggression and spilling of Palestinian blood, including talking to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon."

Egypt urged Wednesday Israel and Hamas in Gaza to halt their spiraling conflict but played down hopes of a Cairo-mediated truce.

"There is no mediation, in the common sense of the word," said Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Atty.

"Egyptian diplomatic efforts are aimed at immediately stopping Israeli aggression and ending all mutual violence. (Egyptian) contacts have not yet achieved a result."

Wednesday was the second day of Israel's Operation Protective Edge.

Israel warplanes have so far hit 550 targets in Gaza, and Hamas militants have hit back with 165 rockets, some of which struck Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and as far away as Hadera, 116 kilometers to the north of the coastal enclave.

Palestinian fatalities include militants but also women and children. More than 370 people have been wounded.

 

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