Mehr News Agency) - So far 195 children have been in the Israeli blitz on the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical officials say. Gaza health officials say that since the onslaught began on Dec. 27 more than 550 Palestinians have been killed and 2,500 wounded.
Televised images of wounded and murdered civilians, especially children, have caused outrage across the world, especially the Islamic world.
Eleven members of one family, including five children, were killed in a northern Gaza City neighborhood early Monday morning after Israeli soldiers ordered them to leave their home, medical officials said.
Civilian deaths are likely to rise as the Israeli forces move in on the narrow city streets and refugee camp alleys.
"Usually you have people trying to flee the area of conflict," said John Ging, the head of the United Nations refugee agency in the Gaza Strip. "But they don't have this choice in Gaza because they are trapped in a very, very densely populated area."
Backed by the U.S., the Israeli leaders have so far refused international calls to stop the war on the densely populated, starved and besieged coastal strip.
On Monday, Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rebuffed pleas by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a European delegation to call a temporary halt to war to head off a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
On Saturday, the U.S. blocked an effort by the UN Security Council to issue a statement calling for a ceasefire.
UN humanitarian chief John Holmes has called the Gaza strife an "increasingly alarming" humanitarian crisis. He said Gaza is running low on clean water, power, food, medicine and other supplies since Israel began its offensive.
The Israeli army is pounding Gaza from the air, land, and sea.
A three-person European Union delegation also met Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Monday to call for an immediate cease-fire.
"We are not sharing the view that the cease-fire is only possible if all possible aims of the Israeli action are achieved," said Karel Schwarzenberg , the foreign minister of the Czech Republic , which became the leader of the 27-member body last week.
According to the Time magazine, since Israel began a ground offensive on Saturday night, most of the dead and wounded arriving at Shifa Hospital in Gaza are civilians, as Israel's offensive shifts from airstrikes to artillery shelling and fighting close to densely populated areas.
An Associated Press reporter also said that all the injured brought to Shifa on Monday were civilians. Shifa is the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip.
Israel claims it is targeting only the Hamas fighters. But the 550 Palestinians who have been killed include at least 200 civilians, according to Dr. Moaiya Hassanein of the Gaza Health Ministry.
On Monday, 20 children between the ages of 2 and 15 were killed, he said. Since the military offensive began Dec. 27, three Israeli civilians have been killed.
In fighting that raged early Tuesday morning, at least 18 people were killed in shelling up and down the strip, local hospital officials said. Only two could be confirmed as militants, AP reported.
Three brothers died in an attack on a town outside Gaza City, a Gaza health official said. They were carried to a cemetery in an emotional funeral. One of them, Issa Samouni, 3, was wrapped in a white cloth, showing only his pale, yellow face. A man delicately placed him in a dark grave cut into the earth.
Qashqavi also said the main motive behind Israel's attacks on Gaza is aimed at eliminating Hamas and breaking up the Palestinian "resistance".
"The Zionist regime has resorted to this attack to destroy resistance and Hamas," he said on the sidelines of a mourning ceremony for Imam Hussein (AS) in Sari, Mazandaran Province, on Tuesday night.
The spokesman criticized the Security Council for it failure to declare a ceasefire in Gaza.
Israel's war on the Gaza Strip has so far killed at least 660 people, many of them civilians. At least 40 people were killed as Israel targeted a UN school in Gaza on Tuesday
"What reason can justify such savagery?" Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Justice and Development Party in Parliament.
He said the offensive was a bid by the Israeli leadership to score points ahead of general elections in February, AFP reported.
Referring to the Israeli ministers of defense and foreign affairs, Erdogan said: "I am telling Ehud Barak and (Tzipi) Livni to forget about the elections, because history will judge them for the black stain they are leaving on humanity."
Erdogan said Hamas "has also made mistakes." However, he insisted that the Israeli response was disproportionate.
Many analysts had expected the two Arab countries of Egypt and Jordan, which have diplomatic relations with the Tel Aviv regime, to expel Israeli's ambassadors over the Gaza blitz.
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