Gazans flee fearing major Israeli crackdown

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Photo by Atef Safadi / EPA

Israel stepped up its crackdown against Gaza on Sunday, July 13, as the Palestinian death toll from the Israeli air campaign hit 166, with 1,120 people wounded. AFP reported thousands of residents were fleeing for their lives and sought refuge in schools run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. Despite increasing calls for a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the military was hitting Hamas “with growing force.” Meanwhile, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said he would ask UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to “put the State of Palestine under the UN international protection system.” The latest escalation began on June 12, when 3 Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and murdered, triggering a crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank. The conflict worsened after a Palestinian teen was killed by Jewish extremists on July 2.

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