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article imageWar in Gaza may widen as Netanyahu apologizes for civilian deaths

By Eric Morales     Jul 18, 2014 in World
Gaza - One Israeli soldier has been killed, and 20 Palestinians are dead as the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip enters its second day.
Two days into Israel's ground offensive in the Gaza Strip and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering widening the scope of Operation Protective Edge, as much of Gaza is left in the dark without electricity and sirens continue to sound across Israel.
One Israeli soldier has been killed in the conflict which began on July 8th, Sergeant Eitan Barak, 20-years-old of the Nahal Brigade was mortally wounded likely by friendly fire according to Israeli Defense force officials. The soldier was from Herzliya and has been posthumously promoted to First Sergeant.
In Gaza Palestinian health officials say 20 people have been killed since the ground incursion began, and 2,000 injured. According to Al Aqsa radio which is run by Hamas three young siblings were killed by an Israeli artillery. Walaa, 12-years-old, Mohammed 13-years-old and, Ahmed 14-years-old, children of Ismail Abu Musalam were all killed when an artillery shell hit their bedroom in the Al Nada housing block.
"(Netanyahu) is killing Gaza children, but he will pay the price.” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, on his Facebook page.
The Israeli military given the impression that its campaign has hit the ground running, the IDF claims they have uncovered 20 tunnel entrances, struck over 150 targets along the Gaza coast and killed 17 Hamas fighters.
As President Barack Obama spoke to Netanyahu, he received a stark reminder of how dangerous the conflict is, as the two leaders discussed the situation a siren warning of incoming missiles could be heard in Tel Aviv.
"This is the reality in which millions of Israeli citizens have been living during the past number of days.” Netanyahu told Obama. The Israeli prime minister continued to tell Obama that Hamas was “using the residents of Gaza as human shields” and therefore was “responsible for the casualties, ” according to the Prime Minister's office.
Violent protests erupted in front of Israeli missions in Instanbul and Ankara over the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip, parliamentarians from Turkey's governing Justice and Development party joined a demonstration at the Israeli Embassy in Ankara.
"You should be left without descendants. Murderer Jew," was written on a nearby wall at the Israeli consulate in Istanbul.
Turkey called for a meeting of the United Nations which was held on Friday and its prime minister Tayyip Erdogan accused the Jewish state of committing genocide. Erdogan also stated that Turkey would not mend diplomatic fences with Israel as long as he was in office.
"Israel has never been a supporter of peace, has tyrannized and continues to tyrannize.” Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers.
The families of Israeli diplomats in Turkey have been notified to return to Israel.
Although the streets of Gaza are a virtual ghost town clothed in darkness much of the staff at Gaza's Al Shifa Hospital has been working around the clock for 11 days.
Al Qarara residents in the town of Khan Younis state that the IDF has leveled crops in a buffer zone near the border with Israel. Restrictions on planting were lifted in 2012 following a cease-fire with Hamas.
Fifty rockets were fired into southern Israel from the time the IDF started its invasion in Gaza until 7 a.m. on Friday morning.
"What the occupier Israel failed to achieve through its air and sea raids, it will not be able to achieve with a ground offensive, ” Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal was quoted as saying by the Agence France-Presse.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas predicted the ground invasion would lead to more bloodshed and hurt efforts at making peace. Abbas' visit to Cairo has failed to reach a ceasefire in the past two days. Abbas will now travel to Qatar to pursue peace talks there.
In Israel, the Home Front Command banned any gatherings of in excess of 1,000 people as far north as Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem as well as in communities near Gaza. Groups of more than 300 people are also prohibited and Muslim men under the age of 50 are not permitted to prayer at the Al Aqsa Mosque.
The families of three Palestinian men accused of abducting three Israeli teenagers - an incident which helped spark the current round of fighting were told that their homes in Hebron would be demolished.
The United Nations estimates that three-quarters of Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge are children, while Palestinian health officials say they have personally identified 20 children dead as a result of Israeli attacks.
"(The IDF) is a moral army like no other, ” Netanyahu said on Friday he continued that Israel “does not aspire to hurt even one innocent person, not even one.” The Israeli leader blamed Hamas and other Palestinian groups for using “their citizens as human shields, ” and went on to say he was “sorry for every mistaken strike on civilians.”
The United Nations Relief and Work Agency are currently housing 22,000 Gazans displaced by the invasion in 23 different camps in Gaza City according to aid worker Chris Gunness.
A video released by the IDF showed an army captain giving his soldiers last minute instructions before they prepared to enter Gaza.
"I Don’t think I need to explain to you why we are doing what we are doing, I am confident in what we are doing, because it is our right to be free in our land. It’s not a slogan. It’s the truth. "
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