GAZA CITY: The death toll in Gaza rose to 572 on Monday. And the Israeli army said another seven soldiers had been killed in fighting in Gaza, raising the overall Israeli death toll to 27, all but two of them soldiers. Gaza emergency services spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra said airstrikes and shelling killed 54 people, including five children, across the enclave on Monday, and another 68 bodies were pulled from the rubble in areas hit by heavy fighting a day earlier.
The army also said its troops had killed “more than 10 militants” who had infiltrated Israel through two tunnels. Fighters killed inside Israel are not included in Qudra’s Gaza toll. The White House said Israel must do more to protect civilians caught up in the crossfire of its assault. “We would like the Israelis to take even greater steps to ensure the protection of civilians,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon demanded an immediate end to the raging conflict, during a visit to Cairo to push for a cease-fire. The “violence must stop, it must stop now,” he said.
Several hundred pro-Palestinian protesters demanded a halt to Israel’s atrocities in Gaza during a peaceful protest near the Israeli Embassy in the Cypriot capital. Meanwhile, residents of the Gaza Strip lit fireworks and chanted “God is great!” into the early morning darkness on Monday after Hamas said it had captured an Israeli soldier.
Abu Ubaida, the masked and camouflaged spokesman of Hamas’ armed wing, announced that a soldier named as Shaul Alon was seized in heavy fighting on the Gaza border on Sunday.