Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has ticked into a seventh day amid rising civilian deaths, growing international protest and nascent diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed.

Missiles struck three training facilities of Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, early on Monday. Meanwhile, Israel claimed to have downed what it said was a drone over a southern city.

Neither incident resulted in any fatalities, contrasting with the prior six days of shelling in Gaza, which claimed the lives of 172 Palestinians, many of them civilians.

Fearing further bloodshed, more than 17,000 residents were said to have fled the Gaza Strip’s northern cities in anticipation of a potential ground assault.

Concern over the worsening humanitarian situation prompted protests across the world over the weekend, with demonstrators taking to European capitals and Washington, among other cities, to demand an end to the bombardment. In France, gendarmes were deployed to protect a Parisian synagogue after a group tried to storm the building during a march in the capital.

Palestinians rallying in Jerusalem and the West Bank faced Israeli security forces, who shot and killed 22-year-old Munir Ahmad Badarin near Hebron early Monday, Palestinian news website Maan News reported. His was the first death in the West Bank since Israel’s latest offensive against Gaza began. Two other Palestinians were shot and wounded in Beit Ummar, near Hebron, according to local reports.

Over the weekend at least 36 people were arrested while demonstrating in Jerusalem and 23 in the West Bank, according to Israeli news website Haaretz.

The protests come a week after the current offensive began. In that time more than 800 homes in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged in the shelling.

Thousands of residents have fled their homes in advance of more airstrikes and a possible ground incursion.

On Monday along the Israel-Gaza border, there was no indication that such a troop offensive was about to be immediately launched — though tanks and encampments could be seen preparing should the order come. At least 36,000 Israeli reservists have been called up to report for duty.

More than 1,000 people have been injured since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge one week ago. Erik Fossa, a Swedish heart surgeon working in Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital said that he worries that a ground war, especially a prolonged one, would overwhelm the hospital and that it would run out of equipment to treat patients. Medical supplies are already relatively scarce in the territory in part because of a seven-year blockade… see more

source: America Al-Jazeera