Day 22: Gaza deaths at 1088, Israeli deaths at 53
At least 26 were killed and 241 injured across the Gaza Strip on Monday night as Israel resumed its offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Talks for a ceasefire, meanwhile, appeared stillborn after Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu warned in a speech that the campaign could last long, even as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rushed to Cairo to meet with Hamas representatives.
The renewed evening assault brought the total of Palestinians killed Monday to 44, while another 12 bodies were recovered from the rubble by medical teams earlier in the day.
Gaza Ministry of Health Spokesman said over the last 21 days, a total of 1,088 Palestinians have been killed and 6,470 have been injured. Of the dead, 251 have been children and 50 have been elderly, while 1,980 children and 259 elderly have been among the injured.
The figures include 10 people who were killed on Monday following an Israeli air strike on a children's playground in al-Shati refugee camp in the afternoon, where family outings to celebrate the first day of the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday ended in horror with eight children among the dead.
Eyewitnesses told Ma'an that children had been wearing clothes given to them as gifts for the Eid and many families had chosen to take advantage of a relative lull in the 21-day assault to head to the park in the seaside neighborhood where the strike occurred.
Although Israel has blamed the deaths on a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket, Gaza police who inspected the rubble and victims' bodies as well as eyewitnesses confirmed the strike was Israeli.
Israel stepped up its bombardment Monday night in response to rocket fire by Palestinians, as well as a mortar fire that killed four soldiers in southern Israel.
The attack brought the total number of Israeli soldiers killed in the conflict to 53, including nine killed from mortar and tunnel attacks on Monday, according to the Israel Defense Force reports. Fewer than 10 percent of Israeli casualties have been civilian, while Gaza-based rights group estimate that Palestinian deaths have been more than 90 percent civilian, including nearly 300 children.
Meanwhile, Israel had told at least 400,000 Palestinians in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes via text and phone, raising terror among Gazans that all those who stayed would be treated as legitimate targets.