Hamas rejects ceasefire officially, Israel pounds Gaza as death toll climbs
Hamas officially rejected a proposed ceasefire deal with Israel Wednesday as the death toll surpassed 200, according to Agence France Presse.
Egypt prepared a ceasefire draft deal Tuesday that was officially rejected by Hamas Wednesday due to the fact that the Palestinian faction was not included in the talks and discussions that led to the deal's formulation.
According to AFP reports and Haaretz newspaper, the truce was formed based on talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi Saturday, but Hamas was not involved in the conversation.
However a senior Hamas official is allegedly set to meet with an Egyptian mediator Wednesday, according to Azzam Al Ahmed, a prominent politician from the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank. President Mahmoud Abbas was also set to arrive in Egypt Wednesday to participate in what has been described as top-level truce talks.
While discussions on a ceasefire remain in check, Israel intensified its campaign on Gaza Wednesday yet again.
"Israel has no option but to continue the operation and intensify it," former national security adviser Giora Eiland told army radio, as reported by AFP
"The main dilemma is over [whether or not to conduct] a ground operation. It looks like we’re rolling in that direction, since air strikes have their limitation," he added, explaining that a ground approach would be the only way that Israel "[can inflict] real destruction" on Hamas.
More than 200 Palestinians have died in the past nine days from the Israeli airstrikes, and more than 1550 have been wounded. Hundreds of homes have been completely destroyed and thousands do not have access to running water.
In the latest attack Wednesday, four children were killed from a strike on Gaza City, according to AFP's medic sources. At least three children were also injured, as witnessed by AFP journalists.
Earlier Wednesday, at least six people were killed from a raid on Khan Yunis in the Strip's south and another five wounded. Among the dead was a ten-year-old boy as well as a 65-year-old woman.
Another airstrike in Rafah left another four dead.
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), more than 80 percent of the dead are civilians, rather than Israel's so called target of "Hamas militants."