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Gaza crisis: Israeli death toll rises to 600 as fighting intensifies

At least 600 Israelis have been reported killed in the ongoing battle between the Palestinian Hamas militant group and Israel.

In the early hours of Saturday, the militant group infiltrated Israel in an unprecedented assault.

At least 100 people in Israel were confirmed killed at the onset of the invasion, with many more left badly injured.

Mohammed Deif, Hamas military commander, had said the attacks were a reprisal for Israel’s “desecration” of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

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Deif alleged that Israel killed and wounded hundreds of Palestinians this year.

More than 600 Israelis have now been killed and among the dead are dozens of soldiers and police.

According to Times of Israel, the health ministry confirmed that the number of those wounded and in hospitals has reached 2,048, including 20 in critical condition and 330 seriously injured.

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There have been reports suggesting that Egypt is negotiating with Hamas on behalf of Israel for the freedom of hostages.

An Israeli official was reported to have said the government is unaware of such discussions and is not engaged in negotiations with Hamas.

On Sunday in his weekly address to the faithful in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis called for an end to attacks and violence in Israel.

The Pope said terrorism and war would not solve any problems “but only bring further suffering and death to innocent people”.

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“War is a defeat, only a defeat. Let’s pray for peace in Israel and Palestine,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the militant group would be annihilated.

Netanyahu vowed that Israel would be victorious in the war “despite an unbearable price”.

“Hamas wants to murder us all. This is an enemy that murders children and mothers in their homes, in their beds, an enemy that abducts the elderly, children and young women, that slaughters and massacres our citizens, including children, who simply went out to enjoy the holiday,” he said.

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