The death toll in Gaza, following increased ground offensives and aerial missile attacks by both Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces, has risen to above 500 people as local buildings and civilians are caught up in the bloody violence.
At least 500 people have now died and over 3000 are injured in the most recent Israeli operation into the Gaza Strip. Initiated on 8 July 2014 Operation Protective Edge and the subsequent ground invasion of Gaza territory by Israeli troops, coinciding with continued missile strikes in the area, have killed numerous militants and soldiers.
The operation is aimed at weakening Hamas, an organisation with extremist and militant links that has strong standing in the Gaza Strip. However estimates from the United Nations suggest that of the Palestinian casualties, which are believed to around 570 people, 78% of these are civilians, 17% are militants and the remaining 5% are unknown.
The IDF, the Israeli Defense Force, claims that it has killed over 230 militants in the fighting. The Israeli side of the conflict has also suffered casualties, particularly during the intense ground assault by Israeli forces recently. According to official reports by the IDF there have been 25 soldiers killed and 2 civilians from the Israeli side of the conflict. Hamas however claim that 32 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the fighting and 1 has been captured.
Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu continues to defend his country’s actions and justify his own losses, saying that his country will use as much force as necessary to defeat the Hamas organisation. In response to the violence the United States, particularly Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama, has tried to mediate the conflict and bring about a peaceful resolution, with the former flying out to the Middle East to converse directly with the leaders of the clashing sides.