Civilian casualties in Gaza rise, disabled among the victims

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On 8 July 2014, a boy, seen through a hole in a destroyed building, looks through a schoolbook as he sits amid the rubble of a home that was destroyed during an Israeli air strike in the city of Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip. © UNICEF/NYHQ2014-0894/El Baba

Israeli security forces are being urged once again to put an end to the airstrikes in Gaza that are endangering civilians and civilian infrastructure such as schools, clinics and water supplies.

The Commissioner General of the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) Pierre Krähenbühl made the remarks during a briefing to the press in Gaza on Monday.

Mr Krähenbühl travelled to Gaza with the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories, James Rawley, to observe first-hand the situation resulting from the widening military operations.

He warned that if calm was not quickly restored, the casualty levels would become even more intolerable and unacceptable.

"I am deeply alarmed and affected by the escalation of violence in the Gaza strip and the devastating human and physical toll it is taking on civilians, including Palestine refugees. The casualty members are now said to lie at 174 killed and over 1,100 wounded.  All indications are, and I find this particularly dramatic, that women and children make up a sizeable number of victims of the current strikes."  (30″)

Equally disturbing is that people with disabilities are among the victims reportedly as a result of Israeli airstrikes, the UNRWA Commissioner-General added.

As a direct result of military operations, he noted, over 17,000 refugees have sought shelter at URWA schools.

Mr Krähenbühl also called for an end to the indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza aimed at Israel.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration:  1’38″

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