Israeli minister warns the country ‘will take over the whole Gaza Strip’ if necessary

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GAZA CITY – Israel has warned it will take over the whole of Gaza if necessary as the U.N. Security Council appealed for an immediate ceasefire.

Israel’s communications Minister Gilad Erdan said that the IDF must continue fighting and that he hopes there will not be a ceasefire in the coming days, unless all the tunnels into Israel are destroyed.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by APAimages/REX (3960200e)
 A Palestinian girl from al-Shaer family, who medics said was wounded after an Israeli air strike hit their house, receives treatment at a hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip
 Israel - Gaza conflict, Gaza, Palestinian Territories - 20 Jul 2014
 The death toll in Gaza passed 400 as Israel pressed its biggest offensive in the enclave in five years, Palestinian health officials said. "410 people have been killed since the war started and more than 3,020 people have been injured, most of them civilians," deputy health minister Yussef Abu Rish told reporters at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City

‘We cannot stop the operation while it is still unclear whether the Gaza Strip will be demilitarized or not. If that means the IDF needs to stay in the northern Gaza Strip to ensure quiet, then we will have to reconquer the area near its northern border,’ The Jerusalem Post reported Erdan as saying.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by APAimages/REX (3960200b)
 A Palestinian girl from al-Shaer family, who medics said was wounded after an Israeli air strike hit their house, receives treatment at a hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip
 Israel - Gaza conflict, Gaza, Palestinian Territories - 20 Jul 2014
 The death toll in Gaza passed 400 as Israel pressed its biggest offensive in the enclave in five years, Palestinian health officials said. "410 people have been killed since the war started and more than 3,020 people have been injured, most of them civilians," deputy health minister Yussef Abu Rish told reporters at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City

 Today Israeli jets, tanks and artillery continued to pound the Gaza Strip, killing 28 members of a single family near the enclave’s southern border with Egypt, medics said. At least ten Palestinian militants were also killed when the IDF blew up a tunnel with explosives.

Palestinian Beisan Dhahir, 7, sleeps at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, late Sunday, July 20, 2014. Beisan's home was shelled and collapsed by Israelís military operation in Shijaiyah in the Gaza Strip.  She survived the ordeal with her aunt and uncle. Beisan's mother, father, brother, sister and baby sister all died in the attack.  According to a family relative, the house came crashing down around 11:00 am local time. During a temporary ceasefire, an Associated Press team accompanied Palestinian Red Cross volunteers who managed to speak to the aunt who was trapped under the rubble of her home pleading for help for her husband and Beisan.  By 6pm local time the volunteers were able to free the young girl and her aunt and uncle from the rubble, leaving behind the rest of her family.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

And as the onslaught showed little sign of abating, at least four more people were killed and 70 were injured when an Israeli tanks reportedly attacked a hospital on the Gaza strip.

The injured included at least 20 medical staff when the third floor of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital in Deir al-Balah was hit by tank fire, an interior ministry official said.

The Islamist group Hamas and its allies fired multiple missiles across southern and central Israel in retaliation, and heavy fighting was reported in the north and east of Gaza.

Non-stop attacks lifted the Palestinian death toll to 508 including almost 100 children, since fighting started on July 8, Gaza health officials said. Israel says 18 of its soldiers have also died along with two civilians.

Despite the new cease-fire efforts by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli aircraft continued to strike homes in Gaza while Hamas fired more rockets and tried to infiltrate into Israel.

Following its urgent overnight meeting, the Security Council expressed ‘serious concern’ about the rising death toll and demanded ‘an immediate cessation of hostilities.’

Despite worldwide calls for a cessation of the worst bout of Palestinian-Israeli violence for more than five years, Israeli ministers ruled out any swift truce.

‘This is not the time to talk of a ceasefire,’ said Gilad Erdan, communications minister and a member of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner security cabinet.

‘We must complete the mission, and the mission cannot end until the threat of the tunnels is removed,’ he told reporters.

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