Israel to 'resist international pressure' over Gaza

An eight-year-old Palestinian girl was hit by shrapnel which became embedded in her brain, as Jeremy Bowen reports

Israel will resist foreign pressure to halt its operations against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.

He said Israel had attacked more than 1,000 targets there since Tuesday, and was using twice the force it used during a similar operation in 2012.

Palestinian officials say at least 121 people have died in the air strikes.

Hamas militants have continued to fire rockets into Israel from Gaza, causing damage and injuries.

Mr Netanyahu said he had held "very good, positive" telephone consultations with US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

But he added that "no international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power".

James Reynolds reports from a petrol station gutted by a rocket attack in the Israeli city of Ashdod

The Palestinian health ministry says in addition to those killed, 750 people - mainly civilians - have been injured in Israel's Operation Protective Edge since it began on Tuesday.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs has estimated that 77% of the people killed in Gaza so far have been civilians.

Israel says "dozens of terrorists" are among the dead.

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Analysis: BBC Middle East correspondent Kevin Connolly

To the outside world the Gaza rockets may seem ineffective - partly because many are homemade and partly because they're hopelessly overmatched by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile defence system.

But Israeli civilians judge the rockets by the intent behind them and not by their military effectiveness. They are grimly familiar with the ritual of running for shelter with their children when they hear a 15-second warning. They expect their government to put a stop to it.

The problem is that there's no easy way of doing that.

Even if you believe in the myth of the accuracy of modern weapons systems, you have to accept that air raids are going to kill innocent people.

What can Israel and Hamas gain from latest conflict?

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says there is "serious doubt" as to whether Israeli's military operation complies with international laws banning the targeting of civilians.

"We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes," Ms Pillay said in a statement.

Israel has repeatedly insisted that it tries to avoid civilian casualties, but says the militants often place their military assets in residential areas.

Smoke rises following an Israeli strike on Gaza, seen from the Israel-Gaza border, Friday, July 2014 Israel has continued its air strikes on targets in Gaza
Image shows a Palestinian rocket being fired at a neighbourhood in Ashkelon, a southern Israeli coastal town bordering Gaza.  copyright Michal Nahum Meanwhile, Palestinian rockets are being fired across the border into Israel
An Iron Dome missile is launched to counter rockets from Gaza, 11 July Israel uses Iron Dome missiles to counter rockets from Gaza
Palestinian medics wheel a stretcher transporting a boy who hospital officials said was wounded in an Israeli air strike, at a hospital in Gaza City July 11, 2014. The Palestinians say 750 people have been injured in Gaza
Israeli police check damage from a rocket on a synagogue in Tel Aviv, 11 July Israeli police check damage from a rocket attack on a synagogue in Tel Aviv
Air strike on Rafah, southern Gaza, on Friday 11 July Five people were reported killed in an air strike on Rafah, southern Gaza, on Friday
Attacks continue

Palestinian medical officials reported on Saturday that a building hit overnight in the town of Beit Lahiya was the home of a charitable association for people with disabilities, the BBC's Kevin Connolly in Jerusalem reports.

Two of the people cared for there - both teenagers - are said to have been killed, our correspondent adds.

There were three more deaths overnight when a house in a refugee camp was hit, killing an Islamic Jihad activist and two other men.

In Israel, one person was seriously injured when a rocket hit a petrol station in Ashdod on Friday morning, Israeli officials say.

According to the military, 77 rockets hit Israel on Friday, with the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepting an additional 19.

Some 20,000 Israeli army reservists have been mobilised amid speculation of a ground offensive into Gaza.

Correspondents say a ground invasion would be a big political gamble as the military would have to deliver a clear victory before leaving, and that would be extremely difficult.

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International reaction

The US offered to help broker a truce.

After a call to Mr Netanyahu, President Obama said: "The United States remains prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement."

Mr Obama also "expressed concern about the risk of further escalation and emphasised the need for all sides to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians and restore calm".

Egypt and Turkey have both criticised Israel's use of force.

Egypt helped broker a truce between Israel and Hamas after a conflict in 2012, but the BBC's Orla Guerin in Cairo says there is currently no sign that Egypt may deliver a ceasefire, as it has done in the past.

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Israel's Iron Dome missile shield
Iron dome graphic
  1. Enemy fires missile or artillery shell
  2. Projectile tracked by radar, data relayed to battle-management-and-control unit
  3. Data analysed and target co-ordinates sent to the missile firing unit
  4. Missile is fired at enemy projectile

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