As it happened: Gaza conflict intensifies

Key points

  • Gaza suffers highest death toll and most intense shelling since the launch of Israel's offensive
  • At least 87 Palestinians are said to have been killed on Sunday, 60 in one neighbourhood alone
  • Israel's military confirms the deaths of 13 soldiers overnight after Hamas claims a major attack
  • Gaza militants are continuing to fire rockets into Israel, with one landing in the city of Ashkelon
  • Israel earlier said it had expanded its operation - launched 13 days ago - against Hamas militants
  • All times BST (GMT +1)

Live text

Reporting:

  • Patrick Jackson 
  • Susanna Cooper 
  • Matthew Davis 

Last updated 20 July 2014

STANDARD 16:12

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the conflict in Gaza. Sunday has seen the heaviest bombardment of Gaza since the Israeli offensive began. The Palestinian leadership has condemned as a massacre the killing of at least 60 people in one neighbourhood of Gaza, Shejaiya. Thousands of Palestinian civilians are fleeing the area. Meanwhile rocket fire from the strip, into Israel, has continued. Hamas also claims it carried out a major attack on Israeli forces in Gaza, causing multiple casualties - although Israel has not commented on this.

STANDARD 16:20

Paramedics say rescue workers have so far not been able to get to East Shejaiya, an area very close to the Israeli border, which has seen heavy shelling. The death toll in the area is expected to rise.

Medic in Shejaiya

STANDARD 16:26

Palestinians are fleeing Shejaiya in their thousands amid scenes of panic. Israel says it is targeting militants operating in the area, and that it has been warning civilians to evacuate for days.

Palestinians flee Shejaiya

BREAKING 16:30 Breaking News

Some 13 Israeli soldiers were killed overnight in Gaza, news agencies, quoting Israeli military sources, say. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to address the nation shortly.

STANDARD 16:36

The Israel Defense Forces twitter account in Hebrew (@idfonline) says the dead soldiers are from the Golani Brigade, an Israeli infantry unit.

STANDARD 16:39

Daniel Taub, Israeli ambassador to the UK, tells the BBC: "This area Shejaiya is a very densely populated area in Gaza, [it also has] densest concentrations of Hamas activity. We know that underneath this area are stockpiles of weapons, terrorist headquarters."

TWEET

Belal, a Palestinian doctor in Gaza

tweets: From the very west side of Gaza city I can hear artillery hitting the far eastern side, loud and non-stopping. #GazaUnderAttack

TWEET

BBC World

tweets: Shejaiya is "terror stronghold" & centre for rockets fired at Israel - PM Netanyahu in BBC Arabic interview http://bbc.in/1rugdgA

TWEET

Kelvin Brown, BBC producer in Gaza

tweets: An Israeli air strike just hit a house a few streets away from our bureau.

Impact of Israeli air strike

STANDARD 16:48

More on that BBC Arabic interview with Israel's PM. Mr Netanyahu said that the area of Shejaiya in Gaza under attack today is a "terror stronghold" and is a centre for rockets that are fired out to Israel. He defended the Israeli assault on Gaza saying that Israeli soldiers came under heavy fire when they entered the area in search of tunnels. He said they had no choice but to enter densely populated areas and says that they asked civilians to leave.