Since the beginning of the current round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, 42 percent of Gazans killed are women and children, according to figures release Friday by the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.
This week's violence has killed 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, 19 women, and wounded 830 people in the impoverished territory. Israeli airstrikes have pounded apartments, blown up cars and toppled buildings.
Israeli artillery pounded northern Gaza early Friday in an attempt to destroy a vast network of militant tunnels inside the territory, the military said, bringing the front lines closer to dense civilian areas and paving the way for a potential ground invasion.
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Israel has massed troops along the border and called up 9,000 reservists following days of fighting with the Islamic militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza. Palestinians militants have fired some 1,800 rockets and the military has launched more than 600 airstrikes, toppling at least three apartment blocks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.