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Israeli strikes kill 24 on day 45 of Gaza war

Three senior Hamas commanders and four children were among 24 Palestinians killed in Gaza on Thursday as Israel stepped up air strikes on day 45 of the bloody conflict.

GAZA CITY: Three senior Hamas commanders and four children were among 24 Palestinians killed in Gaza on Thursday as Israel stepped up air strikes on day 45 of the bloody conflict.

Aside from the 24 people killed in air strikes, rescue workers also found the body of a child under the rubble who had been killed on Tuesday and a man died of his injuries sustained earlier in the conflict, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said. Their deaths raised the overall toll in Gaza to 2,075, with more than 10,310 wounded, he said. Of that number, 58 have been killed since violence resumed following the collapse of a truce agreement on Tuesday afternoon.

The leaders in the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades were among at least 10 people killed when Israeli missiles destroyed a four-storey home in the southern city of Rafah before dawn. The Brigades, the military wing of Hamas which holds de facto power in Gaza, identified the three as Mohammed Abu Shamala, Raed al-Atar and Mohammed Barhum.

The deadly raid came 36 hours after the wife and infant son of the Brigades' top military leader, Mohammed Deif, were killed in an Israeli strike on Gaza City late Tuesday. Rescue workers on Thursday also pulled the body of Deif's three-year-old daughter Sara from the ruins, Qudra said.

During the morning, two strikes hit people in the street in the northern town of Beit Lahiya and in Gaza City, killing seven, four of them children. Two more strikes on Gaza City killed two men in a car, and another four at a graveyard, whom medics said were attending a funeral. A man was also killed in a raid on Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. Another man in the same camp also died of injuries sustained earlier in the conflict, Qudra said.

The UN says around three-quarters of the victims in Gaza are civilians. Sixty-seven people have died on the Israeli side. One civilian was severely wounded by mortar shells fired from Gaza on Thursday, the military said. 

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