Israel authorized a seven-hour humanitarian window to take place Monday (local time) in the Gaza Strip after withdrawing most of its ground troops in an apparent winding down of the nearly monthlong operation against Hamas. The withdrawal means Israeli troops, who have been gathered along Gaza's border for weeks, will be far less vulnerable to attack in the conflict that has left more than 1,800 Palestinians and more than 60 Israelis dead.
Even as Israel said it was close to completing its mission, heavy fighting raged in parts of Gaza, with at least 10 people killed in what U.N. and Palestinian officials said was an Israeli airstrike near a U.N. shelter. The State Department said Sunday that the United States was “appalled” by the airstrike, and called on Israel to “do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.” And with Hamas officials vowing to continue their fight, it remained uncertain whether Israel could unilaterally end the war.
Earlier in the day, the U.N. condemned the attack as a “moral outrage” and violation of international humanitarian law. Both the State Department and the U.N. stressed that Israel had been informed of the locations of U.N. facilities.
— Erin McClam with The Associated Press
First published August 3 2014, 11:22 AM