Gaza/Jerusalem : As the bloody conflict entered its 14th day amid mounting diplomatic pressure for a cease-fire, authorities in Jerusalem said that the Israeli army thwarted two more infiltrations into its territory via tunnels from the Gaza Strip on Monday.

A day after Israel’s deadliest attack on Gaza in recent years killed about 150 people, more than 10 Hamas militants were shot dead today after infiltrating southern Israel.

So far the conflict has killed 535 Palestinians and 20 Israelis.

Two Hamas cells tried to infiltrate Israel to carry out an attack through tunnels from northern Gaza but they were identified by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and an aircraft was dispatched to intercept them, the army said.

“The first cell was struck from the air, and ten of its members were killed”,

it said.

The second squad tried to approach Niram kibbutz close to Gaza’s northeastern tip, where they were engaged in a fierce gun battle with soldiers in which they also fired anti-tank weapons.

In the latest incident, an Israeli air strike on a home in the centre of Gaza City killed eight people, including four children, Palestinian medics said.

The strike came after tank-shelling on a hospital in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza killed five people. The deaths across Gaza today pushed the Palestinian toll to at least 535 in 14 days of fighting.

Kerry’s mic gaffe

As American President Barack Obama prepares to send Secretary of State John Kerry to Egypt to bring peace to West Asia, the latter on Sunday appeared to criticise Israel in candid remarks caught on an open microphone between television interviews.

Kerry was heard talking about Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza to a State Department official identified as Jonathan Finer just before appearing on the Fox News Sunday political talk show.

“I hope they don’t think that’s an invitation to go do more,” Kerry says. “That better be the warning to them.” A frustrated Kerry then says, “It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation”, in apparent frustration over the civilian toll in the Israeli

operation.

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