The battle of Israel vs. Hamas entered its 23rd day on Wednesday with little sign that the fierce fighting will abate any time soon despite ongoing diplomatic efforts. Hamas, through its military chief, reiterated that the Islamist group will not accept any ceasefire proposal until Israel ends its blockade of the Gaza Strip. It also ruled out any interim agreements. Overnight, the Palestinian death toll rose to more than 1,100 with more than 6,500 wounded. Israeli losses stand at 53. Palestinian sources claim Israeli tanks shelled a school building belonging to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief Works Agency, killing 17, but the Israeli military denied knowledge of the incident. The army did say, however, that it targeted 5 mosques that were being used as launch sites for rockets aimed at Israel, to secret entrances to tunnels, and conceal weapons. For the third time, UNRWA has issued a statement condemning those who placed a cache of weapons including rockets in an UNRWA school building, again without naming Hamas. On the diplomatic front, it was reported that the Israeli foreign ministry has advised the prime minister to take the initiative at the UN by initiating the process of drafting an agreement that would end the fighting.
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