A four-year-old Israeli child was reportedly killed by mortar fire in southern Israel near the Gaza border on Friday afternoon, the latest casualty of renewed violence between Israel and Hamas that has disproportionately claimed Palestinian lives.
Since hostilities resumed Tuesday, 76 Palestinians have been killed, according to Ashraf el-Qedra, spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, bringing the total death toll since the conflict began in early July to 2,092 Palestinians—about 75 percent of them civilians and more than 450 of them children—and 68 Israelis, all but four of them soldiers.
Also Friday, Reuters reported that Hamas-led gunmen in Gaza executed 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel, "accelerating a crackdown on suspected informers after Israeli forces tracked down and killed three senior Hamas commanders" on Thursday.
In response to the child's death, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "Hamas will pay a heavy price for this attack." He vowed that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the Shin Bet security service will "intensify" operations against Hamas "until the goal of Protective Edge is achieved."
Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that Gaza's economy will take years to recover from the devastating impact of the war:
Almost 10 percent of Gaza's factories have been put out of action, said the Palestinian Federation of Industries. Most other industrial plants have halted production during the conflict, causing losses estimated at more than $70m, said the union of Palestinian industries. The UN's food and agriculture organisation (FAO) said about 42,000 acres of croplands had sustained substantial direct damage and half of Gaza's poultry stock has been lost due to direct hits or lack of care as access to farmlands along the border with Israel became impossible.
"The initial indications are that economic damage caused by the war is three times that of the 2008-9 conflict," said Gaza-based economist Omar Shaban, referring to the Israeli military operation, code-named Cast Lead. "It's huge."