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The Latest: Turkey urges Pope to back sanctions on Israel

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked Pope Francis to support sanctions against Israel, saying Palestinians will continue to be “massacred” as long as the international community does not punish Israel.

During a telephone telephone call Monday with the pope, Erdogan also said that “continued messages and reactions” from Francis in support of Palestinians would be of great importance for the “mobilization of the Christian world and of the international community,” according to a statement from the Turkish presidential communications directorate.

During their conversation, Erdogan also renewed a call for the international community to take concrete steps to show Israel the “dissuasive reaction and lesson it deserves,” according to the statement. The Turkish leader has been engaged in a telephone diplomacy bid to end Israel’s use of force.

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s mayor says Israeli airstrikes Monday on the Gaza Strip have caused extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure, while the Israeli military says they destroyed 15 kilometers (nine miles) of militant tunnels and the homes of nine alleged Hamas commanders.

“If the aggression continues we expect conditions to become worse,” mayor Yahya Sarraj told Al-Jazeera TV.

The U.N. has warned that the territory’s sole power station is at risk of running out of fuel, and Sarraj said Gaza was also low on spare parts. Gaza already experiences daily power outages for between eight and 12 hours and tap water is undrinkable. Mohammed Thabet, a spokesman for the the territory’s electricity distribution company, said it has fuel to supply Gaza with electricity for two or three days. Airstrikes have damaged supply lines and the company’s staff cannot reach areas that were hit because of continued Israeli shelling, he added.

The war broke out last Monday, when the Hamas militant group fired long-range rockets at Jerusalem after weeks of clashes in the holy city between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police. The protests were focused on the heavy-handed policing of a flashpoint sacred site during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers.

Since then, the Israeli military has launched hundreds of airstrikes that it says are targeting Hamas’ militant infrastructure. Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired more than 3,100 rockets into Israel.

At least 188 Palestinians have been killed in the strikes and 1,230 people wounded. Eight people in Israel have been killed in rocket attacks from Gaza.

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JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says its airstrikes on the Gaza Strip have destroyed 15 kilometers (nine miles) of militant tunnels and the homes of nine alleged Hamas commanders.

Residents of Gaza awakened early Monday by the overnight barrage described it as the heaviest since the war began a week ago, and even more powerful than a wave of airstrikes in Gaza City the day before that left 42 dead and flattened three buildings.

There was no immediate word Monday on the casualties from the latest strikes. A three-story building in Gaza City was heavily damaged, but residents said the military warned them 10 minutes before the strike and everyone cleared out. They said many of the airstrikes hit nearby farmland.

 

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