Gaza offensive 'fiercest,' 'deadliest': Israel
Adraee told AA both Israel and the Palestinians sustained major losses when it comes to the number of people killed and injured

The Israeli army believes its latest Gaza Strip offensive was the hardest and costliest on both sides.

"The war was the fiercest," Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, shortly after the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the coastal enclave.

"It saw the heaviest shelling from our part, the fiercest fighting by both sides and the biggest losses in terms of those killed and wounded from both sides," he added.

"We have killed 800 Hamas fighters," Adraee said.

The Israeli government and Palestinian factions had endorsed an Egyptian proposal for a three-day ceasefire in theGazaStrip starting Tuesday.

Israel has since completely withdrawn its forces from the besieged Palestinian territory.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 1867 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed and 9470 wounded in unrelenting Israeli attacks since July 7.

The Israeli army, for its part, has confirmed the killing of 64 troops and the injury of 651 others inGazacombat operations, while three civilians were killed in rocket attacks on Israeli cities.

For its part, the Ezzeddin al-QassamBrigades, the military wing of Hamas, says it has killed 161 Israeli troops and captured one.

Adraee said Israeli troops had pulled out of the Gaza Strip after having destroyed 32 tunnels.

"We have already achieved the goal of our mission in Gaza," he told AA.

"We cannot talk about 100 percent success in destroying the tunnels. There might still be some tunnels left," admitted the Israeli spokesman.

"This was why our troops remain on the border with Gaza to protect our citizens in southern Israel," he added.

The Israeli army spokesman admitted that children and women were killed in Israeli attacks.

"This is an unjustifiable mistake. But we were largely targeting militant sites," he said.

Adraee asserted that Israel had since the beginning of the offensive formed committees to document responses to any accusations of committing war crimes in Gaza.

"We have many pictures that prove Hamas was fighting among civilian populations and schools as well as using mosques," he said.

Palestinian groups have repeatedly refuted Israeli accusations of using civilians as human shields or using schools, hospitals and mosques to launch attacks.

The Israeli army spokesman sounded optimistic that the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire could develop into a durable ceasefire.

A delegation representing all Palestinian factions, including Hamas, has been holding talks with Egyptian officials over the past days on a durable Gaza ceasefire.

Israel said it would send a delegation to Cairo within hours for the same purpose.

Last Modified: 2014-08-06 09:20:50
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