Seven Palestinians were killed on Thursday in a series of Israeli air strikes and tank fire in a flashpoint area near Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, the emergency services said.
The attacks took place in Khuzaa on the Israeli border, and the neighbouring district of Abasan, which has been the scene of intensive fighting since Tuesday, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
"Five people from the Abu Daqqa family were killed and two from the Najjar family in heavy shelling by tanks and planes east of Khan Yunis," he told AFP, saying the bodies were retrieved in pieces and one was completely charred, making it very difficult to identify them.
"We have been receiving dozens of appeals from residents of Khuzaa, Abasan and Bani Suheila in Khan Yunis asking us to evacuate them, and saying there were a lot of people killed and injured underneath the rubble of their houses," Qudra said.
"A while ago, two ambulances went into Khuzaa with a Red Cross car after the ICRC told us they coordinated with Israel to evacuate the wounded. The cars were shot at and were unable to reach the area."