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Gaza: Death toll climbs beyond 1,200

Medics say Israeli assaults have killed 32 Palestinians this morning, including 20 at a UN school.

FILE: Palestinian medics help evacuate a survivor after an Israeli airstrike on his home in Gaza City on 27 July, 2014

CAPE TOWN/GAZA - Medics in Gaza say Israeli bombardments have killed 32 Palestinians this morning, including 20 at a United Nations school.

This is as the conflict between Israel and Hamas enters day 23.

The United Nations school was being used as a shelter for those displaced by the war.

The latest deaths bring the total Palestinian toll to at least 1,262.

On the Israeli side, Palestinian fire including cross-border rocket fire has killed 53 Israeli soldiers in addition to three civilians.

Israel launched its offensive in response to rocket salvoes fired by Gaza's dominant Hamas group and its allies.

UNRWA, the main UN relief agency in Gaza, said it was at "breaking point", with more than 200,000 Palestinians having taken shelter in its schools and buildings following calls by Israel for civilians to evacuate whole neighbourhoods before military operations.

Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian activists say South Africans should be concerned about the conflict in the Middle East as it's a humanitarian crisis.

The Action Forum in support of Palestine plans to demonstrate every afternoon on the Grand Parade in Cape Town until the Israeli ambassador is expelled from South Africa.

From Tuesday afternoon the group began handing out pamphlets and informing as many people as they could about the conflict in Gaza.

Activist Shahid Mohammad says he will spend every afternoon on the Grand Parade talking to people in Cape Town about the conflict.

They are inviting all citizens, regardless of their religion or race, to join the ongoing protest until the bloodshed stops.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of a long conflict ahead.

The Israeli security cabinet convenes again on Wednesday to assess the situation and to consider future steps.

The army said it needed about a week to complete its main mission of destroying cross-border infiltration tunnels and there has been strong Israeli public support for holding course.

Diplomatic pressure also mounted, with Chile and Peru saying they were recalling their ambassadors to Israel.

Chile, a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, is home to one of the world's largest Palestinian communities outside the Middle East, as well as a sizeable Jewish community.

Additional reporting by Reuters