- Associated Press - Sunday, August 3, 2014

Israel withdraws most troops from Gaza as it seeks to wind down monthlong war

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israel withdrew most of its ground troops from the Gaza Strip on Sunday in an apparent winding down of the nearly monthlong operation against Hamas that has left more than 1,800 Palestinians and more than 60 Israelis dead.

Even as Israel said it was close to completing its mission, heavy fighting raged in parts of Gaza, with at least 10 people killed in what U.N. and Palestinian officials said was an Israeli airstrike near a U.N. shelter. The United States lashed out at Israel, saying it was “appalled” by the “disgraceful” attack.

And with Hamas officials vowing to continue their fight, it remained uncertain whether Israel could unilaterally end the war.

Israel launched its military operation in Gaza on July 8 in response to weeks of heavy rocket fire, carrying out hundreds of airstrikes across the crowded seaside territory. It then sent in ground forces July 17 in what it said was a mission to destroy the tunnels used by Hamas to carry out attacks.

Hamas has fired more than 3,000 rockets into Israel during what has turned into the bloodiest round of fighting ever between the two enemies.

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Strong earthquake in southern China kills at least 381, injures more than 1,800

BEIJING (AP) - Rescuers dug through shattered homes Monday looking for survivors of a strong earthquake in southern China’s Yunnan province that killed at least 381 people and injured more than 1,800.

About 12,000 homes collapsed in Ludian, a densely populated county located about 366 kilometers (277 miles) northeast of Yunnan’s capital, Kunming, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The magnitude-6.1 quake struck at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Its epicenter was in Longtoushan township, 23 kilometers (14 miles) southwest of the city of Zhaotong, the Ludian county seat. China’s earthquake monitoring agency put the magnitude at 6.5.

Ma Liya, a resident of Zhaotong, told Xinhua that the streets there were like a “battlefield after a bombardment.” She added that her neighbor’s house, a new two-story building, had toppled, and said the quake was far worse than one that struck the area in 2012 and killed 81 people.

“The aftermath is much, much worse than what happened after the quake two years ago,” Ma said. “I have never felt such strong tremors before. What I can see are all ruins.”

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10 Things to Know for Monday

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