Israel Gaza Hamas
An air-strike warning sends Palestinians fleeing their homes in Gaza City Reuters

Palestinian civilians living in Gaza have no place to hide from Israel's Operation Protective Edge, the United Nations has said, contradicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claims that they "have plenty of exit points".

"There is literally no safe place for civilians," Jens Laerke, spokesman of the UN Office for Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA), said in a news briefing.

In an interview with US news outlet ABC, Netanyahu was asked: "How can they [Palestinians] leave right now when Israel is hitting from all sides, from the North, the East and the West? Where can they go?"

Netanyahu replied: "Oh no, they have paths to leave, that's not an issue. They have plenty of exit points and they know it. But Hamas is saying: 'Don't use them'.

"Hamas wants to kill civilians on the Israeli side and the amazing, grotesque and gruesome fact is they want to have as many civilians killed on the Palestinian side because it gets you to ask me these questions."

Laerke also said that children are paying the biggest price of Israel's invasion in Gaza, with 121 children under the age of 18 killed so far.

The prominent international charity Unicef has also said that the deaths of these children make up one-third of the total civilians casualties in Gaza.

"According to an assessment by aid workers on ground, at least 107,000 children need psycho-social support for the trauma they are experiencing, such as death, injury or loss of their homes," said Laerke.

More than 600 Palestinians have been killed and 3,640 injured in the air and ground offensive, while 29 Israelis have been killed in the fighting, 27 of whom were Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers.

The UN relief agency has said that more than 100,000 Palestinians are now displaced in their shelters after 43% of Gaza was placed under IDF evacuation warnings or declared a no-go zone because of air strikes.

Israel says that it is targeting dozens of tunnels that are being used by militant group Hamas to infiltrate the country. The longest tunnel found by Israel, in March, was more than 1.7km (1 mile) long.