Israel infantry soldiers walk in formation on the border as they leave Israel for the northern Gaza Strip, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2009. (AP / Sebastian Scheiner)
Israeli soldiers peer out of their tank as they move towards the Gaza Strip from southern Israel early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP / Anja Niedringhaus)
A wounded Palestinian boy is treated at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, after an Israeli missile strike early Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. (AP / Hatem Moussa)
January 5 2009
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, killing at least seven children and six other civilians, as they consolidated a bruising offensive against Palestinian militants.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the offensive would continue until Israel achieved its objective, “peace and tranquility” for residents of southern Israel who continued to be bombarded by Palestinian rocket and mortar fire.
A stream of diplomats and world leaders hoping to end the violence headed for the region to meet with Israeli leaders as world outrage over ballooning Palestinian casualties mounted. Gaza health officials reported 524 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded since Israel embarked upon its military campaign against Gaza’s Islamic Hamas rulers on Dec. 27. At least 200 civilians were among the dead.
Israeli forces seized sparsely populated areas in northern Gaza on Sunday and by Monday morning were dug in on the edges of Gaza City. Further movement into the heart of the built-up areas would mean deadly urban warfare, replete with house-to-house fighting, sniper fire and booby traps, in crowded streets and alleyways familiar to Hamas’ 20,000 fighters.
A total of 13 civilians died in the various attacks across Gaza on Monday morning, said Gaza health official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain.
Four young siblings were killed in a missile strike on a house east of Gaza City. Three other children died in a naval shelling of a Gaza City beach camp, and three adult civilians died when a missile struck near a house of mourning in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, he said. Three other adult civilians died in attacks elsewhere.
Israeli troops took over three six-floor buildings on the outskirts of Gaza City, taking up rooftop positions after locking residents in rooms and taking away their cell phones, a neighbor said, quoting a relative in one of the buildings before his phone was confiscated.
“The army is there, firing in all directions,” said Mohammed Salmai, a 29-year-old truck driver. “All we can do is take clothes to each other to keep ourselves warm and pray to God that if we die, someone will find our bodies under the rubble.”
Civilian casualties have spiked since Israel launched a ground offensive Saturday, following a week of punishing air strikes. Of about 80 Palestinians killed during the ground operation, at least 70 were civilians, Hassanain said.
Black smoke from tank shells and windswept dust billowed in the air over Gaza City, while white smoke from mortar shells rose in plumes above a main road leading to northern Gaza that the Israeli military seized on Sunday, cutting off Gaza’s north from its south. Explosions could be heard in Gaza City as aircraft attacked buildings.
The streets of Gaza City, home to 400,000 people, were almost empty. Two children crossing a street near a Hamas security compound didn’t look right and left for cars, but gazed up at the sky, apparently looking for attack aircraft. The only vehicles on the road were fire engines, ambulances and press cars.
Unmanned Israeli planes and Apache helicopters circled overhead.
“Hamas has sustained a very harsh blow,” Barak told parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee.”But we still haven’t reached our objectives, so the offensive continues.”
Israel has three main demands: an end to Palestinian attacks, international supervision of any truce and a halt to Hamas rearming.
“If we withdraw today, without reaching some kind of comprehensive agreement, we haven’t done anything,” Israeli Cabinet Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Army Radio. “The military has to carry on with its work.”
Hamas demands a cessation of Israeli attacks and the opening of vital Gaza-Israel cargo crossings, Gaza’s main lifeline.
The violence has deepened the suffering in impoverished Gaza, home to 1.4 million people. The military said Monday that 80 truckloads of humanitarian aid and critical fuel supplies would be let in.
Mohammed Almbaid, a Canadian resident working with aid organization CARE International, says the Israeli offensive has made it increasingly difficult to deliver food and medical supplies to Gaza.
“By the hour, it’s becoming more difficult to reach needy people,” Almbaid said in a telephone interview from his office in Ramalah, West Bank. “As of yesterday we’re having extreme difficulty to move any of the stuff in our stockpiles.”
Almbaid said a rising number of Palestinians are forced to go without crucial aide as Israeli battle tactics restrict the movements of those hoping to deliver humanitarian relief.
“It’s extremely tragic, extremely heart-breaking to see this happening,” he said.
Militants, defying the attacks, fired more than a dozen rockets at Israel early Monday, police said. No injuries were reported, but the rockets continued to fire deep inside Israel, some 32 kilometres from the Gaza border. One reason Israel launched the Gaza campaign was because militants have acquired weapons able to reach closer to Israel’s Tel Aviv heartland.
Israel’s ground operation is the second phase in an offensive that began as a weeklong aerial onslaught aimed at halting Hamas rocket fire that now threatens major cities and one-eighth of Israel’s population of 7 million people.
The spiraling civilian casualties have fueled an intensifying international outcry.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who unsuccessfully proposed a two-day truce before the land invasion began, was due to meet with Israei Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who lost control of Gaza to Hamas in June 2007.
While blaming Hamas for causing Palestinian suffering with rocket fire that led to the Israeli offensive, Sarkozy has condemned Israel’s use of ground troops, reflecting general world opinion. Sarkozy and other diplomats making their way to the region are expected to press hard for a cease-fire.
A European Union delegation including foreign policy chief Javier Solana was due to meet with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
The Czech Republic, which took over the 27-nation EU’s presidency on Thursday, urged Israel to allow humanitarian relief aid into Gaza. German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on the phone Sunday with Olmert and advocated a quick cease-fire in Gaza, her government said in a statement. Merkel also called for an end to the smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said in a statement “Canada is deeply concerned about the increase in hostilities between Israel and Hamas.”
“We urge renewed international diplomatic efforts to achieve a sustainable and durable ceasefire, starting with the halting of all rocket attacks on Israel. Canada maintains that the rocket attacks are the cause of this crisis,” said Cannon.
Cannon also urged the international community to come together to address the humanitarian situation, including ensuring access to food, fuel and medical supplies.
Israeli invaders have killed and wounded many Palestinian children
By Hiyam Noir
Photographer “name withheld”
Some 20 minutes before the ground invasion Israeli launched air strikes at more than 45 targets throughout the Gaza Strip, their ground forces trespassed Gaza borders at 10 pm on Saturday evening, pushing deeper into Gaza.
At the eastern parts of Gaza, Israeli tanks entered through the Erez and Karni crossing points, the artillery advanced towards the southern parts of Gaza City.
The Israeli intruders are stationed at the abandoned Israeli settlement of Netzarim outside Jabaliya. Tank fire killed earlier three residents in the Shujayya neighborhood. Palestinian fighters clashed with heavy armed Israeli ground forces in Gaza City, one Israeli is reported dead and 30 where injured.
In Beit Hanoun in the north eastern Gaza Strip, Israeli tanks penetrated hundreds of meters then they closed the main road between Beit Hanoun and Gaza City. From the northwest Israeli forces reached the American school in the north of Beit Lahiya. The American school was leveled to the ground on Saturday targeted in an Israeli air strike.
Nearby the destroyed Yasser Arafat Airport, east of Rafah amid heavy artillery fire, Israeli tanks killed one and injured several other Palestinian fighters. Before noon on Sunday an airstrike killed the DFLP senior leader, Muhammed Abed Barbakh, his father Abed and his two brothers Mahdi and Yousef, also his nephew Musa Yousef was killed when missiles struck the home in the An-Nahdah neighborhoodof. Barbakh was a commander in the military branch of the National Resistance Brigades (DFLP).
On Saturday before noon three children where killed in the southern town of Rafah.
Since the start of the Zionist Israeli ground invasion on Saturday night, 70 people, including 21 children and 11 women have been killed, more than 370 are reported injured. Gaza governmental Health Ministry on Sunday confirmed that since the 27 of December, 507 Gaza residents have been killed including 107 children, over 2450 are injured, hundreds are seriously injured.
Four children together with their mother became some of the victims today in the Zionist air and ground offensive their bodies where cut to pieces when missiles hit the house of the Baker family in the At-Toufah neighborhood in Gaza City.
In Beit Lahia in northern Gaza Strip, 4 children were killed during a series of air strikes in which 13 people have been killed, 34 have been injured.Tank missiles have killed at least 23 Gaza residents including 14 residents in Biet Lahia, and another 4 in Beit Hanoun.
In the Zionist Israeli escalated onslaught across Gaza Strip, from north to south the Palestinian resistance continue to confront Israeli tanks and ground troops invading Gaza Strip from four points. Hamas have prepared for an all out ground invasion of Gaza Strip for more than a year, building up a military force of almost 20.000 fighters, well trained in urban warfare.
Sounds of heavy mashinegunfire can be heard throughout Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza Strip, the Palestinian resistance are involved in fierce fighting with the Israeli intruder also in Jabaliya refuge camp, in nearby Netzarim, and in parts of Gaza City, including As Shuhayya and the At Toufah neightboorhod.
At 6pm last night 3 Gaza paramedics where killed and one was wounded in Tal Al- Haw a in the southern part of Gaza City and two residents have been killed in the Zayton area also in Gaza City.
At least 514 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began intense air strikes on 27 December. Gaza medical officials put the number of wounded at 2,250 over nine days.
Sources report that some 20 Israelis have been killed, and many others are wounded.
I wonder how much Depleted Uranium the Israelis are using?
If they are using weapons from the US, I can be relatively sure there is a large amount of DU being used.