January 12 2009
An increasing number of news reports have confirmed that despite claims by Cairo, Israeli warplanes have been entering Egyptian airspace.
Reuters has cited witnesses as saying that Israeli planes conducting Gaza attack operations have flown into Egypt on several occasions.
According to the Reuters, Israeli planes often fly at such low altitude that it leaves no doubt that they are over Egyptian territory.
CNN reported that two pairs of Israeli F-16 fighter jets that were on bombing runs in southern Gaza violated Egyptian airspace.
“We can tell they’re coming through Egyptian airspace because they’re over the far side of the building where we’re standing,” CNN’s Karl Penhaul reported from Rafah, Egypt. He was atop a building about 500 meters (547 yards) from the Gaza border.
Four Egyptians, including two children, were wounded on Sunday when Israeli warplanes targeted tunnels on the common border between Gaza and Egypt.
The tunnels are considered as the lifeline of the Palestinian territory, allowing Gazans to bring in food, fuel and medical supplies for the 1.5 million residents of the blockaded strip.
Israel says the tunnels are being used to smuggle weapons and explosives into the territory.
CNN report confirms that Israeli F-16s have at least once bombed between the border fences of Gaza and Egypt.
Egypt is seen throughout the Middle East as Israel’s main accomplice in the imposition of the 18-month Israeli blockade on Gaza and has been subject to severe criticism.
Popular Hezbollah leader Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah on Sunday slammed Egypt, saying Cairo gives its “full cooperation and intelligence to Israel and the US in order to force others into submission.”
Israel waged war on Gaza on December 27. So far, at least 900 Palestinians have been killed in the offensive and more than 4000 have been wounded.
Egypt has allowed dozens of doctors along with some medical supplies pass through Rafah border crossing and enter the Gaza Strip.
“Some 61 Arab doctors and trucks loaded with medical aids crossed into the Gaza Strip through Rafah border crossing”, Al-Jazeera Television said on Monday.
This is the first time Egypt has allowed humanitarian and medical aids into the impoverished Strip, in dire need of medical supplies.
Many volunteer doctors and physicians have been waiting in Rafah for days, without being allowed passage into Gaza, to help the almost 4,000 people wounded by Israeli bombs and heavy weapons.
“Three thousand victims of bombs and gunfire would overwhelm the medical system of New York city,” Dr. Nicolas Doussis-Rassias, a volunteer said.
“Gaza now has no functioning medical system at all. Most of it has no electricity, nor running water. These people are in crisis – they need medical help, so we are here to help them,” he added.
Protests continue in Rafah border
Since the Israeli assault on Gaza began on December 27, more than 900 people have been killed – including 277 children – and another 4,080 have been wounded.
The conflict has sparked worldwide pro-Palestinian demonstrations, raising concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, where most of the 1.5 million residents depend on foreign aid for their basic supplies.