Al Jazeera – 2009-01-10 09:39:13
GAZA (January 10, 2009) — The Palestinian death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 821 people and more than 3,300 injured as the Israeli offensive enters its third week.
The attacks continued on Saturday with aerial bombardments across the strip and Israeli forces advancing further into the outskirts of Gaza City. Eight members of one family were among the latest fatalities, killed by an Israeli tank shell in Jabalya.
Israeli aircraft bombed tunnels used to smuggle goods from Egypt into the besieged territory, weapons-manufacturing sites and depots, an Israeli army spokesman said.
Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Gaza City, said: “There was a lot of intense fighting overnight.
“The most significant development was the advance of the Israeli military. We understand now they are on the outskirts of Gaza City, still trying to avoid going in through major population centres, but navigating their way around those urban areas on the periphery.”
Israel dropped leaflets of Gaza City on Saturday warning residents not to approach Hamas members, the group’s fighters or weapons depots. The notices said Israeli forces were about to “escalate” the offensive and begin a “new phase in the war on terror”.
Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor working at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, told Al Jazeera: “We have been to many war zones, but the special thing is that the 1.5 Gaza population are completely locked in. The civilian population has no way to hide. The population density is so high you can not do attacks like this without knowing that you are attacking the civilians.
“Also, the injuries must come from extremely explosive devices. We suspect that Israel is using a new type of high explosive called Dime [dense inert metal explosive]. “We urge the world, stop the bombing of Gaza. Please stop it.”
Since Israel launched its offensive 15 days ago, 13 Israelis have died, including three civilians.
Palestinian fighters fired at least 10 rockets into Israel on Saturday, slightly wounding two people. Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from the Gaza-Israel border, said that number was down significantly over the past two days, from about 30-40 daily since Israel’s assault began. “It may well be that’s because the Israeli army is taking over more of the land where these rockets are fired from,” our correspondent said. “But it also may be that Hamas is running out of rockets to fire into Israel.”
With Gaza’s borders sealed and a warren of underground tunnels bombed extensively, Hamas supply routes would largely have been closed off, while the constant firings would have depleted stockpiles.
“From that point of view, I’m sure the Israeli public believe that this has been a successful operation because it is reducing the capacity of Hamas to fire rockets into southern Israel,” Fisher said.
A senior Hamas delegation was in the Egyptian capital to make their remarks on the Egyptian plan aimed at ending the fighting.
A binding resolution passed by the UN security council late on Thursday failed to bring peace to the Gaza Strip, with Israel arguing that it has the right to self-defence.
Egypt’s plan includes an immediate cessation of hostilities for a specified period, the opening of Gaza’s crossings, curtailment of arms smuggling into the Strip and attempts at reconciliation talks between the Palestinian factions.
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, also in Cairo, said the Egyptian plan would facilitate progress on a ceasefire.
The UN, meanwhile, has said that it will resume its work in the Gaza Strip after receiving safety assurances from Israeli authorities. A UN statement said that Israel had given “credible assurances that the security of UN personnel installations and humanitarian operations would be fully respected”.
The UN stopped aid shipments after one of its lorries was shot at by Israeli forces, killing the driver, two days ago.
The majority of the 1.5 million people living in the Gaza Strip depend on foreign aid for survival and the humanitarian situation has worsened as the offensive has continued. “We are receiving reports that some people are starting to burn their furniture to bake bread and to cook,” Christopher Gunness, UN relief and works agency spokesman, said on Saturday.
• LFC — United Kingdom 10/01/2009
i condem civillian deaths on both sides .That said , i can not understand the logic of hamas deliberatley placing explosives in civillian houses , the consequnce of which is only to increase the number of inoccent people being killed.Is the leadership of Hamas not morally obliged to do all that it can to protect the people they are supposed to represent ??
• Zainab Syed — United Arab Emirates 10/01/2009
Stop shedding the blood of the innocent
Checking everyday’s headline is very heartbreaking.I really cant imagine what kind of people can kill innocent women and children,while some people are happy and supporting it.It’s really easy to speak if it’s not your home that is destroyed, it’s not your son who is killed,you can sleep in a comfortable bed.But what if the world turn upside down and you’re the one in their situation?Ok,both sides have done wrong,but when will they stop?it’s a neverending vengeance and innocents suffer.
• Chris Mark — Afghanistan 10/01/2009
Stop killing the Palestinians!
Israel always looks for a pretext to launch military strikes against the Palestinians. The Western countries have always been supporting Israel for its actions and the expression that they have always used is that: Israel has the right to defend itself,
The West and its so called Human Rights organizations are blind now. They do not notice all the atrocities and crimes against humanity and massacres committed by Israel. Stop WAR now! Let the Palestinians live free in peace as others would.
• eini — Israel 10/01/2009
Very sad but Hammas is to blame
It is very sad that innocent civilians are killed. Hammas and extremists have been terrrorizing southern Israel for over 8 years, shooting rockets and missiles at innocent civilian towns almost every day. Israel pulled out of Gaza over 3 years ago. Since then all Hammas did was arm itself with more missiles, weapons and rockets, instead of trying to rebuild it’s economy and prosperity of Gaza. That’s all they care about – trying to harras and ultimately destroy Israel.
• Otto — Sweden 10/01/2009
Shame on you coward, treasonous arab leaders…the shoes of president Hugo Chaves have more honour than the whole bunch of you!!! “The Israeli ambassador to Venezuela was expelled after Hugo Chavez, the president of the Latin American nation, set a deadline for Shlomo Cohen and some embassy personnel to leave.”
• DoSomething — Finland 10/01/2009
Israel has been doing this almost ever since the second world war and any violence against them has had no effect. My compassion is for the Palestinian people being attacked in their concentration camps but war against the Zionist war machine only gives them the excuse to do these things. The back bone of the IDF is American funding so if you want change do some lobbying or make your voices heard. Arabs put your oil money on an OBJECTIVE media in the US or cut their oil supplies! Yes we can!
• Nouri — United Kingdom 10/01/2009
HOSNI WANTS TO TAKE THE LIMELIGHT IN GAZA
Hosni Mubarrak and his puppet Abbas are scratching their heads what to do next in roder to claim the congratulations of the Arab World for solving this crisis. The only hope for this crisis to be solves is for an independent mediator to be involved like the Turks. May be Chavez is more patriot and is not ashamed of what the resistence is doing unlike the trash that exist in the Arab world.
• Isa — Bangladesh 10/01/2009
Arab leaders are guilty
This is not war, this is massacre, this is a complete violation of human rights charter. The Israelis dared to do that as the undemocratic Arab leaders chose to lead easy and happy lives rather to do somethiung for the Palestinians. The Arab leaders are solely responsible for the aggression.
• raeesah d — South Africa 10/01/2009
how many ears must one person have before he can hear people cry? and how many deaths will it take till he knows that too many people have died? and how many years can some people exist before they are allowed to be free? and how many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn’t see? GAZA WE FEEL YOUR PAIN..GAZA WE’RE WITH YOU… Raeesa’h, johannesburg, south africa
• Jim — United States 10/01/2009
Freedom is worth fighting for
I can’t imagine what life must be like for the Gazans, crammed together in a tiny enclave that is little more than a prison camp. However, if they want to change things and gain their freedom, they must be willing to fight for it and resist the IDF in any way they can. I hope the Gazans show the IDF how much they want their freedom, in the same way the Americans showed Britain over 200 years ago. Remember “Live Free or Die” – Motto of the State of New Hampshire
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