Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gaza City Captured

Amid a mounting death toll and international calls for a ceasefire, Israeli tanks have surrounded and cut off the largest city in Gaza, Gaza City. Israeli security sources said they surrounded the city of about 1.5 million in their operation against Hamas.

On Monday Hamas militants fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel despite a 10-day Israeli military campaign that reportedly has left more than 500 Palestinians dead.

Abu Obeida, a spokesman for Hamas' military wing, warned Israel that Izzedine al Qassam Brigades will continue rocket strikes "for many months" and vowed to strike deeper into Israeli territory. He spoke on Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV.

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar also gave a televised address Monday, saying the leadership in Gaza salutes "the resistance men" and that their actions were justified because of what Israel has done.

"They [Israeli forces] shelled everyone in Gaza. ... They shelled children and hospitals and mosques," he said. "And in doing so, they gave us legitimacy to strike them in the same way."

Israel on Monday continued its military assault on Gaza from the air and the ground. Heavy fighting erupted Monday night around Gaza City, the Israel Defense Forces said. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces took "tens of Hamas militants" into custody, the military said. IDF also said that fighting between Hamas militants and Israeli troops left several of the militants injured, but it did not say how many.

The military campaign has not stopped militants in Gaza from firing on southern Israel: 47 rockets and mortars struck Israel on Sunday and at least another 40 on Monday, the Israeli military said.

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The ground war led to mounting casualties in Gaza. More than 530 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched its operation, including at least 100 women and children, according to Palestinian medical sources. That number includes 82 Palestinians killed since the ground invasion -- 30 of them children and 20 women, the sources said. In addition, 2,750 Palestinians have been injured, most of them civilians, the sources said.

The Israeli military dropped leaflets into the streets of Gaza warning residents that the IDF will continue using "full force against Hamas." It also warned that the military "also has other means to deal with Hamas."

"If the army uses them, the toll will be very painful," said the leaflet, signed by IDF command.

A delegation of EU foreign ministers is in Jerusalem to push for a truce, while Egypt is putting pressure on Hamas leaders in Gaza.

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plez sez: hamas is about as foolish as the georgian army firing shells into south ossetia late last year. they have neither the military might, nor the backing to buttress or even put a dent into the armaments at the disposal of the israeli army. israeli "friendly fire" has killed more of its troops that the "bottle rockets" launched by hamas.

for the sake of the women and children of gaza, hamas must agree to a truce and lay their weapons down. by their actions, they have forced israel to send an occupying force into the gaza strip... and i don't think they're planning to leave anytime soon!

every armed conflict has the nation of israel fighting for its life, this one is no different. they must fight to the death to survive in the middle east. the palestinians "brought this *ISH* on themselves," by electing a terrorist group to run their fledgling "nation." this is akin to encouraging drug dealers to operate on your street... you are begging for the destruction of your neighborhood!

in word: they are getting what they asked for!

~ ~ Citations ~ ~

Read the Reuters article about call for truce in Gaza.

Read the New York Times article about Israeli forces in Gaza.

Read the MEDIANAME article about how Israeli forces have surrounded Gaza City.

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