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قديم 28 - 12 - 2008, 15:48
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افتراضي Israeli warplanes pursue Gaza weapons warehouses










Israeli warplanes pursue Gaza weapons warehouses

Israeli warplanes pursue Gaza weapons warehouses


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Gazans cowered in their homes Sunday as Israeli warplanes pressing one of Israel's deadliest assaults ever on Palestinian militants unleashed missiles on weapons warehouses, a police station, the homes of militant field commanders and dozens of other targets across the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
More than 270 Palestinians — most of them militants — have been killed and more than 600 people wounded since Israel's campaign to quash rocket barrages from Gaza began midday Saturday. Israeli military spokesman Avi Benayahu said some 250 attacks were carried out since the offensive began.
Militants, unbowed, kept up the pressure on Israel, firing dozens more rockets and mortars at Israeli border communities early Sunday.
One rocket struck close to the largest city in southern Israel, Ashdod, some 23 miles from Gaza. It reached almost twice as deep into Israeli territory as ever before and confirmed security officials' concerns that militants are capable of putting major cities within rocket range.
In New York, the U.N. Security Council expressed serious concern about the escalating situation in Gaza and called on Israel and the Palestinians to immediately halt all violence and military activities. The U.N.'s most powerful body called for a new cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and for the opening of border crossings into Gaza to enable humanitarian supplies to reach the territory.
Many of Israel's Western allies urged restraint on both sides, though the U.S. blamed Hamas for the fighting.
The offensive began eight days after a six-month truce between Israel and the militants expired. The Israeli army says Palestinian militants have fired more than 300 rockets and mortars at Israeli targets over the past week, and 10 times that number over the past year.
On Sunday, Gaza rockets and missiles hit in several ************************s in southern Israel.
In Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people about 11 miles from Gaza, bustling streets immediately emptied after a rocket fell downtown. Since the campaign began, more than 110 rockets and mortars have bombarded southern Israel, according to the military's count.
Aircraft on Sunday targeted a Gaza tanker truck carrying smuggled fuel, touching off a blaze that raged out of control and spread to about a dozen nearby houses, sending acrid plumes of black smoke towering above southern Gaza, witnesses and firefighters reported. Palestinians said Israeli bombs destroyed a mosque outside Gaza's main hospital in Gaza City; the military called it a "base for terrorist activities."
One of the main medicine warehouses supplying local pharmacies in southern Gaza was attacked in another sortie.
"This is going to make us unable to supply any of the local families that depend on us," warehouse owner Dr. Hussam Abu Hashem told local Hamas radio. "It's a war against human beings."
Local residents said the tanker and the warehouse contained supplies that had been smuggled in from Gaza through underground tunnels with Egypt, suggesting that Israel was widening its offensive to go after businesses that are a source of income for Hamas.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the opening of a cargo crossing with Gaza to allow in deliveries of food and medicine, defense officials said.
Warplanes attacked the headquarters of the local Hamas television station early Sunday, but it continued to broadcast from a mobile unit. The initial waves of attacks Saturday focused on key Hamas security installations and rocket-launching pads.
Benayahu said the objective was to cripple the militants' motivation to assault Israel. "To change the situation, we don't have to go after the last of the rocket launchers," Benayahu told Army Radio.
Israel's U.N. Ambassador Gabriela Shalev said that in the face of constant rocket attacks, Israel had "no choice but to go on a military operation and the only party to blame is the Hamas."

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Israel's closest ally on the Security Council, said "the key issue here was not point a finger at Israel. The key issue was to urge all parties to end the violence and address the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza."
The rocket assault close to Ashdod hit some 23 miles from Gaza. Regional police spokeswoman Sarit Philipson told Israel Army Radio that she saw a large explosion and a plume of smoke.
Gaza's Hamas rulers have been stockpiling weapons in recent months, including medium-range missiles. Until Sunday, the deepest targets inside Israel had been the city of Ashkelon and the town of Netivot, which are about 12 miles from Gaza.
Benayahu had no information about a possible ground invasion. On Saturday, Barak vowed to expand the operation if necessary. He did not expressly mention a ground invasion, but infantry and armored forces were headed for the border with Gaza on Saturday.
Gazans hunkered down at home, afraid to venture out on the streets. Only a few cars broke the eerie silence that reigned on Gaza's streets and most of the few businesses that opened were food vendors. Schools were shut because of a three-day mourning period declared by the Gaza government for the campaign's dead.
Hamas police kept a low profile, wearing jackets over their dark blue uniforms and walking close to walls where they could be less easily seen by Israeli aircrafts above.

The Western-backed government of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas' bitter rival, called a one-day mourning period. The Palestine Liberation Organization, dominated by Abbas' Fatah movement, called a one-day commercial strike through the West Bank and urged Palestinians to take to the streets in peaceful protests.
Israel's military was on alert for possible disturbances in the West Bank. The campaign has inflamed public opinion across the Arab world, which has responded with protests and condemnations.



Israeli warplanes pursue Gaza weapons warehouses

 
 
 
 
 





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Israel launches air strikes on Gaza, 155 dead البرق قسم اللغات والترجمة 0 27 - 12 - 2008 18:29


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