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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israeli Bombers Target several Gaza including a school full of Children in Day after Christmas AIR STRIKES on the GAZA STRIP

Israel Attacked what they called "Hamas targets" in Gaza on Saturday with a wave of air strikes that killed at least 160 people in the besieged enclave in retaliation for ongoing rocket fire, officials said. Another 300 people were wounded, some 120 of them seriously in the attacks. And one Israeli died as Hamas swiftly responded to the air raids by firing several dozen rockets on the Jewish state.

The European Union and its current president, France, urged both sides to stop to the violence , as did Britain and Russia. The United States said Israel should avoid civilian casualties, while the Arab League and a number of Middle Eastern states singled out Israel for blame. Israel warned that the attacks, in which army radio said around 60 aircraft bombed the impoverished, overcrowded territory of 1.5 million people, was "just the beginning."

Hamas told Israelis living near Gaza to "prepare the funeral shrouds." In Gaza, thick clouds of smoke billowed into the sky, with mangled, bloodied and often charred corpses littering the pavement around Hamas security compounds, television images showed. It was not immediately clear how many of those killed were civilians, with medics saying that the majority of the victims appeared to be members of Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since seizing power there last year.

Dr Moawiya Hassanein, the head of Gaza emergency services, at least 160 people were killed and 300 wounded, and that rescuers were still searching for bodies in the rubble. The attacks came after days of escalating violence, with militants firing rockets and Israel vowing a fiery response. Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told AFP from Saudi Arabia that he was in "urgent contact" with numerous countries to stop "the cowardly aggressions and massacres in the Gaza Strip."

Egypt, which brokered a six-month Israeli-Hamas truce that expired on December 19, slammed the bombardment. "Egypt condemns the Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip and blames Israel, as an occupying force, for the victims and the wounded," President Hosni Mubarak said in a statement. He ordered the Rafah terminal -- the only one that bypasses Israel -- to be opened to allow wounded Palestinians to be evacuated for treatment in Egyptian hospitals. Dozens of wounded had passed through by mid-afternoon, Egyptian state news agency Mena reported, with public television saying 200 were expected in the coming hours.

Hamas called on its fighters to "avenge with force against the enemy" while its militants warned Israelis living near the border to "prepare the funeral shrouds," vowing that the Islamists' response "was on its way." One rocket hit the southern Israeli town of Netivot, killing a man and wounding four other people, according to the Magen David Adom, Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross. Israel, which put communities around Gaza on a state of alert, warned that the deadly strikes were "just the beginning," said an army spokesman. "The operation will continue and will be expanded as necessary in accordance with the assessments of the army and the defence establishment," Defence Minister Ehud Barak's office said.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said the Israeli onslaught was launched "following... the incessant attacks on Israeli citizens in the south of the country ..." in order to "bring the rocket fire to an end." The bombing hit and destroyed Hamas security structures across Gaza, the group said. A training base of the Hamas military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, was pounded in the north.

Hamas said three of its senior officials -- the Gaza police chief, the police commander for central Gaza and the head of the group's bodyguard unit -- were killed in the blitz. The mid-morning air raids followed days of rocket and mortar attacks on Israel by militants inside Gaza, which the Jewish state had warned would be met with harsh reprisals.

Violence in and around the Gaza Strip has flared since the ceasefire ended. It escalated dramatically on Wednesday, when militants fired more than 80 rockets and mortar rounds in response to air strikes on Gaza. Israel had responded to earlier attacks by tightening the blockade it imposed after Hamas seized Gaza from forces loyal to Abbas. However, dozens of truckloads of supplies were delivered to Gaza on Friday after Israel decided to temporarily allow in humanitarian aid.

Hamas is sworn to destruction of the Jewish state and has warned that it would retaliate to a major Israeli operation in Gaza by resuming suicide bombings inside Israel. The last such attack claimed by Hamas was in January 2005.

Hamas said all of its security installations were hit and responded with several medium-range Grad rockets at Israel, reaching deeper than in the past. One Israeli was killed and at least four people were wounded.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said "the operation will last as long as necessary," but it was not clear if it would be coupled with a ground offensive. Asked if Hamas political leaders might be targeted next, military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said, "Any Hamas target is a target."

The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children.

In Gaza City's main security compound, bodies of more than a dozen uniformed security officers lay on the ground. One survivor raised his index finger in a show of Muslim faith, uttering a prayer. The Gaza police chief was among those killed. One man, his face bloodied, sat dazed on the ground as a fire raged nearby.

It wasn't immediately clear how many civilian casualties there were.

Said Masri sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, close to a security compound, alternately slapping his face and covering his head with dust from the bombed-out building.

"My son is gone, my son is gone," wailed Masri, 57. The shopkeeper said he sent his 9-year-old son out to purchase cigarettes minutes before the airstrikes began and now could not find him. "May I burn like the cigarettes, may Israel burn," Masri moaned.

Defiant Hamas leaders threatened revenge, including suicide attacks. Hamas "will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood," vowed spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

Israel told its civilians near Gaza to take cover as militants began retaliating with rockets, and in the West Bank, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for restraint. Egypt summoned the Israeli ambassador to express condemnation and opened its border with Gaza to allow ambulances to drive out some of the wounded.

Protests erupted in the Abbas-ruled West Bank and across the Arab world.

Several hundred angry Jordanians poured protested outside a U.N. complex in the capital Amman. "Hamas, go ahead. You are the cannon, we are the bullets," they cried, some waving the signature green Hamas banners.

In Beirut, dozens of youths hit the streets and set fire to tires. In Syria's al-Yarmouk camp, outside Damascus, dozens of Palestinians protested the attack as well, vowing to continue fighting Israel.

Israeli leaders approved military action against Gaza earlier in the week.

Past limited ground incursions and air strikes have not halted rocket barrages from Gaza.

But with 200 mortars and rockets raining down on Israel since the truce expired a week ago, and 3,000 since the beginning of the year, according to the military's count, pressure had been mounting in Israel for the military to crush the gunmen.

Earlier this month, Israeli security officials told the government that militants possess rockets with ranges capable of reaching farther from Gaza than ever before, including the cities of Beersheba and Ashdod.

Gaza militants fired several rockets Saturday, including one that struck a new target, the town of Kiryat Gat. A missile hit on the town of Netivot killed an Israeli man and wounded four people, rescue services said. In Ashkelon, TV cameras showed people huddle against a wall as a rocket alert sounded.

Barak, the Israeli defense minister, said that the coming period "won't be easy and won't be short for the communities in the south (of Israel).

Israel declared a state of emergency in Israeli communities within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) range of Gaza, putting the area on a war footing.

The first round of air strikes came just before noon, and several more waves followed.

Hospitals crowded with people, civilians rushing in wounded people in cars, vans and ambulances. "We are treating people on the floor, in the corridors. We have no more space. We don't know who is here and what the priority is to treat," said a doctor at Shifa Hospital, Gaza's main treatment center. He hung up the phone before identifying himself.

Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, a Gaza Health Ministry official, said at least 145 people were killed and more than 300 wounded.

Frantic civilians drove wounded people to hospitals in their cars.

In the West Bank, Hamas' rival, Abbas, said in a statement that he "condemns this aggression" and called for restraint, according to an aide, Nabil Abu Rdeneh. Abbas, who has ruled only the West Bank since the Islamic Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007, was in contact with Arab leaders, and his West Bank Cabinet convened an emergency session.

Israel has targeted Gaza in the past, but the number of simultaneous attacks was unprecedented.

Israel left Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, but the withdrawal did not lead to better relations with Palestinians in the territory as Israeli officials had hoped.

Instead, the evacuation was followed by a sharp rise in militant attacks on Israeli border communities that on several occasions provoked harsh Israeli military reprisals.

The last, in late February and early March, spurred both sides to agree to a truce that was to have lasted six months but began unraveling in early November. In recent days, Israeli leaders had been voicing strong threats to launch a major offensive.

Here is a point of view from another blogger which I found in my searches. It basically points out the often ignored view of the "other side" It seems the mainstream media often ignores the historical facts behind the whole conflict in the Middle East. The whole post WW2 taking of British Palistine, kicking the Palistinians out in favour of a "new home" for the Jewish.

Recent treaties have given parts of Gaza back to the Palistinians, however Israel refuses to agree and they still continue to find reasons to attack outside surrounding countries.

Here is the story: (Sourece http://www.halturnershow.blogspot.com)

One day after Christmas, the mighty Israeli Air Force used advanced F-16 fighter jets and Apache attack helicopters to attack the Gaza Strip, whose residents have only rocks to throw in self defense. At last count, the Israeli attacks have killed 155 and wounded over 300.

Israel claims that they have suffered "rocket attacks" from Gaza, even though the "rockets" are barely more than bottle rockets that American children shoot off during Fourth of July celebrations.

The West Bank and Gaza Strip are two land areas that Israel unlawfully occupies militarily, in violation of several United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been almost starved to death over the past year after Israel closed all border crossings, forbidding Palestinians to work or buy food inside Israel and forbidding trucks, trains or even boats to enter those two areas to bring food supplies.

Air strikes with American-made military aircraft are really the only thing Israel can successfully use when it decides to fight someone else. Whenever they go farther than air strikes, it requires them to use ground troops, which usually doesn't work out well.

The last time Israel sent its ground troops somewhere, most recently into Lebanon, the world watched in laughter as Israeli troops were totally defeated and retreated in fear.

At least with air strikes, Israel doesn't have to worry about the victims fighting back. The people in The West Bank and the Gaza Strip can't throw rocks that high.

--------------- COMMENTARY:

As I write this report, the so-called "state" of Israel remains in violation of more UN Security Council Resolutions than any other country on earth!

The reason no one ever does anything about it is because every time an attempt is made to enforce the Security Council resolutions, the Zionist Occupied Government (ZOG) of the United States VETOES the effort.

The rest of the world would do well to realize that the United States is on the balls of its ass right now, overstretched militarily and bankrupt financially. This being the case, the rest of the world could, right now, successfully warn the US that if they veto another enforcement effort against Israel, the world would stop lending money to the US government and stop accepting US dollars as currency. This would almost immediately collapse the US government and the entire US economy. I urge the nations of the world to do exactly that!

I suspect the US government would roll over very quickly to permit several enforcement actions by the UN rather than face more financial trouble.

This is a major window of opportunity for the world to cripple the only protection that Israel has and, once and for all, reign-in the terrorist state of Israel. Please do it now.


* The Gaza Strip is a sliver of towns, villages and farmland at the southeast end of the Mediterranean, 45 km (25 miles) long and at most 10 km (6 miles) wide. It is wedged between Israel to the north and east, and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula to the south.


* Gaza city has been continuously inhabited for more than 3,000 years and was a crossroads of ancient civilizations. It is believed to be the burial place of the Prophet Mohammad's great grandfather.

* Four centuries of rule by the Ottoman Empire were briefly interrupted by Napoleonic France and also saw growing Egyptian influence until Britain took control of Gaza and the rest of Palestine in World War One. Egypt took control of the Strip during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

* The GAZA Strip's population tripled in 1948-49 when it absorbed about a quarter of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees displaced from areas that are now part of Israel.

* Israel captured the Gaza Strip from Egypt in the 1967 war.

* Israel pulled Jewish settlers and soldiers out of the territory in September 2005.

* Israel conducted large-scale ground operations in June 2006 after militants tunneled across the Gaza border and captured One Israeli soldier.

* A year later, Hamas Islamists took control of the Gaza Strip after routing President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah forces.

* Israel tightened the closure of its borders with Gaza, curbing fuel supplies and limiting movement of people. International organizations have condemned the blockade, which Israel says is meant to curb rockets fired by militants.

* Under an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in June, Hamas agreed to halt rocket fire in return for Israel easing the blockade. Hamas declared the end of the truce on December 18.


* About 1.5 million Palestinians live in Gaza, more than half of them refugees from past wars with Israel. Gaza has one of the highest population densities and demographic growth rates in the world.

* Most Gazans live on less than $2 a day and up to 80 percent are dependent on food aid, according to aid groups.

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