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calendar   Monday - December 29, 2008

Israel pounds Gaza for third day: Interior ministry destroyed.

Early in the morning for some places in BMEWS so thought I’d post this now.

Israel kept up its bombardment of Gaza overnight expanding its targets to include an Islamic university and government buildings such as the interior ministry.

By Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
Last Updated: 8:29AM GMT 29 Dec 2008

Local Palestinian medical sources said six Palestinian children were among the estimated 300 people killed in the attacks, including four sisters aged from 1 to 12 whose house was hit when Israel tried to bomb a nearby mosque.

The night skyline was lit up repeatedly by huge explosions as Israeli F- 16s dropped laser-guided precision munitions on targets inside the densely populated of Gaza City and Rafah.

Witnesses said the Islamic University was struck at least six times and the interior ministry headquarters levelled by bombs.

The ministry was run by Hamas and the university had close links to the Islamist movement.

Israel issued a statement claiming the university labs were used by Hamas as a weapons manufacturing and development centre and it accused university lecturers of teaching bomb-making.

For the first time since operation Cast Lead began on Saturday, Israeli warships got involved, firing naval artillery at positions close to the main port in Gaza City.

Dead and injured Palestinians continued to be brought to Gaza’s hospitals with local medical sources saying the death toll since Saturday had reached 307. The number of injured has climbed to 1,400.

Four girls from the same family aged from one to 12 years old were killed in an air raid in the northern town of Jabaliya that targeted a mosque near their home.

Two boys were killed in raid in the southern city of Rafah, and a seventh person killed was a Hamas member.

With Israel showing no sign of heeding international calls for an end to hostilities the people of Gaza were left guessing what the next range of targets would include.

The centre of Gaza City was plunged into darkness after the local power station stopped functioning because Israel had refused to allow deliveries of diesel oil needed by the generators.

Israel provides most of the power to the Gaza Strip although a local power station, bombed by Israel in 2006 but now partially repaired, provided electricity to Gaza City’s most densely populated area.

The antiquated switching system of Gaza’s power distribution network meant that the power still coming in from Israel could not be diverted to Gaza City so the hundreds of thousands of people got set for lengthy power cuts.

Israel took care to justify the bombing raids on the Islamic University issuing the following statement: “One of the structures struck housed explosives laboratories that were an inseparable part of Hamas’ research and development program, as well as places that served as storage facilities for the organization.

“The development of these weapons took place under the auspices of senior lecturers who are activists in Hamas.

“Among the weapons that have been developed and manufactured at this site are Qassam rockets.

“Hamas has been working tirelessly to extend the range of the rockets, as has been shown during the past few days.”

Israel has repeatedly said the operation could last a long time. The aim is to stop militants in Gaza firing rockets into Israel.

Israel has threatened to launch a ground assault and is now calling up 6,500 army reservists.

An Israeli civilian was also killed this morning by a rocket fired by militants from Gaza. He was hit while working in the centre of the Israeli port of Ashkelon, about eight miles north of the Gaza Strip.

He is the second Israeli to be killed by rocket fire from Gaza since Israel launched the operation.

GAZA


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 12/29/2008 at 09:27 AM   
Filed Under: • IsraelTerroristsWar On TerrorWar-Stories •  
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