Israel pursues Gaza offensive

January 9, 2009 12:00 am

, GAZA CITY, Jan 9 – Israel on Friday carried on heavy attacks in Gaza and new rocket attacks hit Israel in the hours after the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for an immediate end to the conflict, the military and witnesses said.

Israeli staged more than 50 air strikes which Palestinian emergency services said killed at least 12 civilians.

The Israeli army said nine rockets were fired into southern Israel on Friday injuring one person. The army said four Grad rockets hit Beersheba, about 40 kilometres from Gaza, as well as the port of Ashdod.

The army said it hit five rocket launching sites, including one next to a mosque, a weapons storehouse and five weapons production sites as well as Hamas command buildings.

The Israeli navy also staged artillery attacks on central Gaza.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution late Thursday calling for an immediate ceasefire and an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. The United States, a key Israeli ally, abstained in the vote.

Israel launched its war against Hamas on December 27 aiming to end rocket attacks in southern Israel and the smuggling of weapons into Gaza from Egypt. Palestinian medics say almost 800 people have been killed since then.

Eleven Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed in combat or rocket attacks into Israel.

Meanwhile, the United Nations cited witnesses saying Israeli forces evacuated about 110 Palestinians into a house which they then repeatedly shelled 24 hours later, killing about 30 people.

It said that "according to several testimonies, on 4 January Israeli foot soldiers evacuated approximately 110 Palestinians into a single-residence house in Zeitun (half of whom were children) warning them to stay indoors. 24 hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately 30."

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called it "one of the gravest incidents since the beginning of operations" by Israeli forces in Gaza on December 27.

"Those who survived and were able walked two kilometres to Salah Ed Din road before being transported to hospital in civilian vehicles. Three children, the youngest of whom was five months old, died upon arrival at the hospital," OCHA said in a report on the situation in the battered Gaza Strip.

Asked for comment, an Israeli military spokesman said the allegation was being investigated as were other claims that civilians were fired upon and that troops failed to help wounded civilians.


Latest Articles

Most Viewed