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At least 140 Palestinians killed in Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip



Bodies of Palestinian Policemen killed in the Israeli airstrike (Photo of Al-Jazeera TV)

December 27, 2008

At least 140 Palestinians were killed, and another 150 injured, when Israeli jetfighters shelled several parts of the Gaza Strip on Saturday before noon.

The Al-Jazeera TV transmitted images of dead and wounded bodies of the Palestinian policemen and civilians lying in the streets after this morning's offensive.

IMEMC correspondent in Gaza Rami Al-Meghari says, it appears the Israeli air strike targeted the Palestinian Police headquarters in the central Gaza Strip and a small police outpost nearby.

Tension has been mounting since the end of a temporary six-month ceasefire that Egypt brokered in June. The Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni stated last week during her visit to the Egyptian capital Cairo that her government would initiate military action to stop the homemade shells fired from Gaza into nearby Israeli towns following the breakdown of a six month truce that obligated Israel to keep the borders open.

Last week, the coastal region saw Israeli air assaults as well as a series of homemade shells land in nearby Israeli towns. In Gaza, seven people including resistance fighters were killed and at least six others wounded during Israeli air raids on eastern and northern Gaza Strip.

In southern Israel, slight injuries were reported due to the firing of dozens of homemade shells into nearby Israeli towns by Palestinian resistance groups.

Efforts have been made to contain the situation in an attempt to renew the deal.
Currently, all Gaza's crossings remain closed. With a severe lack of essential goods and commodities such as flour, this blockade is contributing to a serious humanitarian crisis in the area. Bakeries Association in Gaza declared this week that the lack of flour will force Gaza's 47 bakeries to shut down, leaving 1.5 million residents without bread.

Similarly, the United Nations Works and Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a main provider of food supplies to Gaza's 750,000 refugees, announced on December18 that it had run out of wheat.

For over 18 months, Israel has enforced a crippling closure on Gaza which began on June 14 2007 after the Islamist Hamas party gained power in the region, amidst factional fighting with the Fatah Party of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Today, growing tensions erupted as the Israeli Army began an air offensive on various parts of the Gaza Strip. Medical sources in Gaza said that hospitals in the region will be unable to provide help because of inadequate medical supplies.

:: Article nr. 49927 sent on 27-dec-2008 16:50 ECT


Link: www.imemc.org/article/58164

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