Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Breaking News.... More innocents killed...were these human shields too???

I know, I am going to be labeled as anti-Israel or anti-Semitic, but how can you be sympathetic to something like this?? It was clearly marked as a UN school. These people are leaving their homes to try to find a safe place, and thinking the school is safe. They aren't allowed to leave the country, WHERE CAN THEY GO??? Can they stand another 7 to 10 days of this?? That's what Israel is saying they need. What about the innocent victims?? What about what they need?? The Palestinians need relief, they need food, they need medical supplies. What about that?? Here is also another video that shows some more of the problems they are facing.

This is just in from MSNBC :

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Israeli tank fire killed at least 30 Palestinians at a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, medical sources at two hospitals said.

Two tank shells exploded outside the school, spraying shrapnel on people inside and outside the building, where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge from fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants. In addition to the dead, several dozen people were wounded, the officials said.

Medical officials said all the dead were either people sheltering in the school or local residents.

The United Nations also said three civilians were killed in the airstrike late Monday on the courtyard of another school, where hundreds of people from a Gaza City refugee camp had sought shelter from Israel's blistering 11-day offensive against the Hamas militant group.

The attacks came as Israeli forces edged closer to Gaza's major population centers, after ignoring mounting international calls for an immediate cease-fire. A Palestinian rocket attack wounded an Israeli infant.

'There's nowhere safe in Gaza'
"There's nowhere safe in Gaza. Everyone here is terrorized and traumatized," said John Ging, the top U.N. official in Gaza.

Tanks rumbled closer to the towns of Khan Younis and Dir el Balah in south and central Gaza but were still several miles outside, witnesses said, adding that the sounds of fighting could be heard from around the new Israeli positions. Israel, which has already encircled Gaza City, the area's biggest city, ignored mounting international calls for an immediate cease-fire.

Israel launched its offensive on Dec. 27 to halt repeated Palestinian rocket attacks on its southern towns. After a weeklong air campaign, Israeli ground forces invaded Gaza over the weekend. More than 500 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 100 civilians, according to United Nations figures. Nine Israelis have died since the operation began.

Israel says it won't stop the assault until its southern towns are freed of the threat of Palestinian rocket fire and it receives international guarantees that Hamas, a militant group backed by Iran and Syria, will not restock its weapons stockpile. It blames Hamas for the civilian casualties, saying the group intentionally seeks cover in crowded residential areas.

Israeli leaders say there is no humanitarian crisis and that they have allowed the delivery of vital supplies.

'Full-blown' humanitarian crisis
"I am appealing to political leaders here and in the region and the world to get their act together and stop this," the U.N.'s Ging said, speaking at Gaza's largest hospital. "They are responsible for these deaths."

U.N. officials say they provided their location coordinates to Israel's army to ensure that their buildings in Gaza are not targeted. The Israeli army had no comment on the latest strikes, but in the past has accused militants of using schools, mosques and residential neighborhoods to store weapons or launch attacks.

The International Red Cross also was looking into reports that a Red Crescent ambulance station in the northern town of Jebaliya was hit during the night.

Gaza is now in a "full-blown" humanitarian crisis, the International Committee of the Red Cross' head of operations Pierre Kraehenbuehl said.

Many Gazans are without electricity or running water, thousands have been displaced from their homes and residents say that without distribution disrupted, food supplies are running thin.

The situation for Palestinian civilians is "extreme and traumatic as a result of 10 days of uninterrupted fighting, Kraehenbuehl said.

He said ICRC staff in Gaza told the neutral body Tuesday that the previous night was "the most frightening of all to date" on account of the ground offensive Israel has launched in the Palestinian territory.

Palestinian medical officials said 35 Palestinian civilians were killed Tuesday, including 11 in a house that was bombed from the air, 10 on a beach hit by naval shells and the three who had taken refuge in the U.N.'s school.

Four militants also were killed, medical officials said.

Harsh blow to Hamas?
The army says it has dealt a harsh blow to Hamas, killing 130 militants in the past two days and greatly reducing the rocket fire. At least 15 rockets were fired Tuesday and one landed in the town of Gadera, about 25 miles from the Gaza border, lightly wounding a 3-month-old infant, police said.

Israeli forces have cut the main Gaza highway in several places, compartmentalizing the strip into the north, south and Gaza City itself and preventing movement between them. Israel also has taken over high-rise buildings in Gaza City and destroyed dozens of smuggling tunnels — Hamas' main lifeline — along the Egyptian border.

Late on Monday, a paratroop officer and three Israeli infantrymen were killed in two separate friendly fire incidents, the military said. Heavy Israeli casualties could threaten to undermine what so far has been wide public support for the operation.

A high-level European Union delegation met with President Shimon Peres on Tuesday in a futile bid to put an end to the violence. Commissioner Benita Ferraro-Waldner acknowledged Israel's right to self-defense, but said its response was disproportionate.

"We have come to Israel in order to advance the initiative for a humanitarian cease-fire and I will tell you, Mr. President, that you have a serious problem with international advocacy, and that Israel's image is being destroyed," she said, according to a statement from Peres' office.

She said international relief organizations have complained that there is a serious problem distributing aid in Gaza.

The EU delegation was one of a flurry of diplomatic efforts to forge a cease-fire. French President Nicolas Sarkozy left Israel after meetings with leaders.

'Make-or-break issue'
Europe "wants a cease-fire as quickly as possible," Sarkozy said Monday, urging Israel to halt the offensive, while blaming Hamas for acting "irresponsibly and unpardonably."

International efforts to secure a cease-fire focused on an Israeli demand to prevent Hamas from rearming.

"That is the make-or-break issue," Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said about ensuring an end to weapons smuggling along the Gaza-Egypt frontier.

A senior Israeli official said talks were focusing on the size of an "international presence" along the blockaded Gaza-Egypt border, where rockets and other weapons have reached Hamas through a network of tunnels.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stressed to Sarkozy that any agreement "must contain at its foundation the total cessation of all arms transfers to Hamas," Regev added.

Regev noted that Hamas used a previous six-month truce to double the range of its rockets. About one-eighth of Israel's 7 million citizens now live in rocket range.

In New York, Arab delegates met with the U.N. Security Council, urging members to adopt a resolution calling for an immediate end to the attacks and a permanent cease-fire.

'Caused by Hamas'
In Washington, the State Department said the U.S. was pressing for a cease-fire that would include a halt to rocket attacks and an arrangement for reopening crossing points on the border with Israel, said spokesman Sean McCormack. The crossings, used to deliver vital food shipments into Gaza, have been largely closed since Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007. A third element of a U.S.-backed cease-fire would address the smuggling tunnels used by Hamas.

President George W. Bush emphasized "Israel's desire to protect itself."

"The situation now taking place in Gaza was caused by Hamas," he said.

A top exiled Hamas official in Syria, Moussa Abu Marzouk, rejected the U.S. proposal, telling the AP the U.S. plan seeks to impose "a de facto situation" and encourages Israel to continue its attacks on Gaza.

On Tuesday the Israeli military said three soldiers were killed and 24 wounded in a friendly fire incident when an Israeli tank shelled a building in which they had taken cover Monday night during fighting outside Gaza City. The military said a colonel who commanded an infantry brigade was among the wounded.

In a separate friendly fire incident, also Monday, a paratroops officer was killed in northern Gaza, the army said. In all, six soldiers have been killed since the offensive began.

Israeli forces detained 80 Palestinians — some of them suspected Hamas members — and transferred several to Israel for interrogation, said military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to release the information.

Israel's operation has sparked anger across the Arab world and has drawn criticism from countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, which have ties with Israel and have been intimately involved in Mideast peacemaking.

Heavy Israeli casualties in the Gaza fighting could erode strong public support for the operation and affect the outcome of Israel's Feb. 10 national election.

Israel pulled its troops and more than 8,000 settlers out of Gaza in 2005 after 38 years of occupation in a move that many at the time hoped would lead to a breakthrough for relations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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