Over 200 Dead in Israel’s Worst Attack on Palestinians in 20 Years

Posted: 27 December 2008 by Sayyid in International Affairs, Palestine-Israel
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AP:

Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing more than 200 people and wounding nearly 400 in the single bloodiest day of fighting in years.

Most of those killed were security men, but an unknown number of civilians were also among the dead. Hamas said all of its security installations were hit, threatened to resume suicide attacks, and sent at least 70 rockets and mortar shells crashing into Israeli border communities, according to the Israeli military. One Israeli was killed and at least six people were hurt.

With so many wounded, the Palestinian death toll was likely to rise.

“My son is gone, my son is gone,” wailed Said Masri, a 57-year-old shopkeeper, as he sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, slapping his face and covering his head with dust from a bombed-out security compound nearby.

He said he had 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.

“There is a time for calm and there is a time for fighting, and now is the time for fighting,” said Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, vowing to expand the operation if necessary.

Asked whether Hamas political leaders might be targeted, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni declared at a news conference: “Hamas is a terrorist organization and nobody is immune.”

Hospitals crowded with people, civilians rushing in wounded people in cars, vans and ambulances. “There are heads without bodies …. There’s blood in the corridors. People are weeping, women are crying, doctors are shouting, “ said nurse Ahmed Abdel Salaam from Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s main treatment center….

By early evening, 205 Gazans were known to be dead and 388 wounded, Gaza health official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain said. He did not provide figures on civilian deaths. But earlier in the day, police said about 140 Hamas security forces were killed. Some of the dead, rolled in blankets, were laid out on the floor of Gaza’s main hospital for identification.

Israeli military officials said more than 100 tons of bombs were dropped on Gaza by mid-afternoon. They spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines.

Defiant Hamas leaders threatened revenge. Hamas “will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood,” vowed spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

Anti-Israel protests also erupted in Amman, Jordan, and in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria.

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.

Egypt has condemned the raids on Gaza. EU calls for an immediate ceasefire. Pres.-elect Obama had no comment.

Hamas held a press conference:

ei’s Ali Abunimah’s Op-Ed, : “Gaza Massacres Must Spur Us to Action” tells more:

“I will play music and celebrate what the Israeli air force is doing.” Those were the words, spoken on Al Jazeera today by Ofer Shmerling, an Israeli civil defense official in the Sderot area adjacent to Gaza, as images of Israel’s latest massacres were broadcast around the world.

A short time earlier, US-supplied Israeli F-16 warplanes and Apache helicopters dropped over 100 bombs on dozens of locations in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip killing at least 195 persons and injuring hundreds more. Many of these locations were police stations located, like police stations the world over, in the middle of civilian areas. The US government was one of the first to offer its support for Israel’s attacks, and others will follow.

Reports said that many of the dead were Palestinian police officers. Among those Israel labels “terrorists” were more than a dozen traffic police officers undergoing training. An as yet unknown number of civilians were killed and injured; Al Jazeera showed images of several dead children, and the Israeli attacks came at the time thousands of Palestinian children were in the streets on their way home from school.

Shmerling’s joy has been echoed by Israelis and their supporters around the world; their violence is righteous violence. It is “self-defense” against “terrorists” and therefore justified. Israeli bombing — like American and NATO bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan — is bombing for freedom, peace and democracy.

The rationalization for Israel’s massacres, already being faithfully transmitted by the English-language media, is that Israel is acting in “retaliation” for Palestinian rockets fired with increasing intensity ever since the six-month truce expired on 19 December (until today, no Israeli had been killed or injured by these recent rocket attacks).

But today’s horrific attacks mark only a change in Israel’s method of killing Palestinians recently. In recent months they died mostly silent deaths, the elderly and sick especially, deprived of food and necessary medicine by the two year-old Israeli blockade calculated and intended to cause suffering and deprivation to 1.5 million Palestinians, the vast majority refugees and children, caged into the Gaza Strip. In Gaza, Palestinians died silently, for want of basic medications: insulin, cancer treatment, products for dialysis prohibited from reaching them by Israel. [read the full article]

Comments
  1. reformislam says:

    Hypocrisy in Action:
    Where were Egypt, Russia, OIC, EU, Britain, Sarkozy, US & Austria when Hamas was pounding Israel with daily barrage of rockets?

    http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2008/12/hypocrisy-in-action.html

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