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Gaza Strip Conflict Escalating Into Full-scale War

Posted December. 30, 2008 03:14,   


Israel for the third straight day yesterday mounted a massive airstrike on the Gaza Strip, an area controlled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The attack killed more than 310 people and injured some 1,400.

With Hamas responding with rocket fire, the conflict between the two sides is escalating into a full-scale war.

While the international community urged an end to the confrontation, Israeli forces deployed tanks, cannons and armored personnel carriers on their borders.

Israeli forces bombed Islamic University, a cultural symbol of Hamas, a Hamas-run government building, underground bunkers used for securing weapons, prisons and metal factories early yesterday morning. Hamas said 180 militants and 16 women and some children died.

Some 10 airstrikes on the Palestinian civilian residential area killed seven civilians, including six children, between Sunday night and early Monday morning.

In response to Israel’s attack, Hamas also fired rockets at southern Israel. One strike killed one Israeli Sunday and killed another and injured eight yesterday.

The Israeli government ordered people living within 20 kilometers of the Gaza Strip to evacuate.

Israel is now set to dispatch land forces. In a Cabinet meeting, the Israeli government approved using 6,500 reserve forces and dispatched armored and airborne brigades to the border region of Gaza. Dozens of tanks, trucks and armored vehicles were deployed to the borders yesterday.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said, “Attacks will continue until the rocket fire (of Hamas) ends.”

“Israel is massacring people but the world is just taking a step back and doing nothing,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. “We will use all available means including martyr operations (suicide bombings).”

The Arab world also expressed outrage over the Israeli attack. Syria stopped a peace negotiation with Israel and anti-Israel protests occurred in Turkey, Egypt, Syria and other parts of the Middle East. A confrontation between Israeli forces and protestors on the west side of the Jordan River in Palestine resulted in two deaths or more.