As Arabs are still divided on whether to hold an “emergency session” to discuss the Israeli war on Gaza, 20 days after it started, the death toll of Palestinian civilians has reached 1060 martyrs and the number of injured is nearing 5,000.
On the 20th day, fighting between advancing Israeli forces and the Palestinian resistance centered around Tal el-Hawa south of Gaza.
Reports from the strip said that Wednesday night saw the fiercest fighting yet and the bombardment of populated areas across Gaza was the harshest. Gripping their wailing children, terrified Gaza civilians scuttled for any shelter they could find.
As it’s becoming clear, Israel is intensifying its military operations to achieve something concrete as its envoy Amos Gilad arrived in Cairo to hear Hamas’s reservations on the proposal for a ceasefire. Ehud Olmert’s security cabinet is due to decide Friday on whether to expand the operation or not, amid divisions between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and FM Tsibi Livni one side favoring an end to the war and Olmert on the other side favoring moving forward.
On Thursday, the United Nations headquarters in Gaza City (UNRWA) was hit by three Israeli tank shells. Three UN workers were injured. One of the buildings, containing "hundreds of tons" of humanitarian aid, was on fire, while other parts of the compound sustained shrapnel damage. Israel committed, days earlier, a massacre when it bombed two UNRWA schools killing at least 45 people, mostly children.
The UN agency suspended its operations inside Gaza. Also on Thursday, a Red Crescent hospital (Al-Quds) in the Tal el-Hawa neighborhood, south of Gaza, was hit by Israeli shells and caught fire. Hundreds of people are being treated in this hospital from injuries sustained from Israel’s indiscriminate fire. Other people have taken shelter there from advancing Israeli tanks in the early morning hours.
Targeting the UN headquarters and the Red Crescent hospital was followed by targeting a media building in Gaza City. Two cameramen were wounded when an Israeli strike hit the building housing several international and Arab media outlets. The two cameramen worked for Abu Dhabi television.
The Al-Shuruq tower, located in the Rimal neighborhood in the centre of Gaza City, houses several media outlets including the Reuters news agency and television stations Fox, Sky and Al-Arabiya.
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