Death toll rises as Israel bombs Gaza in 2nd day

Gazans cowered in their homes Sunday as Israeli prepared for a possible invasion after killing more than 280 Palestinians in the first 24 hours of a powerful aggression.

Death toll rises as Israel bombs Gaza in 2nd day

Gazans cowered in their homes Sunday as Israeli warplanes continued its air strike, one of Israel's deadliest assaults ever, on Gaza and prepared for a possible invasion of the territory after killing more than 280 Palestinians in the first 24 hours of a powerful aggression.

Israel's prime minister said the campaign could last longer than initially anticipated and the Israeli Cabinet approved the callup of thousands of reservists at its weekly meeting Sunday. Infantry and armored units were already headed to the Gaza border for a possible ground invasion.

A police station and a factory were among the targets reportedly hit on Sunday, after a mosque and the headquarters of al-Aqsa television had been struck overnight.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's cabinet secretary said on Sunday Israel is mobilising some military reservists for the attacks on the Gaza Strip.

"The Israel Defence Forces will, in the coming days, call up more reservists," Oved Yehezkel told reporters after a cabinet session.

"New reservists would help complete the armed forces' preparations for a possible escalation of the fighting", an official said.

Israeli tanks deployed on the edge of the Gaza Strip, poised to raid the impoverished enclave where 1.5 million Palestinians live.

The United Nations Security Council urged an immediate halt to all military activities in the Gaza Strip and called for the humanitarian crisis faced by Gaza's 1.5 million residents to be addressed.

Israeli aircraft destroyed the Hamas's main security compound in Gaza, killing at least four security men, a health official said.

The deaths raised to 286 the number of Palestinians Israel killed since Saturday, when Israel launched what one Israeli newspaper columnist described as "shock and awe" air strikes against Gaza strip. More than 700 Palestinians were wounded

"Palestine has never seen an uglier massacre," said Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

"I kept my children at home. No need to study today," one Palestinian parent said.

Aid groups said they feared the Israeli operation could lead to a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

The United Nations Works and Relief Agency said its food and cash distribution to 750,000 Gazans had been suspended but it hoped to bring in 10 truck-loads of emergency medical supplies on Sunday.

Gaza hospitals said they were running out of medical supplies because of a long-standing Israeli-led blockade.

Hamas estimated at least 180 members of its security forces had been killed with at least 15 women and some children.

Among the civilian dead were seven teenagers, students at an UNRWA school, who were killed in an Israeli air strike while waiting for a bus to take them home, said Christopher Gunness, an UNRWA spokesman.

"Death is everywhere this morning," he said.


Agencies

Last Mod: 28 Aralık 2008, 19:57
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