World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel's air force fired missiles at targets in Gaza City on Saturday, killing more than 200, health officials in Gaza said
Palestinian militants responded with rocket salvoes that killed an Israeli man and wounded several others, medics said.
Black smoke billowed over Gaza City, where the dead and wounded lay scattered on the ground after more than 30 air strikes destroyed several security compounds, including two where Hamas was hosting graduation ceremonies for new recruits.
Among the dead were the Hamas-appointed police chief, Tawfiq Jabber, the head of Hamas's security and protection unit, and the governor of central Gaza, according to medical workers.
At the main police headquarters, some rescue workers beat their heads and shouted "God is greatest" as one badly wounded man lying nearby quietly recited verses from the Koran.
Television footage showed dead bodies scattered on a road and wounded and dead being carried away by distraught rescuers. There was widespread damage to buildings.
At least two people were killed and 30 wounded from an attack in Khan Younis, a refugee camp in the south of Gaza.
A Reuters correspondent said Gaza City port and security installations of the Islamist Hamas group were badly damaged. Thick black smoke billowed over the city.
The rocket attacks had increased pressure on Israeli political leaders to strike Hamas ahead of a Feb. 10 election.
Massive attack follows the decision by the Israeli security cabinet to increase reprisals for cross-border rocket attacks against Israel, and the breakdown of a six-month-old Israel-Hamas truce earlier this month.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipni Livni threathened Hamas during speaking with Egyptian counterpart.
Recent clashes started when Israel has tightened the closure further since a deadly raid by its forces on Nov.4.
After the raid, roccket attacks by Gaza fighters was surged.
Israeli border closings have increased hardships for many of Gaza's 1.5 million residents.
Israeli navy blocked tonnes of food, medicine and other aid to the Gaza Strip.
UN declared that Israeli blockade over Gaza is crime against humanity.
United Nations aid agency said on Thursday it had run out of flour and would suspend food deliveries to 750,000 Palestinians in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip after Israel closed border crossings.
The United Nations and human rights groups have voiced concern about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and called on Israel to lift its blockade.
Roughly half of Gaza's 1.5 million people are running out of the aid supplies they depend on.
The United Nations says a crisis could quickly develop.
Basic medical equipment could not be properly repaired, forcing some patients to turn to expensive private clinics.
Last Mod: 27 Aralık 2008, 21:15