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Israeli Attacks Kill Over 310 in Gaza in One of Israel's Bloodiest Attacks on Palestinians Since 1948
Monday, December 29, 2008 :Amidst worldwide protests, Israel is continuing its bombing campaign against Gaza for the third consecutive day and preparing to launch a possible ground invasion. Following months of a crippling blockade, this has been described as one of Israel's bloodiest attacks on Palestinians since 1948. Latest reports indicate that 310 people have been killed and 1,400 injured in the aerial strikes across the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning. The latest targets of the air strikes include the Hamas Interior Ministry building and the Islamic University. Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced today that Israel is in an "all-out war with Hamas and its proxies" in Gaza. Fears of a ground invasion are growing after Israel declared a military buffer zone around Gaza, closing off the strip and its 1.5 million residents to journalists and civilians. We speak to Dr. Moussa El-Haddad and Fida Qishta in Gaza, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti in Ramallah, Gideon Levy in Tel Aviv and Ali Abunimah in the US.
Dr. Moussa El-Haddad, retired physician in Gaza City. His daughter Laila El-Haddad is a journalist who writes the popular blog ‘Raising Yousef’
Fida Qishta, Freelance journalist and Gaza Strip Coordinator for the International Solidarity Movement
Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, independent Palestinian lawmaker and democracy activist
Gideon Levy, journalist with the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz
Ali Abunimah, author of One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse and co-founder of The Electronic Intifada. His latest piece is called ‘We Have No Words Left’ published today in London’s Guardian newspaper.LISTEN ONLINE
On Wednesday morning the family of Palestinian officer Ghassan Abu Ayyad, 25, was still trying to find a place to bury the body of their son in the Maghazi refugee camp in the heart of Gaza. The cemetery in Maghazi had already received dozens of burned and mangled corpses alongside the body parts of unidentified Palestinians killed on Saturday when the Israeli air force shelled a graduation ceremony at the police academy. There was no space for more bodies.
By the fifth day of Israel's airborne assault on Gaza the tiny Strip's hospitals are in the same position as its cemeteries, unable to receive any more corpses and turning away all but the most critically injured victims of Israel's F16 fighter jets and Apache helicopters.
As Al-Ahram Weekly went to press on Wednesday the death toll had reached 400. Mowaeya Hassanein, head of the Hospitalising Unit in the Palestinian Health Ministry, reported 2,000 injured thus far. Sixty per cent of those killed, says Hassanein, are civilians, 14 per cent of them children.
Meanwhile, Israel continued shelling security command centres and Interior Ministry institutions of Ismail Haniyeh's Hamas government. Mosques, local council buildings, factories, blacksmith workshops and sport centres were also razed.
More than 60 police stations and security centres have been destroyed. The Israeli air force has flattened two campuses of the Islamic University in Gaza -- the largest educational institute in the occupied territories -- together with 100 residential buildings, 15 of which were occupied. Security sources say Israeli fighter jets have released more than 100 bombs on Gaza, each weighing one tonne.