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Scores dead in Israeli raid on Gaza

by Al Jazeera (reposted)
Saturday, December 27, 2008 : Air assault targets security buildings killing at least 195 people and injuring 300 more.

At least 195 Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed in an Israeli aerial bombardment on Hamas security installations.

Israel launched air attacks across the besieged Gaza Strip on Saturday, threatening that further operations would be carried out.

Emergency services said that at least 300 people had been wounded.

Witnesses reported heavy damage as at least 30 missiles were fired.

Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, said that the operation would not be short.

"The operation will go on and be intensified as long as necessary," he said on Saturday.

An Israeli military spokesman added that any "Hamas target is a target".

As dusk fell, Israel continued to bomb the strip, firing on a metal foundry in the south.

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§Massive Israeli air raids on Gaza
by BBC (reposted)
Saturday, December 27, 2008 : Air strikes kill more than 200 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, medics say, as Israel targets Hamas militants with the heaviest raids on Gaza for decades.

More air raids were launched as night fell. Map

The operation came days after a truce with Hamas expired.

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said "it won't be easy and it won't be short".

"There is a time for calm and a time for fighting, and now the time has come to fight," he said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate halt to the violence, condemning what he called Israel's "excessive use of force leading to the killing and injuring of civilians" and "the ongoing rocket attacks by Palestinian militants".

Middle East envoy Tony Blair and the French EU presidency also urged an immediate ceasefire.

Palestinian militants frequently fire rockets against Israeli towns from inside the Gaza Strip; large numbers of rocket and mortar shells have been fired at Israel in recent days.

In a statement, Israel's military said it targeted "Hamas terror operatives" as well as training camps and weapons storage warehouses.

Hamas bases destroyed

A Hamas police spokesman, Islam Shahwan, said one of the raids targeted a police compound in Gaza City where a graduation ceremony for new personnel was taking place.

At least a dozen bodies of men in black uniforms were photographed at the Hamas police headquarters in Gaza City.

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by UK Guardia (reposted)
Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds injured after the Israeli air force launched dozens of air raids on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Palestinian health officials said at least 195 people were killed and more than 250 wounded in one of the bloodiest days for decades in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Many were members of the security forces of the Islamic group Hamas, but civilians were also killed.

In an indication of how the operation may yet expand, the Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak, said Israel's air offensive against militant sites in Gaza "will widen as necessary". He told a news conference: "There is a time for calm and there is a time for fighting, and now is the time for fighting. The operation will expand as necessary." It was unclear if this would include a ground offensive.

The Israeli military said it attacked "terrorist infrastructure". Hamas vowed to avenge what it called "the Israeli slaughter" and Palestinian militants responded with rocket salvos that killed an Israeli man and wounded others.

The strikes come just over a week after a six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas expired, and follow a series of warnings by Israeli officials that they were planning an operation in response to rockets fired into Israeli towns and villages by Hamas and other militant groups based in Gaza. More than 50 rockets have been launched from Gaza in recent days, according to Israeli military officials. Israel yesterday reopened crossings into the Gaza Strip, allowing in humanitarian aid after an eight-day closure, in what has been seen as an attempt to pre-empt international criticism ahead of today's attacks.

Despite the warnings, the timing and scale of the assault came as a surprise to many residents of Gaza. The raids had been expected to begin tomorrow, and the fact that they took place mid-morning rather than at night meant many official buildings and schools were full. Some of the missiles struck densely populated areas as children were leaving school. Parents rushed into the streets to search for them.

Television footage from Gaza showed bodies scattered on a road and the dead and wounded being carried away. Civilians rushed to the targeted areas and tried to move the wounded in their cars to hospital.

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