Kamis, 08 Januari 2009

Soldier killed as Gaza op continues

. Kamis, 08 Januari 2009

An Israeli army officer was killed in central Gaza just hours before Israel suspended fighting for another humanitarian pause.

A soldier was also wounded by anti-tank fire in the same incident Thursday in the former Netzarim settlement, where their company was entering a building.

Seven Israeli soldiers have been killed since Israel began its ground operation in the Gaza Strip.

For the second day in a row, Israel on Thursday halted attacks for three hours in the early afternoon to enable Palestinian civilians in Gaza to leave their homes and for international relief organizations to carry out their humanitarian missions.

Some 300 Gazans with dual citizenship were also permitted to leave the strip via the Erez crossing and will cross into Jordan, while a pool of foreign reporters was reportedly allowed to enter. In addition, 100 trucks of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza and 132,000 gallons of diesel fuel for the Gaza power station was to be transferred through the Nahal Oz fuel depot.

More than 15 rockets have been fired at southern Israel so far Thursday. A long-range Grad missile landed in an Ashkelon elementary school, destroying its gym. Schools have been closed the start of the operation.

Overnight, the Israeli air force attacked about 60 Hamas targets including the house of Yaser Natat, who was in charge of the rocket firing program in the Rafah area, and the house of Muhammad Sanuar, the commander of the Hamas "Khan Yunis Brigade," as well as a mosque used as a weapons storage facility, smuggling and terror tunnels – some located under homes, and rocket launching areas and underground launching pads.

Meanwhile, an Israeli delegation led by Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, arrived in Cairo Thursday to discuss an Egyptian-French cease-fire proposal.

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