JERUSALEM – The U.N. suspended aid shipments in the Gaza Strip on Thursday and the Red Cross restricted its convoys after their trucks came under Israeli fire.- Ibrahim Barzak and Steve Weizman
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The driver of the U.N. truck died immediately; another worker in the truck died later of his wounds. The truck, which came under fire in northern Gaza, was marked with the U.N. flag and insignia.
During a three-hour pause in the fighting to allow in food and fuel and let medics collect the dead, nearly three dozen bodies were found beneath the rubble of bombed out buildings in Gaza City.
Many of the dead were in the same neighborhood where the international Red Cross said rescuers discovered young children too weak to stand who had stayed by their dead mothers. The aid group accused Israel of an "unacceptable" delay in allowing workers to reach the area.
Relations between Israel and humanitarian organizations have grown increasingly tense as civilian casualties have mounted.
Those operatives, described as heads of Hamas mortar-firing operations, were killed in the strike, the Israel Defense Forces said.- Shira Medding
Also on Tuesday, an artillery shell struck inside a second U.N. school in the same town, but the boys' prep school was empty at the time, UNRWA director John Ging said.
Both incidents in Jabalya came a day after an Israeli airstrike killed three men at a U.N. school in Gaza City. UNRWA maintains that all U.N. buildings in Gaza are clearly marked with U.N. flags, and said the agency had given Israeli authorities the satellite positions of all of its schools before the fighting started.
Gunness said based on UNRWA's investigation, the agency is "99.9 percent certain" there were no Palestinian militants in or on the grounds of the school that was sheltering civilians when it was shelled by Israeli forces.
Typical of the testimonies collected by Betselem is that of Abdallah Tawfiq Hamdan Kashku, a 44-year-old policeman with four children and a resident of Gaza City.- IRIN
"My family lives in a three-storey house in al-Zeitun, Gaza City. On Sunday [28 December], around 7pm, I was sitting with nine members of my family around a bonfire in the yard. It was cold, and we didn't have electricity to heat the house. I turned on the generator to turn on the light. Then we heard the sound of planes in the sky. I heard a buzz and within a few seconds, I found myself under the rubble. I didn't know what happened to me or to my family. I began to cry for help. The smoke was thick. I couldn't see any of my family, who had been sitting with me a few moments earlier.
"It took a few moments before I realised the house had collapsed because of the bomb. Neighbours rushed to pull us from the rubble. People took my family to the hospital, some by car and some by ambulance. I was taken to al-Shifa Hospital where the doctors treated me. I was slightly wounded in the leg. I asked my relatives and the doctors where the rest of my family was. They told me my wife had a broken pelvis and that the others had suffered light wounds but that they hadn't found my little daughter, Ibtihal. I felt horrible, worrying so much about her.
"Early the next morning, my brothers went home to look for Ibtihal. They looked under the ruins and found her body in the kitchen on the second floor.
"Our house was in a quiet area. I don't think there are military targets in the area. We don't have relatives or neighbours who are wanted. I am still in shock. In a few minutes, the life of my family was turned completely upside down."
As many as 257 children have been killed and 1,080 wounded _ about a third of the total casualties since Dec. 27, according to U.N. figures released Thursday.- Ibrahim Barzak and Karin Laub
Hardest on the children is the sense that nowhere is safe and adults can't protect them, said Iyad Sarraj, a psychologist hunkering down in his Gaza City apartment with his four stepchildren, ages 3-17. His 10-year-old, Adam, is terrified during bombing raids and has developed asthma attacks, Sarraj said.
Israel says it is targeting Hamas in response to its repeated rocket attacks on southern Israel, and is doing its utmost to avoid civilian deaths. However, foreign aid officials note that civilians can't escape blockaded Gaza and that bombing crowded areas inevitably leads to civilian casualties. The Israeli military has used tank and artillery shells, as well as large aerial bombs.
I'm sure Israel will argue that Hamas "started it," but let's remember that the Jews initiated multiple acts of terrorism against British controlled Palestine because the U.K. sought to limit Jewish immigration during and after World War 2. The Jews forced themselves (back) into the middle east with violence, and then they act surprised that everyone in the area resents them.
Certainly Israel is a well-established country at this point, and its citizens deserve to live free from bloodshed. That does not give Israel the right to indiscriminately kill civilians, including massive numbers of children. Israel does not want peace, they want extinction.