Author Topic: Israel intensifies ground assault Thur Jan 8th  (Read 375 times)

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Offline america

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Israel intensifies ground assault Thur Jan 8th
« on: January 07, 2009, 05:53:47 PM »

AFP - Israel intensified its offensive in southern Gaza early on Thursday, as tanks entered the territory from Israel and warplanes struck suspected tunnels in the Egyptian border city of Rafah, witnesses said.


Dozens of tanks, supported by several helicopters, entered Gaza at the Kisufim border crossing at around 1:00 am (2300 GMT Wednesday) and were headed toward the city of Khan Yunis, witnesses told AFP.


The army could not immediately confirm that claim.


There were also unconfirmed reports that there had earlier been three air strikes on open areas near Khan Yunis.


Meanwhile, warplanes hit a house and a suspected tunnel in an open area near the Egyptian border, witnesses said.


The army, which had warned of an overnight bombing campaign, confirmed that strikes were taking place in Rafah.


There were no immediate reports of casualties in Rafah.


Israel, whose assault on Gaza is aimed at preventing the enclave's Hamas rulers from firing rockets into its territory, claims that the Islamist group is supplied with weapons through hundreds of tunnels coming from Egypt.


On Wednesday afternoon, Israeli planes dropped tens of thousands of leaflets on the Rafah area, warning people to leave their houses or face air strikes.


People were told that they could return to their homes at 8:00 am (0600 GMT) on Thursday.


Defence Minister Ehud Barak had been given the green light by Israel's security cabinet on Wednesday to order a deeper offensive into Gaza towns as part of the campaign to halt Hamas cross-border rocket attacks.


But he also decided to send an envoy to Cairo on Thursday to get details on an Egyptian ceasefire plan, which secured widespread international backing amid mounting concern about the scale of the civilian casualties.


The Rafah area is criss-crossed by what the Israeli army estimates to be some 300 tunnels and what local residents have told AFP are 500 subterranean passages from Gaza into Egypt.


They are used to smuggle supplies and arms into Gaza, an impoverished enclave that Israel has virtually locked down since Hamas seized power in June 2007.


Ending the smuggling is a key element of the ceasefire plan proposed by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.


The Israeli offensive, which began on December 27, has so far killed 702 Palestinians and wounded 3,100, Gaza medics say.



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I have the entire uncensored version downloaded.
Thanks guys!