News / Middle East

Israeli Military Thrust Into Gaza Sows Terror, Defiance

Mourners carry the bodies of three Palestinian teenage siblings from Abu Musalam family, who medics said were shelled by an Israeli tank inside their house, during their funeral in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on July 18, 2014.
Mourners carry the bodies of three Palestinian teenage siblings from Abu Musalam family, who medics said were shelled by an Israeli tank inside their house, during their funeral in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip on July 18, 2014.
Reuters

Gaza's Palestinians hunkered down in fear for their lives while Hamas militants urged defiance after Israel sent forces into the densely populated territory on Thursday after 10 days of cross-border fire.

Residents largely abandoned the usually teeming streets after a fevered night of bombardment. Ships spitting machinegun fire drifted closer to the desert enclave's Mediterranean shore, artillery shells lit the skyline orange every few seconds and buildings shook from the air attacks.

Small groups of drowsy men trudged to Friday prayers in Gaza City despite the frequent boom of Israeli artillery.

“We're terrified. My whole family hears the bombs fall around us and we could be hit any time. We feel like there's nothing we can do to protect ourselves,” said Yousef al-Hayek, 60, wearing a white robe and clasping prayer beads.

“Everything's in God's hands. The invasion was expected, but how it will end is not yet clear. We hope for a truce.”

Among the 23 Palestinians killed in the night darkness after Israeli announced ground operations to destroy underground tunnels used by militants were three young cousins - Mohammed, Mohammed and Ali Nutaiz, aged between 4 and 26.

They fled with their families from Israeli tank fire in an eastern border town, only to be killed when the house to which they fled was shelled, a relative told Reuters at their funeral.

Palestinian medics say 222 of the 260 Gazans killed in the hostilities have been civilians, including 40 children.

Hamas said it welcomed Israel's ground thrust and looked forward to killing and capturing soldiers after many of its some 1,400 rockets - according to the Israeli military - so far were deflected by missile defenses. Just one Israeli civilian has been killed, as well as one soldier in the incursion.

“Are you promising us what we are waiting for? Gaza is waiting for you to suffer bitter death,” Abu Ubeida, the masked and camouflaged spokesman of Hamas's armed wing, the al-Qassam brigades, boasted last week.

“The world will see the skulls of your soldiers stepped on by the bare feet of our children. We will turn it into the promised hope of freedom dawning soon for our prisoners,” he said, referring to the militants' hope of abducting Israeli troops and exchanging them for Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli warnings, hackings

Israel says it takes pains to avoid civilian casualties and targets only the militants and their weapons, but that this is not easy to do because it says rocket crews use residential areas for cover against an enemy with far superior firepower.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday: “The Israeli Defense Force is a uniquely moral army and doesn't aspire to hurt even a single innocent person. Not even one. We act only against terror targets, and regret any harm, in error, done to civilians.”

The Israeli military has warned Palestinians of impending strikes by telephoning residents of targeted houses, dropping disabled warning bombs on their roofs and strewing leaflets across endangered neighborhoods.

It has repeatedly hacked Hamas's al-Aqsa TV channel to broadcast the warnings, but the areas so far mentioned are home to several hundred thousand people. While around 30,000 have fled to temporary U.N. shelters, many insist they will stay put.

“It's impossible for everybody from my area to flee. Where would they all go?” said Faris Aryan, a shopkeeper from the northern border town of Beit Lahiya.

“The shells were landing almost every second. I just go from the shop back home. We don't know what is going on or what to expect. We fear things could get much worse.”

While its leaders have gone into hiding and its fighters disappear into shadowy warrens on the front lines, Hamas's media called for courage and tried to gird Gazans for a long fight.

“This urban war, which the heroes of al-Qassam are directing...is going on above and below the ground, and they've achieved great successes and the enemy has taken heavy losses!” an announcer on Hamas's al-Aqsa radio intoned proudly.

"The people must realize all this, despite how they try to frustrate our morale and the psychological war this cowardly enemy is practicing."

You May Like

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurdish Leader: Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: SummerHeat from: AZ
July 18, 2014 2:58 PM
@meanbill: The Palatinians have every opportunity to pursue lives beyond your incorrectly dubbed apartheid scenario. Thousands of Palatinians live outside Gaza in perfect harmony with their neighbors. These illogical and stupid comments show blindness and bias... Hamas' primary targets -- always -- are civilians. Without Iron Dome thousands of Israelis would've been killed in the last 10 days; but as Israel seeks to stop the obvious terrorism and targeting of innocents the sad reality is that there are going to be civilian casualties... Which are 100% Hamas' only targets. People will deny obvious truth and embrace a false reality when it fits their established POV on whats happening in Israel. It's pathetic.


by: meanbill from: USA
July 18, 2014 1:20 PM
WHY do the Gaza Palestinians fight against the overwhelming Israeli firepower, without any chance of ever winning just one battle? ... (To get the worlds attention on the inhumane apartheid laws the Israeli's are forcing them to live by).... they're willing to die? ..

ASK YOURSELF? ... Would you want to live under the horrific "apartheid laws" the Israeli's force the Palestinian people to live under since the 1967 six day war? .... Denying you any civil rights, or privileges, unless you obey them on everything, and being arrested and held without trial by Israel state security, fenced in and walled in, with limited education and health resources, and places you can or cannot live, and limited by the Israeli's of land ownership, of your own occupied Palestinian lands, and being prohibited from praying in the "Dome on the Rock" mosque in Jerusalem? ..... (like black South Africans, under apartheid?) .... What would you do?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid