“A Bloody Day in Gaza” (by Sameh Habeeb)
“”” Gaza Strip, 27 Dec, 2008- Saturday morning started as usual but dramatically changed by 11AM. Sixty Israeli F16s bombarded around 100 police stations, civil and governmental offices across Gaza Strip. The bombardment which simultaneously took place left (at the time of writing)160 people killed and around 3 hundred wounded. A number of wounded is expected to die while many corpses still lie under the rubble of buildings.
Palestinian victims were an amalgamation of policemen and civilians who were visiting some police stations for civic affairs. Al Jawazat police station witnessed the bloodiest Israeli attack in which around 70 were killed, mostlypolicemen. The victims of police of Al Jawzat were holding a graduation ceremony for new young police groups.
A family of 9 members, 15 young children, and some women were killed but not recognized. The Ministry of Health is not able to recognize the ID’s of casualties. Tawfiq Jaber, Director of Gaza police was killed in the air raids along with Ismail El Jabari head of the security section in the police. Governor of central Gaza governorates and camps was killed as Israel hit his car.
Ma’waya Hasanian, head of Emergency and Ambulances said that around 230 people were killed and 200 injured. He added that a big number of victims were civilians from women, children and old people. Civilian cars referred wounded civilians to the hospitals due to lack of medical cars and vehicles.
Gaza hospitals announced inability of receiving the wounded due to lack of medical equipment and tools. Corpses of Palestinians were thrown on the corridors, rooms and units of hospitals. Meanwhile 2-3 wounded victims shared one bed due to lack of medical equipment, a result of the Israeli siege imposed 2 years ago. Basim Nai’m, Health Minster in Gaza said that Gaza medical sector needs tens of kinds of medical equipment and tools. A number of 70 wounded were referred to an Egyptian hospital.
According to Naser Al laham, Chief-Editor of Maan News Agency said that around 60 Israeli warplanes carried out the Massacre which surprisingly took place in Gaza.
The raids targeted all areas of Gaza Strip, cities, villages and towns. The hit cities are Gaza, Rafah, Khanyonis, Nusairat, Maghazi, Bait Lahia, Jabalia, Bait Hanoun. Refugee camps of Jabalia, Al Shati’, Rafah an mid areas were targeted as well. Some of the destroyed compounds included Palestinian prisoners under penal detention for criminal issues.
The Israeli bombings flagrantly violate all laws which call for protecting civilians. This was so obvious from the number of civilian casualties. The brutal bombings happened in time of school children were going home, after a normal day of study. A considerable number of children were killed, but medical soruces didn’t announce official numbers in this respect. Identities of killed people are still unknown but a very few ones.
On the other side, Israel officially announced the start of a full-scale military operation in Gaza. She has called on settlers to go down to bunkers bordering Gaza after 1 Israeli was killed and several injured in a homemade rocket fired from Gaza.
Israeli official Television broadcasted footage of the settlements hit by Gazan fighters and ironically ignored what’s happening in Gaza. The television stated that today’s military operations is the start of a long-term massive war action against Gaza. Israeli army named the operation in Gaza “Lead Pouring Out” which entirely means surprisingly decapitation of Palestinian factions in Gaza.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak declared the 20 square kilometers of Gaza a “special military zone.” The classification is one degree below a declaration of total war against an enemy state. The announcement was made Saturday morning.
Israeli Channel 10 announced that the current situation does not amount to a declaration of war, but the operation against the Gaza Strip is intended to last throughout Saturday and perhaps into Sunday. It asserted that Israel prepared an operation that could take several weeks. Preparations have also been taken to contain any expected response in the West Bank.
Ehud Barak said that this operation would roll out in all Gaza’s areas and it will last for a longer time. He vowed of a painful military strike of Hamas pointing out “there is a time for peace and time for War.” According to Barak the operation aims at toppling down Hamas government and stopping the homemade rockets.
Maan Agency reports: Israeli sources also asserted that the operation would not topple Hamas, but rather will ensure that homemade projectiles from the Gaza Strip will stop. This was confirmed in a statement released by the Prime Minister’s office as well.
Regional efforts are being exerted to put pressure on Israel to immediately stop the war crimes perpetrated in Gaza. Turkey expressed its deep anger towards the surprising actions done by Israel. Turkish government held a meeting to discuss the possibilities of reaching a truce. Premire of Turkey, Abdallah Gul, condemned the Israeli brutal actions in Gaza.
Meanwhile Syrian President, Bashar Al Asad, Yemeni Presdient Ali Abdallah Saleh called for an immediate meeting for Arab league to discuss Gaza’s situation. Additionally Qatar and the Sudan called on that too. An expected session for the United Nations would be heled upon a request from Arab countries.
On the popular level, demonstrations took place in the West Bank cities, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan. Lebanese people protest in front of the Egyptian embassy in Beirut considering it has part of the siege on Gaza.
Israel warcraft still hovers on low distance on Gaza vowing of a hot night! “””
Sameh A. Habeeb, B.A.
Photojournalist & Peace Activist
Humanitarian, Child Relief Worker
Gaza Strip, Palestine
Skype: Gazatoday, Facebook: Sameh A. habeeb