By Sameh Akram Habeeb, MMNS Gaza Correspondent (reporting from Gaza)
Gaza Strip, 30 Dec, 2008–The Israeli air force is still launching the heaviest bombardments in Gaza ever. The fourth day of Israeli military operation started with heavy bombings west of Gaza City; they also killed 2 children and about 10 others in various places in Gaza–raising the death toll to 370, while there may be about 1,700 wounded people, most of them civilians.
Israelâ€™s announced decapitation strategy aimed at targeting Hamas and avoiding civilians is now revealed for what it is. The F16s targeted a group of governmental building using tons of explosives, resulting in at least 4 Palestinians being killed. The bombings lasted for 30 minutes echoed across Gaza City, causing great trauma and panic for civilians. The buildings were completely destroyed, and the bombings partially destroyed some neighboring populated buildings.
Israeli warplanes, drones, artillery machines, and Apache helicopters broadly took part in the nightly raids. Israeli air raids destroyed a sports club and a building inside the Islamic University of Gaza–IUG. IUG was hit Monday night and 2 building were destroyed. One of the destroyed buildings was the laboratory funded by Islamic Development Bank–estimated at millions of dollars.
The bombings continued for the whole night in different areas in the Gaza Strip. Many civilian targets were bombed, including mosques in Khanyonis City. An old man was killed in the south of Gaza, in Rafah City.
A Hamas-run police station was hit in El Burej refugee camp, in the middle of Gaza, and another one in Bait Lahia. The naval forces participated in bombing Gaza, destroying many buildings and premises on the coast. An information office linked to Popular Resistance Committees, which had been based in a residential building, was hit, and medical sources reported that some people were wounded in the raid.
Tuesday morning, two female children aged 4 and 11 years of age were killed in the North of Gaza, while they were on a donkey-driven carriage. The bombing of these children debunks the Israeli allegation of only targeting Hamas militants. They were bombed by F16s in broad daylight.
A boat sailing from Cyrprus to Gaza loaded with 3 tons of medical aids was not far away from Israeli army fire. The boat was hit, although it was not loaded with weapons for Hamas–which clearly deflates the Israeli propaganda that they only target legitimate military targets. The boat was exposed to the fire of Israeli naval gunboats, and its body sustained partial damage. The relief boat is still in territorial waters, and is seeking a seaport to anchor.
On the midday of Tuesday, a new phase of the military operation started. F16s started to break the sound barrier over Gaza. Raids of sonic bombs occurred, causing a trauma and panic atmosphere across Gaza residents.
The death toll has reached 370, with more than 1,700 injured and 200 in critical condition, while there is a severe shortages of medicines. Medical sources announced a collapse in the medical sector and in the readiness of Gaza hospitals. Muhamad El Khozndar, a doctor at Al Sehfaâ€™ hospital, said on a local radio station that Gaza hospitals are no longer working properly. Bandaging supplies, medical tools, medical machines and general cleaning equipment are unavailable at the hospitals. Additionally, the windows of the hospital were shattered by bombings that targeted a nearby mosque.
The early hours of Tuesday night witnessed a set of Israeli missiles west of Gaza City. Medical reports said a number of injured arrived to Al shifaâ€™ hospital including some casualties. Many tanks shelled northeastern Gaza City.
Itâ€™s remarkable that the humanitarian stage in Gaza is totally collapsed, just as the necessities of life and wellbeing vanished. All oil derivatives of fuel, gasoline and cooking gas are unavailable in Gaza, due to a siege imposed two years ago. Bread, milk, rice, sugar, and cooking oil are unavailable, and what is inside Gaza is limited quantities stored at homes.
On top of that, it is very dangerous for people to leave their houses in search of food supplies. Any mobile car, bicycle or walking persons will likely become targets for the besieging Israeli military machine.