Israel pounds Gaza Strip from air and sea
3 Palestinian kids killed
Gaza,Nov 18: Israel is continuing its assault on the Gaza Strip for a fifth straight day, bombarding the Palestinian enclave from both the air and sea. Medical sources said at least three children and two women were killed on Sunday. One of the victims was an 18-month-old killed in a air raid east of Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.
Meanwhile, fighters in Gaza fired rockets into Israel. Two of them, aimed at the commercial hub of Tel Aviv, were shot down by Israel's anti-missile system, police said.
An air raid before dawn in Gaza City targeted a building housing the offices of local Arab media, wounding several journalists from al-Quds television, a station Israel sees as a mouthpiece of the Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip.
"At least six journalists were wounded, with minor and moderate injuries, when Israeli warplanes hit the al-Quds TV office in the Showa and Housari building in the Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City," health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told the AFP news agency, adding that one journalist lost his leg.
Witnesses reported extensive damage to the building, and said journalists had evacuated after an initial strike, which was followed by at least two more on the site.
A second media centre was targeted later on Sunday morning. Sky News, al-Arabiya, and the official Hamas-run channel al-Aqsa TV have offices in the building. Qudra said two journalists were injured in the attack.
Russian television station RT said its office was destroyed, adding that none of its staff were injured.
The Israeli military said it had targeted "two Hamas operational communication sites" and had only targeted communication devices located on the roof to "minimise the damage to non-involved persons".
Huge plumes of smoke were billowing in the sky after a security building in Gaza City was hit.
Two other attacks on houses in the Jebalya refugee camp killed one child and wounded 12 other people, medical officials said.
Gaza has been under attack since Wednesday, when Israel launched a military offensive with the declared goal of deterring Gaza fighters from launching rockets into its territory.
Fifty-five Palestinians, about half of them civilians, including 14 children, have been killed in Israel's raids, Palestinian officials said. More than 500 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel, killing three people and injuring dozens.
Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba, reporting from Gaza City, said some people who live near the northern and eastern borders with Israel had been leaving their homes to seek shelter with relatives elsewhere. Meanwhile in Gaza City, streets were relatively quiet.
"People still do think that the Israeli military might actually launch a ground incursion. They are of course also worried that they might be near targets of the Israeli military, and they might also be near to a place from where rockets are being launched."
Our correspondent said he had witnessed a rocket being launched from a waste ground in the city. "Then I saw civilians running away from that area," he said.
Rocket fire from Gaza into Israel subsided during the night but resumed in the morning with at least 50 rockets fired, the Israeli army said.
At least 17 of them were intercepted by the so-called Iron Dome, Israel's a missile-defence system meant to shoot down rockets and artillery shells fired at populated areas. Two people were lightly injured by a rocket hitting a house in the coastal city of Ashkelon, the Magen David Adom emergency services said.
Israel said it would keep schools in its south shut on Sunday as a precaution to avoid casualties from rocket strikes.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel was ready to "significantly expand" its operation against fighters in Gaza.
The military said Israeli aircraft had targeted dozens of underground rocket launchers overnight, "causing severe damage to the rocket launching capabilities of Hamas and other terror organisations".
It also confirmed that its navy has shelled Gaza, hitting targets on the northern Gaza shore line.
Hamas remained defiant, with its military spokesman Abu Ubaida insisting that despite Israel's blows the movement "is still strong enough to destroy the enemy".
"This round of confrontation will not be the last against the Zionist enemy and it is only the beginning," he told a televised news conference.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 19 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST
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