Monday, Dec 29, 2008
Israel is now in “all-out war” with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel’s parliament Monday.
“We have stretched our hand in peace many times to the Palestinian people. We have nothing against the people of Gaza,” Barak said as Israeli warplanes carried out a third day of strikes on the Palestinian territory.
“But this is an all-out war against Hamas and its branches. The restraint that we have demonstrated is the source of our strength when it is time to fight.”
The Palestinian death toll from the campaign has topped 300, most of them Hamas militants, Palestinian medical sources said Monday. Columns of smoke could be seen over Gaza City, while Israeli tanks cruised along the edges of the territory.
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Iyad Nasr, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the streets of Gaza were largely empty while airstrikes continued throughout the morning.
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“Very little number of cars are going out,” he said. “People who need to secure some basic food supplies are all to go out, or people looking for a family member who is missing or going to a hospital.”