Tuesday, Dec 30, 2008
Israel bombed Gaza for a fourth day on Tuesday, warning the blitz that has killed at least 360 people could last for weeks, as Hamas fired back with deadly rockets landing deep inside the Jewish state.
As anger over the devastating offensive spiralled in the Muslim world and elsewhere, UN chief Ban Ki-moon again implored world leaders to work urgently to end the “unacceptable” violence.
Children again fell victim to Israel’s “all-out war” on the Islamist Hamas movement, with two sisters dying when a missile slammed into their donkey cart in the northern town of Beit Hanun.
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In Gaza City, residents picked through rubble and broken glass after a night in which Israel hammered the overcrowded territory with some 40 strikes targeting Hamas buildings.
With tanks and personnel massed on the Gaza border, Israel said infantry was ready to join what it warned would be a prolonged offensive.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the bombardment so far was “the first of several stages approved by the security cabinet,” while Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai warned the offensive — one of Israel’s deadliest ever against Gaza — could take weeks.