|Friday, 19 January 2018|
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-12-29
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Israel Keeps Pounding GazaBombing operations keep wreaking havoc in the Gaza Strip for a third day, as Israeli jets hit Hamas targets on Monday. The death toll has risen to 310 people, including several children, while as many as 1,420 people have been reported injured. Lacking medical material and personnel, the area's hospitals are unable to deal with the situation. An AFP reporter said that the Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry was badly damaged and that Gaza's Islamic University was also hit. Israel allowed more that 100 vehicles carrying humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip, without, however, ruling out mounting ground operations. At the same time, scores of Palestinians seek shelter to Egypt. An Egyptian border guard was killed in clashes that broke out when dozens of Palestinians tried Sunday to cross the border. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called for an immediate ceasefire.
Israel mounted dozens of air raids in Gaza overnight, killing seven Palestinians, including six children, Palestinian hospital sources was quoted as saying. An Israeli army officer confirmed the attacks, without giving more details.
In an airstike in Jabaliya, four little girls were killed. The girls were sisters and their house was located near a mosque that had been a target. Two boys were also killed in Rafah, while the seventh victim was a Hamas militant.A warplane fired five missiles against the labs of the Islamic University.
An Israeli army officer claimed those labs had been equipping Hamas' armed wing with rockets and explosives. He also added that the neighbouring buildings had been the meeting point of the Hamas members.
About 20 rockets were fired Sunday from the Gaza Strip against southern Israel without causing any casualties.
Not having phased out a ground operation against Gaza, Israel called up 6,500 reserve soldiers, a senior army officer was quoted as saying. Israeli Defence Minster Ehud Barak vowed to "expand and deepen" the bombing blitz, which was unleashed in retaliation for persistent rocket fire by militant groups. "If it's necessary to deploy ground forces to defend our citizens, we will do so," his spokesman quoted him as saying.
Eyewitnesses said that Israel had started massing tanks and troops near the Gaza Strip.
The Islamist movement accused Israel of "committing a holocaust as the whole world watches and doesn't lift a finger to stop it." Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said the movement "reserves the right to hit back at this aggression with martyr operations," meaning suicide bombings of the sort Hamas has not carried out inside Israel since January 2005.
Palestinian President Abbas, on the other hand, said that Hamas could have avoided the massacre if it had not put an end to the ceasefire.
Calls for Ceasefire
The international community called for a ceasefire, while Pope Benedict condemned the Israeli raids. On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministers of the Arab League will discuss whether to hold an Arab Summit on Friday, while a Syrian officer argued that the indirect Syrian-Israeli talks would be endangered.
The UN Secretary-General called for an immediate ceasefire, voicing his sorrow over the mounting violence.
Washington held Hamas responsible, requesting, at the same time, Israel avoid targeting civilians.US president-elect Barack Obama is "monitoring" the deadly violence in the Gaza strip and spoke to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the situation, his aides said Saturday.Obama, who takes office on January 20, "is closely monitoring global events, including the situation in Gaza," said his chief national security spokesperson Brooke Anderson.Anderson however emphasized that "there is one president at a time," a statement Obama has said often since he was elected on November 4.
China appeared shocked and seriously concerned over the current military operations in Gaza. "The world is concerned with the Mideast peace process. To use armed force to resolve differences, especially to kill and wound ordinary citizens, runs counter to these efforts," Vice Premier Li Keqiang said in a statement.
Japan urged Monday Israel to demonstrate restraint and the Palestinian fighters to stop rocket attacks against the Jewish state.
Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis called on the international community to take actions to defuse the crisis and send humanitarian aid to the stricken, while Socialist leader George Papandreou had a telephone contact with the Secretary General of the Arab League.
News item: 17174