Monday, 19 November 2012

Palestinian death toll rises as Israel presses onslaught

The losses — 19 reported killed since midnight local time — included Palestinians killed in attacks by warplanes and a drone attack on two men on a motorcycle. Another drone attack killed the driver of a taxi, hired by journalists and display "Press" sign, although it was not clear what journalists employed it, said Palestinian officials.

Sunday attacks Israeli forces two buildings containing local tv stations and production companies used by foreign outlets. Israeli officials denied targeting journalists, but on Monday blasted the Israeli forces again Al Sharouk block used by many local television stations, as well as Britain's Sky News and Al Arabiya channel.

Attacks, apparently aimed at a computer store on the third floor of the building, triggered a blaze that sent the theme of dark smoke creeping up the sides of the building. Video footage showed clouds of grey smoke billowing from high-rise building as the missiles hit home.

An Israeli bomb pummeled a home deep in the ground here on Sunday, killing 11 people, including nine in three generations of a single family, in the deadliest single strike in six days of cross-border conflicts. Family members were buried Monday in a rite, transformed into a gesture of defiance, and was a rally supporting Gaza militant Hamas rulers.

A militant leader said Tel Aviv in the Israeli heartland, would be hit "again and again" and warned Israelis that their leaders were misleading them and would "take them to hell."

Air strikes indicated further that Israel was striking a variety of targets. Three Israelis have been killed and at least 79 injured by continued rocket fire into southern Israel and as far north as Tel Aviv.

Israel says its onslaught is designed to stop Hamas from launching rockets, but after an apparent lull overnight, hurtled more missiles against targets in Israel, some of them intercepted by Israel's iron Dome defense system. Four were intercepted by five rockets fired at the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Monday, but a messed up through concrete roof at the entrance to an empty school. There were no reports of casualties, Other rockets rained on areas along the border with Gaza.

Later defeated another volley Ashkelon. Several missiles were intercepted, but one crashed on a House, causing damage but no casualties, News reports said 75 rockets had been fired by midafternoon.

Sunday totaled a new blitz of the Palestinian rockets nearly 100 by nightfall, including two that had risen against the population center in Tel Aviv, but was knocked out of the sky by Israeli defense forces.

In a statement on Monday said the Israel Defense Forces overnight targets included "underground rocket launchers, terrorist training bases, tunnels, Hamas command posts and arms storage facilities." But news reports said strikes flattened two houses belonging to a single family, killing two children and two adults and injuring 42 people, while a shrapnel burst from a second attack killed a child and wounded others living near the ruins of the former national security compound.

The latest exchanges offered a grim light Egyptian-led truce efforts have so far proved inconclusive. The United Nations Secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, was set to join efforts in Cairo on Monday.

Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, spokesman for Israel Defense Forces, said there had been a reduction of up to 40 percent in the rocket fire from Gaza, while Israeli forces had launched 40 raids on tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, at both entrances and along the road leading to them, causing considerable damage.

He said six rocket launch team and two men on motorcycles were affected, while the Israeli forces continued to intercept Palestinian radio signals in order to urge Gaza residents to steer clear of the activists.

In the Israeli strike Sunday morning it took emergency workers and a Caterpillar digger more than an hour to reveal the extent of the devastation in the two-storey home of Jamal Dalu, a shop owner. Mr. Dalu was a neighbor when the blast wiped out almost his entire family: his sister, wife, two daughters, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren ages 2 to 6 all perished under the rubble, as well as the two neighbours, an 18-year-old and his grandmother.

Ticket prices and Jodi Rudoren Anonymous reported from Gaza City and Alan Cowell from London. Reporting was contributed by Isabel Kershner from Ashkelon, Israel; Ethan Bronner, Myra Noveck and Irit Pazner Garshowitz from Jerusalem; RINA Castelnuovo from Ashdod, Israel; Peter Baker from Bangkok; and David d. Kirkpatrick from Cairo.

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