Gaza Strip: Over 155 dead and 200 wounded in Israeli air strikes

Published December 27th, 2008 - 11:42 GMT

Israeli air strikes in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip killed at least 155 people, medical officials said. According to Reuters, the dead include at least 120 in Gaza City and another 23 in Khan Younis and Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, medics said. Over 200 Palestinians were wounded.


In one of the Hamas compounds, the bodies of more than a dozen uniformed security officers were seen lying on the ground. Among the dead was the Gaza police chief, Maj. Gen. Tawfiq Jaber, witnesses said.


Hamas officials said all of Gaza's security compounds were destroyed.

An aide to Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said after the air strikes, which destroyed several police compounds, that Israel is ready to step up its military assault on the Gaza Strip. "The operation will be pursued and widened as required and subject to (commanders') assessments," the aide told Reuters. "We are facing a period that will not be simple or easy."


On its part, Hamas and other Palestinian factions said on Satursday they had ordered their fighters on Saturday to avenge Israel's air strike in the Gaza Strip. "All fighters are ordered to respond to the Israeli slaughter," said a statement by the Islamic Jihad group, echoing statements issued by Hamas and other armed factions. Following these announcements, Israel reported several rockets landed in southern Israel.


"Hamas will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood," said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, speaking on a Gaza radio station.


In the West Bank, Hamas' rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in a statement that he "condemns this aggression" and calls for restraint, according to an aide, Nabil Abu Rdeneh.

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