Thousands of Gazans are fleeting their homes as the Israeli Army works to root out Hamas militants in Gaza City.
The military action set the United Nations office structure ablaze today in Gaza City
Fighting is now in the city’s residential neighborhoods on Day 20, Thurswday, January 15, 2009.
In Gaza, the dead now number over 1,000.
Smoke rises during an Israeli military operation in Gaza as Israeli tanks are seen near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, southern Israel, Thursday Jan. 15, 2009. Israeli tanks shelled downtown Gaza City on Thursday and ground troops thrust deep into a crowded neighborhood for the first time, sending terrified residents fleeing for cover and ratcheting up the pressure on Gaza’s Hamas rulers to accept a proposed cease-fire to end a devastating Israeli offensive.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Israel Air Force planes struck some 70 targets overnight, including weapons positions, rocket squads and a mosque in southern Gaza that it said served as an arsenal, the military said.
President Assad of Syria asked both sides to agree immediately to a cease fire and then work out their cross border smuggling issues later.
Israel insist on a regime to prohibit the re-arming of Hamas through the Gazan borders.
But Syria is not trusted in Israel where it is often seen as an aid to Iran and militant anti-Israeli forces like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Yesterday, Hamas seemed on the verge of agreement of an international 10 day cease fire brokered in Cairo, Egypt.
Israel was to again consider the cease fire idea today.
In Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak is known to favor a cease fire while Prime Minister Olmert is resisting.
Haaretz reported that the disagreement is causing trouble in the Israeli war cabinet.
Following press reports Wednesday that Barak wanted to see a humanitarian cease-fire, sources close to Olmert were quoted as saying that Hamas saw and heard what was going on in Israel and “draws encouragement” from this, concluding that Israel was searching for a way out of the military operation.
“The irresponsibility of ministers – regardless of how senior they are – in leading private initiatives is unfortunate,” one of these officials said.
The official said that the publication of these plans “gives encouragement to Hamas, gives a shot in the arm to their backers, and has an immediate effect of the fate of a million Israelis in the South and thousands of IDF soldiers carrying out operations inside Gaza.”
But Arab nations trying to assist in the cease fire process were in disagreement how how and when to hold an Arab summit.
Hamas spokesman Mohammed Nizal said Wednesday, “Is it possible to get into the third week of this Zionist aggression against Gaza and the Arabs can’t hold a summit for Gaza and to stop this aggression?
John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Smoke billows from Gaza on Thursday as fighting continued to rage.
The Associated Press reported:
Witnesses say Israeli ground troops are advancing into crowded residential areas of Gaza City and thousands of terrified residents are fleeing their homes.
Israeli troops backed by helicopter gunships, tanks and heavy guns thrust deeper into the city than ever before Thursday to seek Hamas fighters, they said.
It wasn’t clear whether this would be a brief foray or signal a new phase in Israel‘s devastating offensive against Gaza’s Islamic Hamas rulers.
Israel has balked at launching all-out urban warfare in Gaza City, where Hamas militants are more familiar with the lay of the land and Israeli casualties would be liable to spiral.
Israel launched the offensive on Dec. 27 to stop militant rocket fire on southern Israel from.