vrijdag 2 januari 2009

Israelische luchtmacht bombardeert moskee en woonhuis vol explosieven in Gaza

"Israel bombardeert moskeeën en woonhuizen" aldus Meulenbelt morgen op haar blog en Van Agt op NOVA. De moskee zat echter vol met explosieven en raketten, vandaar dat na het bombardement nog verschillende explosies waren te horen, en ook het huis van Nizar Ghayan zat vol met wapens en werd gebruikt als commandocentrum voor de strijd tegen Israel.

Zeer ongebruikelijk in oorlogsvoering: Israel waarschuwde de inwoners van te voren zodat zij het huis konden ontvluchten voordat het gebombardeerd werd, maar deze kozen ervoor binnen te blijven, waarschijnlijk in de hoop dat Israel er dan vanaf zou zien of omdat Israel om de dood van vrouwen en kinderen veroordeeld zou worden.


IAF bombs Gaza mosque used as terror hub
By Amos Harel and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents and News Agencies
Last update - 01:30 02/01/2009

Israel Air Force aircraft struck a mosque in Jabaliya late Thursday night used as a terror-hub by the Hamas terror organization.

The mosque was used as a storehouse for a large amount of Grad missiles, Qassam rockets and additional weaponry. The strike set off series of secondary explosions and a large fire, caused by the ammunitions stockpiled inside the mosque. 

The mosque was also used as a center of operations for Hamas, as a meeting place for its operatives and a staging ground for terror attacks, the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson's office said in a statement.

"The IDF will continue to attack any target used for terrorist activity, and will not hesitate to strike those involved in terrorism against the citizens of the State of Israel, even if they deliberately choose to operate from locations of religious or cultural significance," the statement went on to say.

Earlier Thursday, an Israeli aircraft killed a high-ranking Hamas official in Gaza along with nine women, including at least four wives, and 11 of his children, in the first major assassination since the IDF launched Operation Cast Lead on Saturday.

According to sources from the defense establishment, decision-makers are increasingly inclined to order a ground invasion into Gaza.

The assassination of Nizar Ghayan left dozens of people from neighboring buildings injured and brought up the body count on the Palestinian side to 425 people since the start of the campaign. The number of wounded is now estimated at around 2,000.

The IDF Spokesman said that Ghayan's house had served as a weapons silo and a war room for Hamas. Under the house, according to the IDF, was a tunnel which was meant to serve as an escape route in case of an Israeli attack.

Palestinian media reported that the incident was not a planned assassination, but rather a routine bombing of a target suspected by the IDF to contain weapons.

The IDF has code named such operations "roof knocking," in which the army informs the residents of a suspected building that they have 10 minutes to leave the premises. In some cases, residents of suspected houses have been able to prevent bombing by climbing up to the roof to show that they will not leave, prompting IDF commanders to call off the strike. In these cases, Channel 10 reported Thursday, the IAF sometimes launches a relatively harmless missile at the corner of the roof, avoiding casualties but successfully dispersing the crowd.

Sources familiar with Ghayan's record said he was one of the people who encouraged Gazans to climb on rooftops to prevent bombings.

It appears that the "roof knocking" technique was used in the assassination, but Ghayan decided to stay indoors with his family, and the army opted to bomb the house anyway.

A lecturer at Gaza's Islamic University, Ghayan, 49, had mentored suicide bombers and would sometimes go on patrol with Hamas fighters. He was known for his close ties to the group's military wing and was respected in Gaza for donning combat fatigues and personally participating in clashes against Israeli forces. He sent one of his sons on an October 2001 suicide mission that killed two Israeli settlers in Gaza.

He was also an outspoken advocate of renewing suicide bombings against Israel. Hamas said Israel would pay a "heavy price" for his death. Ghayan was one of the most extreme opponents of Fatah, and supported violence against Fatah's men during Hamas' seizure of power.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni rejected calls for a 48-hour "humanitarian pause" and told her French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, that Hamas must not be given the opportunity to gain any sort of legitimacy within a renewal of a truce. Under the current offensive, she said, Hamas understand that Israel will not tolerate Gaza rocket fire without response.

In addition to the assassination, the Israel Air Force bombed several other Hamas targets.

Hamas fired about a dozen rockets into Be'er Sheva and near Ashdod, resulting in no injuries. In all, Gaza militants fired at least 50 rockets at southern Israel throughout the day Thursday.

Awaiting a decision by the political leadership, ground forces of the IDF are in the final stages of preparations for an invasion into Gaza, and the army has amassed the forces outside the Strip in formation for a rapid deployment in the area as soon as the order is given.

But even as IDF tanks rev their engines, various international powers are offering to broker a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. The IDF is recommending a major, but relatively short-term, ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.

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