UN truck driver killed by Israeli forces – Gaza toll rises to 765

8 January 2009

From Maan News Agency

Israeli troops shot and killed a United Nations truck driver in Gaza on Thursday.

Witnesses said the UNRWA driver was shot near the Kerem Shalom border crossing at the northern end of the Strip. A bystander was injured in the shooting. The attack occurred two days after Israeli artillery killed 45 civilians at a UN compound in northern Gaza.

According to Palestinian medical officials, more bodies were recovered from previous attacks on Thursday, bringing the Palestinian death toll to 765 over 13 days of the Israeli offensive. Some 3,120 have been injured.

Israeli artillery shells killed two women who were attempting to flee advancing tanks in the town of Al-Qarrara, in southern Gaza. Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have moved into the Abu Sha’ar area, and approached Al-Qarara.

Israeli warplanes also continued intense bombing throughout the Strip. In a recent strike, Israeli bombs destroyed two houses in the As-Sahabah neighborhood central Gaza City and another house in Ash-Sha’f neighborhood in the east of the city. Ambulances rushed to both areas.

Intensive airstrikes struck the Gaza Strip and demolished two houses in As-Sahabah neighborhood central Gaza city and another house in Ash-Sha’f neighborhood east Gaza city where ambulances rushed to rescue the injuries.

The Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, said five of their fighters were killed by an Israeli airstrike near the Al-Qassam Mosque in Bet Lahiya, in the north of the Gaza Strip. Three were identified as Muhammad Al-Hendi, Abdel Nasser Abu Odeh and Anwar Abu Salem.

Another member of the Al-Quds Brigades, Tareq Abu Amsh, was killed in what the organization said was fierce fighting with Israeli troops in the town of Beit Hanoun, also in the north. A fifth member of the group was reported killed but not identified by name.

The Israeli military confirmed in a statement that one Israeli soldier was killed and another injured in battle with Palestinian fighters in the central Gaza Strip. The two were hit by an anti-tank missile near the evacuated settlement of Nitzarim.

Overnight: Bombing throughout Gaza

Since midnight, Israeli warplanes launched more than 30 airstrikes. In one raid, the Al-Muhammadi Mosque in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City was completely destroyed along with houses and shops near the mosque.

Another strike in the Al-Amal neighborhood in the city of Khan Younis, in the south, killed two men, Hussein Sem’an and Hassan Abu Musa, according to Palestinian medics.

Israeli warplanes struck near Ad-Durra Hospital, in the northern Gaza Strip, injuring three.

In Al-Bureij refugee camp, midway down the Strip, Israeli warplanes bombed a house belonging to resident Walid Fadel, killing a man named Ahmad Hussein.

In Rafah, Israeli airstrikes along the Egyptian border have destroyed 25 houses in the last 24 hours.

In Gaza City, Israeli warplanes bombed the houses of leaders in Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades in the Al-Shuja’eyah neighborhood.

Israel also bombed the house of Khalil Ahel, a leader in the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), an armed group, in Ash-Shati Refugee Camp in Gaza City. No one was injured.

A man named Abu Abir, also said to be a leader in the PRC, was targeted by an Israeli airstrike, although no one was injured.

Another five houses were bombed in Jabaliya in the north and two in An-Nuseirat, in the central Gaza Strip.

Israel also bombed two police stations in Bani Sahla in the south of the Strip and a Palestinian passport agency in Gaza City which had already been attacked in the opening days of the war. The As-Sakhra shopping center was also attacked.