Day 16: 29 more dead – ground troops advance south of Gaza City – Airstrikes hit southern Strip overnight – 879 total
From Maan News Agency
Twenty three Gazans have been killed since midnight Sunday morning and dozens injured by new weapons that ensure the incineration of buildings and people hit by the explosives.
The Israeli Phosphoric bombs have not yet been used in the Gaza offensive.
The total for the 16 days of Israeli strikes and ground fire is now 875 killed, 3,620 injured and 411 seriously wounded.
Sunday dawned with six more Palestinians confirmed dead in Gaza, mainly from Khuza’a village east of Khan Younis.
Overnight Israeli warplanes shifted their sights to civilian homes in southern Gaza, then after dawn strikes began in the north. Ground troops advanced towards Gaza City during the night. One contingent withdrew northward at dawn, while a second front southwest of Gaza City continued to advance to an abandoned Israeli settlement south of the city.
Those dead in the southern Strip include 41-year-old Hanan An-Najjar and another unidentified man. At least 50 were injured as Israeli strikes hit a dozen homes in Khuza’a village, many of which continue to burn after the near-dawn airstrikes.
The body of the 17-year-old Usama Abu Rajileh was identified among the dead in Khan Younis.
Attacks in the north began by killing four members of the Bashir family when Israeli airstrikes struck the family home in the Al-Karama neighborhood northwest of Gaza City shortly after sunrise on Sunday. The family was in the home at the time and an unknown number were injured.
Witnesses said Ala Bashir “Abu Sheib,” his wife, mother-in-law and son were killed in the strike. Several other homes in the area were hit.
Strikes then shifted to the northern border-town of Beit Lahiya where locals reported the use of Phosphoric bombs, which set hit homes ablaze. The strikes killed at least three from the Ma’rouf and Ghaban families and injured dozens.
Ground offensive retreats north after night of attacks
Witnesses said Israeli troops withdrew from As-Sudaniyah area in the north of Gaza City after a night of shooting. Locals said several homes were raided and their residents massacred after which homes were burned. Medical sources have been unable to confirm the number of dead.
Some of the known raids include the home of Ahmad Aj-Ja’bari of an Al-Qassam Brigades member in the eastern areas of Gaza City. His home was set on fire as troops withdrew.
In the southwest quarter of Gaza City clashes were heard in the Al-Sheikh Ajlein neighborhood as Israeli troops approached the evacuated Netsarim settlement south of the city.