Saturday 24 January 2009

Israeli gunboat targets Gaza civilians

A Palestinian medical official says an Israeli gunboat off the shores of Gaza City has opened fire on Gaza, wounding at least five people.

Dr. Moaiya Hassanain said Thursday that a shell fired by the gunboat hit a house in a beachside refugee camp. He said the wounded were passersby in the street, AP reported.

Gunboats off Gaza have been firing for several days despite a cease-fire, which ended a three-week Israeli offensive, being in place.

The humanitarian situation in the besieged strip has not changed as the Gaza blockade continues.

Israeli military operations have exacerbated the already dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza by destroying civilian infrastructures during the invasion. Gazans are facing harsh conditions without food, water, fuel and electricity.

The hospitals and other medical facilities suffer from severe shortages of medical supplies and electricity. The crossings into the Gaza Strip still remain closed and the humanitarian aid permitted to enter the besieged strip is below the survival levels.

Nearly 5,000 houses were destroyed and hundreds of people have become homeless in the coastal sliver, which has been under an 18-month Israeli blockade.

Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on Sunday, to which Hamas responded positively by giving Tel Aviv a one-week ultimatum to withdraw all its forces from the area and end its 18-month blockade of the coastal enclave.

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