Wednesday, 14 January 2009

On the 18th Day, “The Invincible Army” Still Faces Fierce Resistance

On the 18th day of “Operation Cast Lead”, the “Invincible army” seems to be sinking more and more in the Gaza quagmire after the Palestinian resistance has confronted it in one of the fiercest battles since the beginning of the ground offensive.

After claiming that Hamas has lost over 60 percent of its military capabilities, the Palestinian resistance movement exchanged heavy fire with advancing Israeli forces in open areas in Gaza thus refuting Israel claims. Israeli ground forces have not been able to advance into Gaza amid total media blackout on the course of the operation and losses in army ranks.

Hamas said its resistance fighters detonated explosives under an Israeli armored vehicles and battled Israeli occupation forces backed by IAF and navy fire in what was described as the most ferocious fight in Gaza so far. Explosions and the sounds of heavy machine gun fire echoed continuously through the city of Gaza. An Israeli paratroops officer was critically injured Monday night after an explosive device blew up inside a booby-trapped building in northern Gaza. Two other soldiers were also wounded in the incident. Also four more occupation soldiers were wounded in night battles, according to the occupation army.

The fierce battle comes as the Israeli media has widely speculated that the occupation leadership may approve an expansion of its massive offensive in Gaza despite ongoing talks in Egypt on how to end the Israeli aggression against the Strip.

The tanks retreated shortly after dawn from the neighborhoods of Tal al-Hawa and Sheikh Ajlin. At least one Palestinian was martyred in the nighttime fighting although the toll was expected to be higher, medics said. Palestinian medical officials said at least 971 people in the Gaza Strip have been martyred, including over 280 children, and around 4400 other wounded since Israel began its offensive on December 27.

Medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported Tuesday that the occupation army shelling was not allowing the Palestinians to remove dead bodies from several of the fighting spots along the strip. The Palestinians reported that about a dozen bodies, two of which are believed to be those of Islamic Jihad's al-Quds Brigades, have been left in the area between Rafah and Kahn Younis.

Human rights groups report shortages of vital supplies including water, in the Gaza Strip, due to the aggression. A fuel shortage has brought frequent power blackouts.

Clashes between occupation troops and resistance fighters were also reported around the southern town of Khan Yunis. Israeli warplanes pounded the densely-populated coastal strip with more than 60 air strikes overnight. Over 45 Palestinians were reportedly martyred in the overnight aggression and on Tuesday.

Hamas kept up its defiance in the face of the onslaught, vowing it would emerge victorious. In a rare televised address on Monday, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya vowed: "We are approaching victory. I tell you that after 17 days of this foolish war, Gaza has not been broken and Gaza will not fall."

Israeli cabinet minister Shaul Mofaz said Israel was "very, very close" to achieving the goals of the campaign, the deadliest it has waged against Palestinians in decades.

"I assume that in the coming week, the situation will be assessed and a decision made at a cabinet meeting on whether and how to continue the operations," Mofaz told Army Radio.

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Tuesday claimed his troops have inflicted damage on Hamas in Gaza, but will continue fighting to achieve more.

Ashkenazi claimed that Israeli soldiers are doing exceptional work and Hamas fighters, infrastructure and government institutions have been dealt a serious blow. But he said that, "We still have work to do."

Israel ignored a UN Security Council resolution - on which the United States abstained but backed in principle - which called last week for a truce. UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who is to head to the Middle East on Tuesday, called on Israel and Hamas to immediately stop the fighting, saying "too many people have died." The Security Council was to hold closed-door consultations on the crisis later on Tuesday.

No comments:

Post a Comment