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Israeli troops enter Gaza
On the eight day of air assault Israeli military launched a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip. Osman Atalay, vice president of the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, confirmed the reports that Isr
Palestine, MiddleEast 03.01.2009

After launching series of air strikes and artillery fire from the sea, Israel sent its troops into Gaza at night. Israeli military officials stated the ground operation would not be large-scare at the first state, but it is not clear yet whether the operation would continue. Fire exchange between Israeli troops and Hamas members was reported after ground incursion began. Hamas made a statement saying its members had killed several Israeli troops on the border area.

Strikes continue all day

Israeli jets hit homes of two senior Hamas members on ground that the homes were being used for hiding weapons. A number of civilians were killed in the targeted homes. Ten people were killed and tens were wounded when a Gazan mosque was hit in the evening. Israeli war boats shelled Gaza from the coast the whole day. Scores of homes were destroyed and casualties were reported in the artillery fire. Gazan people are concerned as Israel launched a ground operation with tanks, artilleries and 10,000 troops as well as with the support of aircrafts, while Gazan resistance groups vowed to resist and defend Gaza. After Israeli troops entered the Gaza Strip, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an al-Fatah affiliated group that had remained silent until then, announced it would fight Israel to protect Gaza in cooperation with Hamas.

The IHH that has been delivering medical aid to Gaza through Rafah border gate for a week confirmed Israel's ground operation. "Rafah gate has been hit the whole day. We could observe air strikes closely. Israeli troops have entered Gaza at three points. Power supply to the city was cut off. A mosque was hit today. The exact number of the people killed is not known yet, because there were about 200 people at the mosque when it was hit. Sixty wounded Gazans were allowed to cross into Egypt through Rafah today. A ground operation was expected. We are near the Rafah border gate," IHH official Atalay said.

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