Cease-Fire Coming? Israel Pauses for Gaza Relief Aid

Today, many Gazans used the three hour cease-fire to bury the dead. They held a mass funeral today for the 43 Gazans killed during the shelling of a school run by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency yesterday.

The announcement of the limited cease-fire was met with a mixed response by the International Committee for the Red Cross.

"Israel's intent of opening an humanitarian corridor is welcome, but it is far from being enough," Anne Sophie Bonefeld, the group's delegation spokeswoman in Jerusalem, told ABC News.

Doctors for the International Committee for the Red Cross within Gaza are stranded in their homes and unable to get to work. The group's trucks carrying medical supplies cannot get through to the hospitals and the group's escorted ambulances cannot evacuate seriously wounded patients out of Gaza.

A Norwegian doctor, Dagflin Djorklid, managed to cross into Gaza from Egypt yesterday and immediately started helping his exhausted Palestinian colleagues. Gaza's Shifa Hospital today admitted another 148 wounded Palestinians -- 18 in critical condition.

"I have been working in severe conditions before, but this is really the worst I have ever seen -- really," Djorklid said.

40 Targets Struck Overnight

The Israeli military is grappling with how to coordinate with aid agencies, so that agency officials can deliver the aid and distribute it to needy Gazans in the midst of battle. The existing aid stored in warehouses in Gaza now needs to be transported to distribution centers.

Overnight the Israeli Air Force announced it struck more than 40 targets throughout Gaza, including rocket launching sites and bunkers. The military also released night vision video of soldiers entering and searching a Hamas tunnel. The Israeli military says Hamas has a vast network of tunnels throughout the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian medical sources say seven Gazans were killed in the fighting overnight in the northern part of the Gaza strip.

Those deaths follow the worst civilian loss of life from an Israeli attack so far in the 12-day siege. At least 42 Gazans were killed and an additional 50 were injured while taking refuge at a girl's school run by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency. Israel's Defense Force says its soldiers received mortar fire from the school and returned fire. The IDF also claims that two Hamas fighters were among the dead and that the incident is under investigation.

Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, says he is 99.9 percent sure that there was no mortar fire from the school or anywhere nearby. He said he can't be 100 percent sure though because "Gaza is a very noisy place these days."

Gunness said he could not account for the two Hamas fighters the Israeli military says were killed at the school because the Israeli military is releasing no information to the United Nations about the pair. Gunness said the building was "clearly, clearly marked" and called for an independent investigation.

Gunness said the Israeli military knows exactly where every single U.N. facility is in Gaza. In addition, say sources in Gaza, the building is two stories tall and has a U.N. flag on top.

At least one other U.N. school that was designated a temporary refuge by the United Nations was hit by Israeli fire this week.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...