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Israel's Onslaught: One of Its Bloodiest Attacks on Palestinians in 60 Years

Reports indicate that 350 people have been killed and 1,400 injured in the aerial strikes across the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning.
 
 
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Update: The Gaza death toll has passed 350.

Amid worldwide protests, Israel is continuing its bombing campaign against Gaza for the third consecutive day and preparing to launch a possible ground invasion. Following months of a crippling blockade, this has been described as one of Israel's bloodiest attacks on Palestinians since 1948. Latest reports indicate that 310 people have been killed and 1,400 injured in the aerial strikes across the Gaza Strip since Saturday morning. The latest targets of the air strikes include the Hamas Interior Ministry building and the Islamic University. Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced today that Israel is in an "all-out war with Hamas and its proxies" in Gaza. Fears of a ground invasion are growing after Israel declared a military buffer zone around Gaza, closing off the strip and its 1.5 million residents to journalists and civilians.

We speak to Dr. Moussa El-Haddad and Fida Qishta in Gaza, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti in Ramallah, Gideon Levy in Tel Aviv and Ali Abunimah in the United States.

JUAN GONZALEZ: The latest targets of the air strikes include the Hamas Interior Ministry building and the Islamic University. Five people in a single family were killed in a strike Sunday night on Jabaliya. This is a surviving family member, Iman Baloushi.

    IMAN BALOUSHI: Seven of us were sleeping when, all of a sudden, the walls came tumbling in on us. They were screaming. I told them all to call for martyrdom, because we were going to die tonight.

JG: Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced today that Israel is in a, quote, "all-out war with Hamas and its proxies" in Gaza. Fears of a ground invasion are growing after Israel declared a military buffer zone around Gaza, closing off the Strip and its 1.5 million residents to journalists and civilians. The Israeli cabinet authorized a calling up of 6,500 reserve soldiers Sunday. Israeli prime minister spokesperson Mark Regev said the military campaign would continue until there was "quiet in the south," referring to the rockets launched from Gaza into southern Israel.

    MARK REGEV: Our initial strikes against the Hamas military machine have been successful, but we have no doubt that the Hamas military machine in Gaza remains both formidable and lethal. This campaign will continue, and we have to prepare for different contingencies. Obviously, the final goal remains achieving peace and quiet in the south.

AMY GOODMAN: Al-Jazeera is now reporting 318 Palestinians have been killed. Two Israelis have been killed by rockets from Gaza since Saturday. Hamas' political leader, Khaled Meshaal, vowed that rocket attacks would continue and suicide missions against Israel would resume in an interview broadcast on Al-Jazeera Saturday. The exiled leader in Damascus called on Palestinians to unite and rise up in a Third Intifada.

    KHALED MESHAAL: This is a historical moment. We worked shoulder to shoulder during the First Intifada and the Second Intifada. Despite the political differences between us, today what is needed is for us to work together in the upcoming intifada and our coming resistance, not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank.

AG: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however, blamed Hamas Sunday for triggering the Israeli assault.

    MAHMOUD ABBAS: I want to say very clearly that, yes, we talked to Hamas and the leaders of Hamas in Gaza, and we spoke to them clearly and honestly, directly and indirectly, and through many parties, Arab and non-Arab. So we were in touch with them. Now it's not important what problems existed between us. We called them and told them, "Please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop," so that we could have avoided what happened. And I wished it had been avoided.

 
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