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Israel presses Gaza assault, 31 killed
Cat : Israel and Zionism
Date : 2006-07-08 17:40:10                      Reader : 248
If any one kills a human being regardless to his faith or race as if he killed all humanity on earth, but if he saved a human life , as if he saved all humanity, what the Americans think of such terrorist civilisation of Islam? What a non terrorist who kills 31 Palestinians all at a time now in Gaza?!
Associated France Press 8/7/2006
Israel presses Gaza assault, 31 killed
by Kerry Sheridan
GAZA CITY (AFP) - Seven Palestinians were killed as        Israel pressed on with its bloody offensive in Gaza and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called on the international community to halt the deadly assault.
UN chief        Kofi Annan meanwhile called for an immediate stop to what he called Israel's "disproportionate use of force" in Gaza but also pressed for the release of an Israeli soldier snatched by Palestinian militants.
Israel waged fresh air and ground attacks on northern Gaza, one day after reoccupying land in the deadliest 24 hours in the territories for four years with 30 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier killed since Thursday.
Faced with mounting deaths and the worst Middle East crisis in months, Abbas urged the world to stop Israel's "inhumane aggression" to give mediators a chance to free the soldier, whose capture ignited the escalation 12 days ago.
UN chief Annan said in a statement: "I call again for an immediate halt to the disproportionate use of force by Israel, which has already killed and wounded many civilians, for the release of Israeli army corporal Gilad Shalit and for the cessation of rocket fire into Israel.
"These measures are an absolute prerequisite for defusing the tensions which are escalating every day," said Annan, who is in Berlin to attend the soccer World Cup final Sunday and to hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Capping a day of attacks, Israeli forces killed a seventh Palestinian in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya when an Israeli helicopter gunship fired two missiles on a house, local medical and security sources said.
The targeted house was in a neighbourhood of Beit Lahiya that has been the scene of the fiercest fighting and attacks, where six other Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in exchanges of fire, air strikes and tank fire.
The Israeli military confirmed various aerial attacks and artillery bombardments throughout the day but were unable to confirm its latest air strike hit a house, saying missiles were fired only at "open areas".
An 11-year-old boy died Friday of wounds sustained in an Israeli shooting a day earlier near Beit Hanun in northern Gaza, medics said.
In the occupied        West Bank, another Palestinian militant was shot dead in clashes with Israeli forces in Nablus, where radicals have threatened to unleash untold violence should Israel move further into Gaza.
"The world must stop this aggression and this inhumane invasion so that our efforts can get somewhere," Abbas told a news conference in Gaza City.
In the biggest escalation of the crisis since the soldier was abducted, Israel on Thursday sent troops deep into the northern        Gaza Strip, effectively creating a buffer zone in a territory from which it withdrew last September.
Israel has vowed to use everything in its power to increase the pressure on the embattled Hamas-led government to free 19-year-old corporal Shalit and to stop rocket attacks.
Abbas said, however, that continued Israeli aggression was hindering Palestinian efforts together with "Arab parties, particularly Egypt" to return the soldier to his family.
"They still believe an agreement is possible," he said, calling on militants to stop firing rockets at Israel in a bid to ease the crisis.
Seventeen have been fired since the latest offensive began, slightly wounding three people in the defence minister's home town of Sderot.
Hamas -- whose government offices have been bombed in Israel's offensive -- warned that the assault was complicating the case of the captive Israeli soldier, who it said was being well treated.
The movement, whose armed wing claimed joint responsibility for the June 25 attack when Shalit was snatched, said the "soldier Gilad is being well treated, in a humane manner in keeping with the values of our religion".
"The case of the kidnapped soldier is becoming more complicated... and continued Zionist crimes will only harden the Palestinian side even more."
Israel however flatly ruled out any negotiations with the Islamists -- who officially advocate the Jewish state's destruction -- with a view to engineering a Palestinian prisoner swap in exchange for the corporal.
"I have just spoken to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and our position remains unchanged: we refuse to negotiate with Hamas and (Palestinian) prisoners will not be released," Interior Minister Roni Bar-On told Channel One television.
Inspecting troops based near Gaza, Israel's chief of staff Dan Halutz warned that militants had and would "pay a heavy price" if they continue their attacks, maintaining that "40 terrorists" had been killed in the offensive.
The UN Security Council debated a draft resolution demanding Israel withdraw from Gaza immediately and release detained Palestinian officials, although the United States, Israel's closest ally, described the text as "unbalanced".
Aid groups have expressed concern about the difficulties of providing assistance to 1.4 million people living in poverty-stricken Gaza following months of financial crisis and the suspension of direct Western aid to the government.
Hundreds of mourners perspiring in the oppressive heat attended the funerals for those killed on Thursday, the deadliest day in the Palestinian territories since March 8, 2002 when 46 people were killed in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Ground forces advanced at least five kilometres (three miles) into northern Gaza to expand a self-declared buffer zone aimed at preventing rocket attacks, massing around Beit Hanun and moving into two neighbourhoods of Beit Lahiya.
Israeli forces took over the remains of the Dugit, Elei Sinai and Nissanit settlements, razed last year as part of Israel's historic pullout from Gaza that was meant to draw the curtain on a 38-year occupation.

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