Israel's military offensive in Gaza enters its
third week with rising Palestinian casualties and both sides in the conflict
ignoring demands for a cease-fire.
Day 15 on Saturday - with more
bombing, shelling and rocket fire.
Israeli war planes, helicopters and
ships continued to shell targets in Gaza. Medical sources there reported one
instance of at least eight Palestinians killed by an Israeli tank shell in the
Jabalya refugee camp.
And, Israel is warning Gaza residents of more
operations to come. The air force has dropped leaflets and the military has made
random calls to people in Gaza with a general warning of further
Palestinian journalist Mohammed Dawwass is in central Gaza
city and tells VOA he too received such a message.
"The Israeli army
called us last night saying they're going to continue on to Stage 3 [of the
offensive] and they're warning us - you'd better be away from Hamas members, you
should listen to the Israeli army orders and all this," he said.
says such random calls are not uncommon and when they come people pass the
message on to their families, friends and neighbors.
Gaza medical sources
say the Palestinian death toll from the Israeli offensive is now over 800 and
they estimate about half of these are civilians. Relief organizations have also
warned of a deepening humanitarian crisis as hospitals struggle to cope with the
wounded and food is increasingly hard to come by.
Mohammed Dawwass says
daily life has become a struggle to survive with little food, no electricity, no
reliable supply of water and the constant fear of bombing or shelling.
"Life is becoming more difficult every day it passes. Sometimes it's
impossible to get anything. The markets are closed. There is no life at all. If
you're going to buy something you have to search, you have to smuggle to get it,
you have to fight to get something to eat," said Dawwass.
its offensive December 27 in retaliation, it said, to increased Hamas rocket
attacks on southern Israel. The government says it will not stop until the
rocket fire stops and Hamas is unable to re-arm.
Hamas continues to fire
rockets into Israel. Neither side seems ready to stop hostilities despite a UN
resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire. Talks are under way in Cairo,
where Egypt is trying to broker a deal to end the fighting.