Belfast Telegraph
January 14, 2009

Israeli forces said they had pushed deeper into Gaza City amid heavy fighting, with some units within a mile of the densely populated urban centre. Terrified residents were said to be fleeing from many homes which had been set alight.

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At least three Palestinians in Gaza were shot dead yesterday after Israeli soldiers fired on a group of residents leaving their homes on orders from the military and waving white flags, according to testimony taken by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The testimony was rejected by the military after what it said was a preliminary investigation.

The thrust by Israeli ground forces into Tel Hawwa was the furthest the Israelis had gone into Gaza City since military operations were launched on 27 December. Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, declared that he would press forward with an “iron fist”. While his government in Jerusalem is claiming that Hamas’s military capabilities have been severely damaged, its senior intelligence sources have revealed that only a “few hundred” of the movement’s 20,000 men have been killed, including several of its key leaders. The officials also stated that Hamas still had significant supplies of rockets left in their arsenal despite firing several hundred of them into Israel since military operations began.

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