Big News Network
January 17, 2009

In a last minute onslaught, the Israeli army has unleashed a savage crescendo to its three-week long military offensive in Gaza.

With a ceasefire looming, which could come as early as Saturday, the Israel army was going all-out to inflict as much damage as it could before hostilities end.

At least ninety targets have been hit by Israel Air Force aircraft bombing campaigns in less than twenty four hours, 40 on Friday afternoon, and fifty in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The ground offensive has also continued unabated. Commanders in the field say they have no instructions to hold back or slow down the attacks.

Palestinian militants fired five rockets from Gaza into southern Israel on Saturday morning with one reportedly hitting a synagogue in a community in the Merhavim Regional Council.

The building was empty at the time due to a break in morning prayers. There were no injuries but two people were treated for shock. Heavy damage to the structure was reported.

The other four rockets landed in open areas near Ofakim, Netivot, and the Eshkol Regional Council, causing no casualties or damage, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Palestinian medical workers told Haaretz newspaper an Israeli tank shell killed six people near a UN school in Gaza early Saturday morning.

Dr. Moaiya Hassanain says a woman and boy were among those killed and 25 were wounded when an Israeli tank shell landed near a UN school for boys.

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Israel Air Force warplanes returned to the attack on the Gaza Strip before first light on Saturday, said the Haaretz report. Ending a night of sporadic gunfire, the roar of jet aircraft around 5:00 A.M. (was followed by heavy explosions flashing over points to the south and north of the city of Gaza.

The air force confirmed 50 targets here hit.

Palestinian sources said a 14-year-old was killed and several other people were wounded during an air raid attack on the Shabura refugee camp in southern Gaza. Three militants were also killed in the air force attacks, medics told Haaretz.

The strikes came a day after the air force assassinated Hamas Interior Minister and members of his family.

Ynet news says a mother and her five children were killed in a strike at the al-Bureij refugee camp, and a man and his son were killed in the Khan Younis area.

The Palestinians also reported that a 27-year-old man was killed as a missile struck the motorcycle he was riding on. Six other people who were around him were also killed. Four residents, including three members of one family, were killed in a strike in Rafah, said the Ynet report.

A six-year-old girl was killed by a tank shell in Jabalya. Meantime fifteen bodies of civilians killed in Israel Air Force strikes on Thursday were found under the rubble of buildings in the neighborhood of Tal al-Hawa.

Ynet news said a shell fired by a tank in the Jabalya area killed three daughters of a doctor who has worked at an Israeli hospital for several years. Two other daughters of Dr. Ezzeldeen, whose wife died of leukemia some months ago, were seriously injured and have been evacuated to the Barzilai and Sheba medical centers in Israel. The doctor’s brother and two children were also killed in the strike.

Dr. Abu al-Aish is a fertility expert who has been working at the Sheba Medical Center researching the treatment of children at the Gertner Institute, said Ynet. He also worked at the Soroka Medical Center for many years.

Many of the doctor’s acquaintances, including reporters, human rights activists and physicians who have worked with him , arrived at the hospital immediately after the incidents.

Dr. Abu al-Aish was quoted by Yney as saying, “I had three beautiful daughters who loved to help people. They were soldiers of peace.”

“I hope this is the end. If this death satisfies the leadership, my children should be the last to die,” he told colleagues at the hospital.

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