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Latest on the Israeli ground offensive

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-01-07

Israeli ground troops began moving into the Gaza Strip on Saturday shortly before 7:30 pm Paris time (GMT+1). Keep track of the unfolding operations with the timeline below.

Ask FRANCE 24 correspondents reporting on the conflict your questions


All times are Paris time (GMT+1)

Wednesday, January 7

 

00:13 am: Israel will open a "humanitarian corridor" into Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office says Israel will open a "humanitarian corridor" into Gaza to allow aid to pass. Israeli security officials made the proposition, which would entail temporarily opening up certain areas to allow Gaza residents to stock up on vital goods.

 

 

Tuesday, January 6

4:30 pm: The United States signals it wants “an immediate ceasefire” in Gaza.

On the 11th day of the Israeli offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack on Tuesday reiterated that the condition for an immediate ceasefire was that it should be "durable, sustainable and not time-limited".
 

3:30 pm: 40 die in attack on UN school, Palestinian medical sources say.

At least 40 people were killed when Israeli heavy fire came down on a UN school inside the Gaza Strip according to medical sources. Most of the dead were civilians sheltering from the raging conflict.
 

2:14 pm: At least 12 members of the same family killed in Gaza

Medics and witnesses reported the deaths of 12 family members - including seven children, all aged under 12 years old - following an airstrike on their home in Gaza City.
 

2:05 pm: Sarkozy back in Egypt

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was due to finish his whirlwind tour of the Middle East today but is making an unexpected return to Egypt on Tuesday.

1:30 pm: Ban on media remains

Journalists are still not being alllowed in to report on the conflict in the Gaza Strip, despite protestations from the FPA (Foreign Press Authority), as Israeli forces are not prepared to defend them. Danny Seaman, head of the Government Press Office, said: "No reporters are allowed into Gaza because our soldiers will not sacrifice their lives to protect them." He added that reporters were 'spoiled.'
 
12:40 pm: Sarkozy puts pressure on Syria to bring peace back to the Gaza Strip
 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked Syria, an ally of Hamas, to help secure a truce between the militant group and israel. Meanwhile, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister, blasted Israel's campaign in the Gaza Strip as "savagery".
 
12:35pm: Red Cross speaks of 'full blown' humanitarian crisis
 
The international Red Cross has expressed its concern at the crisis developing in Gaza, as increasing numbers of civilians suffer the fallout. Electricity supplies are failing and hospitals are full to breaking point. "There is no doubt in my mind that we are dealing with a full blown and major crisis in humanitarian terms," said Pierre Kraehenbuehl, the director of operations for the International Commitee of the Red Cross.
 
11:05 am: Gaza is 'hell' says Blair
 
Tony Blair described the situation in the Gaza Strip as 'hell.' The Middle East Quartet envoy has said that cutting off Gaza's tunnels from Egypt could be the only way to achieve a ceasefire.
 
10:05 am: Israeli airstrike kills five Palstinians sheltering in two UN schools, according to medical sources.

An Israeli airstrike killed five Palestinians in two United Nations schools in the Gaza Strip, according to medical workers and UN officials.  Palestinians had gathered there to seek refuge from the bombing campaign.
 
10:00 am: Israeli officer killed
 
The Israeli army says a paratroop officer was killed in clashes with Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip.
 
9:27 am: Deepest rocket yet for Hamas
 
The militant group launched its deepest rocket yet, 45km from the Gaza Strip border, hitting just near to the Israeli town of Gedera. A baby was injured, said an Israeli army spokesman.
 
08:02 am: 130 Hamas fighters killed since start of Israeli campaign
 
in an unsubstantiated claim, the Israeli army says it has killed 130 Hamas fighters since the start of the offensive.
 
06:07 am: Medical sources say 10 Palestinians killed by naval fire
 
Medical sources said firing from Israeli naval ships killed 10 Palestinians in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah. Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, witnesses told the AFP news agency that Israeli tanks and helicopters moved into the southern town of Khan Younis before dawn and were met by retaliatory fire from Gaza-based militants. An Israeli spokesman said: "We don't have any information on that."
 
04:30 am: Hamas remains strong

As both northern Gaza and Gaza city battled without electricity; clashes continued between Hamas and Israeli fighters. "We imagine that Hamas has been seriously weakened after 10 days of combat," reports Lucas Menget, FRANCE 24 correspondent at the Israeli-Gaza border. "But on Monday, 30 rockets were fired into Israel, which shows that Hamas is more than capable of fighting back."
 
04:20 am: Israeli tank fire kills five Palestinians

Medics and witnesses reported Israeli tank fire that left five Palestinians dead in the central Gaza Strip town of Deir al-Balah.
 
03:33 am: Olmert spurns truce
 
Though 100 children have died and the number of wounded continues to rise to over 2,700, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the offensive will continue, reported AFP.
 
02:19 am: Israelis accidentally killed by their own fire

Three soldiers from the IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) Golani Brigade were killed and at least 24 others wounded after a tank shell explosion was fired in error in northern Gaza, an army spokesman confirmed.
 
00:33 am: Israeli Prime Minister rejects French calls for a ceasefire

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has rejected calls for a ceasefire by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "The results of the [Gaza] operation must be ... that Hamas must not only stop firing but must no longer be able to fire," AFP quotes Olmert as telling Sarkozy.

Fighting in Gaza escalated early on Tuesday as the UN Security Council prepared to hold a ministerial meeting later in the day to discuss Arab delegation calls for an end to the Israeli offensive and a halt to the firing of missiles into Israel from Gaza.

 
 
Read previous posts on the Israeli ground offensive


 

 

Fighting in the Gaza Strip. Footage by Gaza-based Ramattan news agency.

 

Date created : 2009-01-06