Gaza war, the death toll grows; 150 Palestinians imprisoned and stripped naked
Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - With the death of a family of six people - including a five and a three year old child- the death toll on the Palestinian side has risen to 718, since Israel launched its raid on the Gaza Strip and has launched its ground operations. According to Palestinian sources, half of the victims are the result of the land invasion and more than 80% of the dead are civilians.
On the Israeli side, the army announced that 32 soldiers and three civilians have been killed. The civilian casualties include a Thai who worked in a garden centre near the border with the Gaza Strip. Narakorn Kittiyongkul, was one of thousands of Thai working on farms and kibbutzim near the border. The Embassy of Thailand in Israel demanded that their safety be guaranteed even transferring them to 10-20 km from the border.
There was a brief lull in fighting yesterday on the ground to allow ambulances to recover
the injured. A spokeswoman for the
International Red Cross said
that seven ambulances entered Shejaya; nine
another Beit Hanun.
In Gaza, hundreds of people, mostly women and children, took refuge in the Orthodox Church of Saint Porphyrius to shelter from the violence around them.
Overnight, the Givati Brigade arrested 150 Palestinians in the Rafah area. According to some officials, the Palestinians were taken from their homes and did not resist. Many of them are still being held for interrogation.
Photos have spread online of prisoners kneeling in a long line, stripped naked, wearing only their undergarments (see photo). Many post comments to point out that this humiliation is an offense to human rights. Others point out that the prisoners might be terrorists and aution must be taken to ensure they are not wearing explosive belts.
Meanwhile, U.S. Air Force federal authorities have
the lifted the ban on flights to and from Tel Aviv. The
Ben Gurion website confirms a
return to normal procedures, but many flights have been canceled.
While the international community presses for a cease-fire, Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal from his residence in Doha (Qatar), has refused any negotiation that does not include the end of the blockade of the Gaza Strip, in place for eight years.
Last night, a spokesman for the UN secretary general, complained that some schools run by the international organization in the Gaza Strip have been used to store weapons, "transforming schools into potential military targets and endangering the lives of innocent children," UN employees and all those who seek refuge in these buildings.