Fighting escalates as Gaza truce nears

January 15th, 2009 - 2:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Jerusalem, Jan.15 (ANI): Fighting escalated in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday as the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) tightened its grip on Gaza City, pushed deeper into the Shati refugee camp and killed close to 30 Hamas gunmen. The combat continued despite predictions in the defense establishment that a cease-fire would be implemented in the coming days, the Jerusalem Post reported. Senior officials in the defense establishment, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak, believe the military operations have exhausted themselves and that the time has come for a cease-fire.
It is still unclear whether Israeli forces will immediately withdraw from Gaza once a cease-fire is in place.
Egyptian and Palestinian officials were widely quoted as saying that IDF troops would remain in place for 10 days and until details on border security are worked out.
On Wednesday, Israel showed no signs of slowing its offensive, striking some 60 targets, including weapons caches, rocket launchers and some 25 smuggling tunnels. Wounded IDF soldiers are rushed into Soroka Hospital in Beersheba on Wednesday. Twenty-two soldiers were wounded. Six were lightly wounded in the northern Strip when a house collapsed on them. (ANI)

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