Israel increases pressure on Hamas with 60 airstrikes overnight

January 14th, 2009 - 2:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv, Jan 14 (DPA) Israel appeared Wednesday to be increasing its pressure on Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip, as its air force attacked 60 targets in the salient overnight, bringing to 160 the number of airstrikes carried out in the past 24 hours.A military spokesman said early Wednesday morning that the latest targets attacked included police headquarters in Gaza City, rocket launching sites, nine arms depots and 35 smuggling tunnels running under the Gaza-Egyptian border, which Israel believes are used to bring weapons into the salient.

Aircraft also gave air support to troops on the ground, the spokesman said.

Israel launched its Operation Cast Lead against Palestinian militants, led by Hamas, in the Gaza Strip Dec 27, following massive rocket bombardments from the salient on southern Israel.

In the 19 days of the Israel operation, some 947 Palestinians have been killed, and more than 4,300 injured, Mo’aweya Hassanein, the chief of emergency services in Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry, said.

He said two-thirds of the dead were civilians, a number which could not be independently verified.

Israel says more than 400 militants are among the dead. Thirteen Israelis have also been killed, three of them civilians.

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