Death Toll Continues to Climb
TEL AVIV – INTERNATIONAL NEWS – The single deadliest day in Israel’s Gaza offensive came Sunday. Israeli forces shelled the Gaza neighbourhood on Shejaia where military spokesmen said militants had been been firing rockets. About 100 Palestinians were killed.
Thirteen Israeli soldiers also died. Army sources said seven were in an armoured vehicle hit by anti-tank fire.
United nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is condemning the bloodshed. “I condemn this atrocious action. Israel must exercise maximum restraint and do far more to protect civilians.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared three days of mourning for what he’s calling a massacre and demanded international action. “The U.N Security Council’s failure to take a decision to stop the aggression and massacres of our Palestinian people doesn’t free it from its responsibilities.” charged President Abbas.
Claims that Israeli Soldier Captured
Cries of celebration and fireworks in Gaza Sunday evening after Hamas claimed to have captured an Israeli soldier. The Israeli military says it is investigating the claim made in a Hamas television broadcast. Israeli TV stations ignored the report in their extensive evening programming about the offensive.
A Hamas spokesman identified the captive soldier by name and ID tag number, but provided no other evidence of the capture.
If Hamas’ claim is true, the Israeli soldier would be the first held captive in Gaza since 2011. That was the year Israel released about a thousand Palestinian prisoners to free the Israeli soldier whom they had held for more than five years.
Canadians Offered Help to Get Out
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular) have issued the following statement:
“Canada condemns in the strongest terms Hamas’s shameful decision to continue its cowardly and indiscriminate violence that has today cost the lives of 13 soldiers. Yet another breach of a ceasefire by Hamas in Shuja’iya confirms that it has no interest in peace. Hamas’s continued aggression, combined with cowardly tactics that endanger civilians, has resulted in the tragic deaths of approximately another 87 Palestinians. Innocent civilians living in Gaza deserve far better than the reckless actions of this terrorist organization.
“We reiterate our support for the Government of Egypt in its efforts to attempt brokering this ceasefire. Egypt is still the best-placed country in the region to help end the current hostilities.
“Today, our consular officials, supported by members of our Standing Rapid Deployment Team, successfully assisted a second wave of 26 Canadian citizens and accompanying family members in safely travelling from Gaza to Jordan.
“Canadian consular officials in Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Amman have been working closely with our allies and partners to ensure that all necessary approvals for this operation were secured and that Canadians wishing to leave Gaza were able to do so safely.
“As the situation in Gaza continues to escalate, the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular assistance is becoming increasingly limited.”
FILES: DAILY MOTION / REUTERS