Palestinian Death Toll Reaches 900, Aid Resumes in Gaza
The death toll in Gaza has risen to 900, according to medical officials in the strip. They said that number includes at least 380 civilians. Israel stated that three Israeli civilians and 10 soldiers have died in a conflict that began 17 days ago.
Medical officials said the Palestinian death toll in the offensive Israel began 17 days ago had risen past 900 and included at least 380 civilians. Israel says three Israeli civilians, hit by Hamas rockets, and 10 soldiers have died.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Defence Ministry is appealing a supreme court ruling which banned the use of palestinians as human shields in raids.
Defence minister Shaul Mofaz will be making a personal appearance in court to defend the practice, which was banned in 2002 after a civilian was killed during forced negotiations with a militant.
The court ruled out both the placing of civilians in front of soldiers on operations and an "early warning" procedure employed by the army.
In this practice, the Israeli army would force local Palestinians to approach the homes of militants and ask them to surrender.
In President George W. Bush's final press conference before leaving office next week, he renewed his support for Israel's operations in Gaza. Bush said Israel should try to prevent civilian casaulties but laid the blame for the violence on Hamas.
President George W. Bush on Monday renewed his support for Israel's military operations in Gaza, saying it has the right to defend its citizens from Hamas rocket attacks. But he also called for a lasting cease-fire that includes the disarming of militants.
While aid efforts restarted today in Gaza, activists with medical supplies are attempting to said for Gaza, despite heavy security and an Israeli naval blocked.
Activists with medical supplies set sail for Gaza from Cyprus on Monday in defiance of the naval blockade Israel tightened on the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave after it began its Gaza offensive 17 days ago.
Aid agencies said Monday they have resumed relief operations in Gaza, but fighting still prevented them from reaching all the people who urgently need help and evacuating the sickest out of Gaza.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or UNWRA, brought food and other aid to around 10,000 people on Sunday, said spokesman Johan Eriksson. But the situation for civilians is "extremely dire," he said.
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