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Major battles reported on northern outskirts of Gaza City


A fierce battle between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters raged in the northern outskirts of Gaza City, just after midnight on Tuesday morning. The Israeli military confirmed to that a major face-to-face confrontation is taking place in the area, Al-Jazeera reported. Near constant explosions have been lighting up the sky over the northern Gaza Strip. The apparent battle took place as Israeli tanks and ground troops pushed deeper into the Gaza Strip on the tenth day of an offensive that has killed more than 530 Palestinians...

[50422]



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Major battles reported on northern outskirts of Gaza City

Ma'an news

Jan 5, 2009

Gaza/Jerusalem – Ma’an Exclusive – A fierce battle between Israeli forces and Palestinian fighters raged in the northern outskirts of Gaza City, just after midnight on Tuesday morning.

The Israeli military confirmed to that a major face-to-face confrontation is taking place in the area, Al-Jazeera reported. Near constant explosions have been lighting up the sky over the northern Gaza Strip.

The apparent battle took place as Israeli tanks and ground troops pushed deeper into the Gaza Strip on the tenth day of an offensive that has killed more than 530 Palestinians.

As night fell on Monday, Israeli troops had encircled Gaza City after approaching the metropolis from four directions, but appeared not to be invading the center of the city. Israeli warplanes continue to pound Gaza, including the city center from the air.

Also on Monday, Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai reiterated Israel’s rejection of a ceasefire. Speaking on Israeli television, inresponse to a question from the mayor of Ashkelon, he said he expected fighting to continue for another two weeks.

Roni Daniel, a military analyst with Israeli Channel Two said that Israeli forces are facing heavy fighting, and that contrary to statements from the military, the situation is extremely complex.

Daniel also added in his analysis that the main opposition to the invasion so far appears to have been from groups other than Hamas, including the Al-Aqsa Brigades, Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades, and others. He said Hamas may be saving its firepower for a later showdown with the Israeli army.

This assessment has been corroborated by statements send by the various Palestinian armed groups in Gaza. In the last two days, Hamas’ armed wing has said it took part in some of the fighting, but other groups have issued more statements claiming participation in the clashes.

In another development, Israel arrested a Palestinian journalist from Jerusalem, Khader Shaheen, a reporter for the Iranian news network Al-Alam, on charges of violating military rules prohibiting the dissemination of "secrets."

Israel has imposed tight restriction on the work of all journalists, banning reporters from entering Gaza and its surroundings.






:: Article nr. 50422 sent on 06-jan-2008 00:47 ECT

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Link: www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=34650



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