Day 11: 40 Palestinians killed in Israeli air strike, death toll nearly 600

An Israeli tank fired on a United Nations school on Tuesday morning killing 40 people and bringing the death toll in Gaza to nearly 600. Israel has widened its offensive, as tanks have moved into the second biggest city in the strip, Khan Younis.
gaza lead jan 6
Palestinians look at a destroyed house after an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip January 6, 2009. © Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

BEIRUT, January 6, 2008 (MENASSAT) - An Israeli tank fired on a United Nations school on Tuesday morning killing 40 people and bringing the death toll in Gaza to nearly 600.  Medical officials reported that all the dead in the UN-run school in Jabaliya refugee camp were either people taking shelter in the school or local residents.

According to eye-witnesses, the two Israeli tank shells exploded, spraying shrapnel on the people inside and outside the building. In addition to the dead, several dozen people were wounded, medical officials said. 

Some 2,700 Palestinians have been injured since the 11-day offensive began in Gaza.

In Gaza City, at least 12 members of the Daya extended family, including seven young children, were killed in an air strike on their house. Nine other people were believed to be trapped in the rubble.

Three young men were also killed in Gaza City when Israel bombed another UN school. They were among about 400 people who sought shelter there after fleeing their homes in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.

Tanks move into southern city Khan Younis

Israeli tanks have moved into the second biggest city in Gaza, Khan Younis, as heavy artillery fire was reported.

Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Gaza, Ayman Mohyeldin, has not confirmed the statements, as they are unable to reach the south from Gaza City. Israeli troops have split the Strip in two.

"There was very intense shelling overnight and people woke to the presence of ground forces in and around Khan Younis this morning," he said.

Haaretz reported tanks also moved in closer to Dir el Balah in central Gaza but were still several kilometers outside. Israel already has encircled Gaza City, the area's biggest city.

Meanwhile, the sixth Israeli soldier was killed this morning in Gaza City in the ground offensive, bringing the death toll of Israelis to nine, including three civilians hit by rockets. 

13,000 Palestinians flee their homes

13,000 Palestinians have been forced to flee northern Gaza, where the heaviest fighting has been taking place. Witnesses reported continuous bomb strikes, gunfire from helicopters and artillery from land and sea.
More than half of those displaced people are children, international organization Save the Children reported.

"Gaza, with a population of 1.51 million is one of the most densely populated strips of land in the world and many hundreds of homes are being hit by the air strikes, causing fear and anxiety amongst the thousands of civilians caught in the crossfire,” spokesperson Dominic Nutt said.   

"Many are seeking shelter away from areas that have been hit and are staying with relatives in over-crowded apartments. We are hearing of small apartments that have no water or electricity, which are now housing as many as 18 people.

"Given the extreme risk faced by anyone moving around the streets of Gaza at the moment, the figure cannot 100 per cent accurate," said Mr Nutt.

"But the information has been gathered by field workers based in all districts of Gaza. If anything it is likely to be a conservative estimate."

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