Tuesday, October 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Gaza dead tops 85 as Israel presses its offensive

By
From page A13 | July 11, 2014 |

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — The Al Haj family never heard it coming: An Israeli missile smashed into their home in the middle of the night, destroying the structure and killing eight relatives in a matter of seconds. A survivor said all the dead were civilians.

As Israel intensified its bombardment Thursday of the Gaza Strip in an offensive against the Hamas militant group, with more than 900 targets attacked so far, it said it was doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties in the crowded urban landscape. The risk of more civilian deaths will remain high, especially if Israel moves in with ground forces.

More than 85 people have been killed, including dozens of civilians, and over 300 wounded since the offensive began Tuesday, Palestinian medical officials said.

Undeterred, Hamas militants have fired hundreds of rockets into Israel, including salvos Thursday at the country’s two largest cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, that were intercepted by the rocket-defense system known as the Iron Dome.

At an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed deep concern about the threats to civilians in Israel and Gaza as he urged an immediate cease-fire.

“It is unacceptable for citizens on both sides to permanently live in fear of the next aerial attack,” Ban said. “My paramount concern is the safety and well-being of all civilians, no matter where they are.”

Ban condemned the “indiscriminate” rocket fire at Israel. “But I am also concerned at the many Palestinian deaths and injuries as a result of Israeli operations,” he said. “Once again, Palestinian civilians are caught between Hamas’ irresponsibility and Israel’s tough response.”

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor, pulled out a cellphone during the meeting and played a recording of an air-raid siren as he described the difficult circumstances of people living within rocket range. His Palestinian counterpart, Riyad Mansour, decried the Israeli “barrage of death, destruction and terror.”

Ban has been a key player in diplomatic efforts to halt the hostilities. Egypt, historically a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, has said it is in touch with both sides, while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is trying to stem the surging violence.

Neither side has shown much interest in halting the fighting. With rockets continuing to fly, Israel has been massing forces along the Gaza border in preparation for a possible ground invasion.

“So far the campaign is going as planned,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement broadcast on national television. “But we are expecting more stages later. So far we have severely hit Hamas and other terrorists and we will deepen the strike against them as long as the campaign continues.”

He said Israel was making “every effort” to avoid harming civilians and accused Hamas of endangering the Palestinian public by “hiding behind Palestinian civilians.”

Residents in the crowded Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza were at a loss to explain why the Al Haj family home was targeted in the attack just before 2 a.m. Thursday. The blast killed Mahmoud Al Haj, his wife, Basmah, and six of their children.

Yasser Al Haj, who was not at home in the refugee camp, was the only relative to survive.

“I want to see my family,” he wailed. “Where is the house? Where is my family?”

Neighbor Iyad Hamad decried the deaths of “children, women and old people.”

“There can’t be more oppression than this in the world,” he said. “Can’t they see what is happening to the people here?”

It was not clear who was the target of the airstrike, or whether the family had been warned.

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said the incident was under investigation.

Israel has been taking precautions to protect civilians. He said when Israel identifies a home used by Hamas as a “command and control center,” it calls the inhabitants and orders them to leave. It then fires a “non-explosive munition” at the roof as a warning and looks for people to leave. Only then does it destroy the structure.

But he said if a militant is actively using a house to carry out attacks, he becomes a legitimate target. “If you use civilian premises to perpetrate attacks, you are putting yourself and the people around you in a state of danger,” Lerner said.

Israel says Hamas intentionally uses civilian areas, including homes, mosques and schools, for cover during fighting. “Hamas … intentionally embeds itself in civilian populations,” Lerner said.

A number of the nearly 30 women and children to die in the offensive are believed to have been killed along with relatives who were targeted by Israel.

Israel uses electronic surveillance, a network of informants and other techniques to keep tabs on wanted militants in Gaza. It has a long history of killing senior militants in airstrikes. But mistakes can happen.

Robbie Sabel, a former legal adviser for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, said international laws of war prohibit deliberate targeting of civilians, but take into account that civilians may be hit in attacks on military targets as long as the response is “proportionate.” Beyond the legal issues, however, is the matter of public perception.

“The moment you see a picture in The New York Times of an injured child, it’s horrific. And there’s no way you can come up with a legal explanation that will help us,” he said.

The number of civilian casualties is sure to rise if Israel decides to launch a ground invasion. During a ground incursion in early 2009, hundreds of civilians were killed. Israel accused Hamas of putting people in harm’s way, but the heavy death toll drew war crimes accusations against Israel in a U.N. report.

The report also accused Hamas of committing war crimes by firing indiscriminately at Israeli population centers. The current wave of rocket fire has placed an estimated 5 million Israelis in range, disrupting life across the country.

The Iron Dome defense system has intercepted more than 100 of the projectiles destined for major cities. The system is designed to shoot down rockets headed toward populated areas, while allowing others to fall where they can do no harm.

In southern Israel, the area hit hardest by the rockets, people have been ordered to stay within close range of shelter. Summer camps have been canceled, motorists have been forced to jump out of their cars, and high school students took their final exams in bomb shelters. Many people are using a smartphone application that alerts them to incoming rockets when they can’t hear air-raid sirens.

Lian Assayag had planned a big wedding in the southern city of Ashkelon. But her special day was dashed due to the rocket fire. She decided instead to get married Thursday night inside a bomb shelter at a synagogue in nearby Ashdod.

“I have mixed feelings. Everything got messed up,” she told Channel 10 TV. “It’ll be OK.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5, 10 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5 | Gallery

PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Police Department hosts employee recognition event

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5

.

US / World

Police say they might have spotted ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta dies at 82

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Yosemite proposes raising entrance, camping fees

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

 
CDC releases revised Ebola gear guidelines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Clinton: Midterm elections should motivate women

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Surfer fends off shark attack with fist, board

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WWII airman to be buried in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Brown: California needs long-term vision on water

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 3 Comments

Colorado proposes edible pot ban, then retreats

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

 
Submarine hunt sends Cold War chill across Baltic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Oscar Pistorius to finally learn his sentence

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Youths, tech workers duel over San Francisco field

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Suspect in Va. abduction charged in DC area rape

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Lacking a plan, Abbas opts for rhetoric

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Police: Indiana suspect hints at more killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Turkey says it helps Kurdish fighters enter Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Nigeria declared Ebola-free; ‘spectacular success’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Urgent-care clinics ill-equipped to treat Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
GOP governors don’t see ‘Obamacare’ going away

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

British royal couples’ 2nd child due in April

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Opinion

Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
.

Entertainment

Yearwood, Santana to perform at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Standing ovation at Met Opera despite protest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Still the Same: Bob Seger launching tour, album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
San Francisco radio stations ban hit song ‘Royals’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Pitbull to host American Music Awards on Nov. 23

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ actor arrested in Idaho

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

NBC’s Snyderman faces credibility issues

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Not so fast cordcutters – cable’s not going anywhere

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
.

Sports

Local Report: Armijo boys soccer team falls to Vintage

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Steelers rally past stunned Texans 30-23

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Bumgarner against Shields in World Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Champion drag racer Raymond Beadle dies at 70

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Stiviano lawsuit against Shelly Sterling dismissed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

With TD mark in bag, Manning can set more records

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Giants-Royals: A capsule look at World Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Belichick, Brady praise Manning on TD record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Penn State board to meet on disputed Freeh Report

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
McIlroy to skip 2 events to focus on lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Column: Keselowski marches to his own beat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Wanted: Cities interested in hosting 2024 Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Giants rely on core of 4 relievers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Royals, fans bond over improbable postseason run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Voynov suspended on domestic violence suspicion

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Business

Facebook sues law firms, claims fraud

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Apple reports record 39.3 million iPhone sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

US regulator: Fannie, Freddie in deal with banks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sears plans to raise more cash via rights offering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Survey: Pay raises rarer despite strong US hiring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

 
US agency warns car owners to get air bags fixed

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6