Israel Steps Up Air Strikes, Starts Shelling in Gaza Escalation

Hamas Reports Brief Clashes With Ground Forces

Just because Israel is running out of things to bomb in the Gaza Strip doesn’t mean the air barrage will quiet down in anticipation of the ground invasion. Rather today the Israeli Air Force has stepped up its bombings across Northern Gaza, and the military has also begun to shell the densely populated Gaza City with artillery. There was no immediate report of the number of casualties caused in the attacks.

UN humanitarian coordinator Maxwell Gaylard declared a “critical emergency” in the strip, adding that “by any definition this is a humanitarian crisis and more” in a tiny enclave where 80 percent of the population relies on international food aid to survive. Israel has repeatedly denied that there is an humanitarian crisis in the strip, and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni declared the situation in Gaza “completely as it should be.”

But while the formal ground invasion hasn’t yet begun in earnest, a Hamas spokesman reported a brief clash with a small number of Israeli soldiers attempting to infiltrate into Gaza City. Such reports have appeared throughout the week-long war, but in the absence of confirmation from journalists, which Israel has formally banned from the strip, they are regarded somewhat dubiously.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.