Moving into the ninth day of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip, the death toll has surpassed 500 according to medics. Yesterday’s invasion sparked a new round a fighting, and claims of killed combatants on both sides. The first casualties in the invasion however came when an Israeli tank attacked a house full of Palestinian children in eastern Gaza City, killing one and injuring 11 others. All told at least 31 additional civilians were killed yesterday.
The thousands of advancing soldiers have cut the tiny strip virtually in half, and the forces are now massing along the outskirts of Gaza City, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Heavy fighting is still reported and Major General Amod Yadlin’s claims that Hamas is using mosques to store ammunition suggests that the Israeli strategy of attacking religious sites in the strip will continue as the operation moves forward.
Still, while Defense Minister Ehud Barak insists that the Israeli invasion won’t be short, the government continues to insist that it has no intention of occupying the Gaza Strip. As officials also claim that regime change isn’t their goal either, the purpose of the onslaught remains nebulous and it seems increasingly likely that there is no real exit strategy for this invasion.