Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:52 PM   0 comments links to this post

Israel prepares ground offensive

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip | Israel sent more troops to the Gaza border Wednesday, rapidly moving forward with preparations for a ground offensive, perhaps the next stage of its assault on the territory’s Hamas rulers.

Israel rebuffed calls by world leaders for a truce, and Hamas also was cold to a cease-fire. Instead, both intensified their fire.

Israel bombed a mosque that it said was used to store rockets and also bombed smuggling tunnels along the Egyptian border. The Islamic militants hammered southern Israeli cities with about 60 rockets.

Israeli troops trudged between dozens of tanks in muddy, rain-sodden fields outside Gaza, assembling equipment, cleaning weapons and scrubbing out tank barrels. Their commanders moved forward with preparations for a ground operation, said an Israeli defense official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the information.


You can read the rest of this report at this link:Preperation

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:41 PM   1 comments links to this post

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israel posts video of Gaza air strikes on YouTube

The Israeli military has launched its own channel on video-sharing website YouTube, posting footage of air strikes and other attacks on Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.


You can view their YouTube Channel by following this link:
Videos


The spokesman's office of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it created the channel -- youtube.com/user/idfnadesk -- on Monday to "help us bring our message to the world."
The channel currently has more than 2,600 subscribers and hosts 10 videos, some of which have been viewed more than 26,000 times.

The black-and-white videos include aerial footage of Israeli Air Force attacks on what are described as rocket launching sites, weapons storage facilities, a Hamas government complex and smuggling tunnels.

One video shows what is described as a Hamas patrol boat being destroyed by a rocket fired from an Israeli naval vessel.

The IDF spokesman's office said that some of the videos it had posted to the channel had been removed by YouTube but were later reinstated.

"We were saddened earlier today that YouTube took down some of our exclusive footage showing the IDF's operational success in operation Cast Lead against Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip," the IDF spokesman's office said.

"Fortunately, due to blogger and viewer support, YouTube has returned some of the footage they removed," it added.

YouTube, as a matter of policy, does not comment on individual videos.
Four days of intensive Israeli bombardment have killed several senior Hamas officials and reduced much of the Islamist movement's infrastructure in Gaza to rubble, but have failed to stop rocket fire into Israel.

Since the massive aerial attack was unleashed on Saturday, at least 373 Palestinians, including 39 children, have been killed and 1,720 wounded, according to Gaza medics.
Palestinian militants have also fired more than 250 rockets and mortar shells, killing four people inside Israel and wounding around two dozen more.


You can read the original story at this link:
YouTube

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:23 PM   0 comments links to this post

Goldfish survives 13 hours out of water





























How long can a goldfish survive out of water? I would guess just a few minutes but I just read a story that claims a goldfish survived for 13 hours!

Here is the story:

GLOUCESTER, England, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- An Englishwoman says she was shocked when her goldfish survived at least 13 hours out of water.

Barbara Woodward, 61, of Gloucester said she spotted her goldfish, which had last been seen in its tank at 11 p.m. the previous night, at 7 a.m. on the floor behind a chest in her home, The Sun reported Monday.

Woodward said she had trouble moving the chest and left the fish, named Ginger, where it was because she assumed it was dead.

However, she said she was shocked when she returned home at 8 p.m. to find Ginger alive and flapping around on the floor.

"I can't believe it. He looked lifeless and I had planned on burying him. It's a real Christmas miracle," she said.

A Gloucester veterinarian said goldfish usually die with minutes of leaving the water as they cannot breathe air.

You can read the original story at this link: Goldfish

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:21 AM   0 comments links to this post

Israel Will Launch Ground Attack

The question many people are asking is this, will Israel launch a ground attack into Gaza? Many people are saying yes so this brings about a second question, when will the attack occur? I believe there will be a ground attack and it will occur before January 20, 2009.

I offer the following as support for my claim:

The following was found at UPI.com:

But Israel is operating within very clear time constraints. U.S. President George W. Bush remains strongly sympathetic to it and so far has made no real effort to rein the Israelis in. But on Jan. 20 Bush will hand over power to President-elect Barack Obama, who is far more likely to force the Israelis to halt military operations if they are still engaging in them.

You can read the entire report at this link: Ground


More to come...

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:09 AM   0 comments links to this post

Israeli PM Olmert may send army to topple Hamas in Gaza

WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Israel stepped up its bombing campaign against major Hamas centers in Gaza Tuesday as prospects grew that heavy ground forces might be sent in to topple the extreme Islamist regime there.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described the intense air bombardment -- the heaviest Israel has taken against any targets in Gaza since the 1967 Six Day War 41 years ago, as only "the first of several stages" of military action. That raised the possibility that the Israelis might send in heavy ground forces to complete the job of either wiping out Hamas or forcing its cadres to flee Gaza, where they violently seized power in 2007.

"The government is determined to remove the threat of fire on the south. Therefore the Israeli army must not stop the operation before breaking the will of Palestinians, of Hamas, to continue to fire at Israel," Olmert said Tuesday at a discussion with Israeli President Shimon Peres.
According to U.N. estimates, 290 Hamas officials or troops and another 60 civilians have been killed so far. The Israelis continued to target Hamas installations including an office complex. The Israeli navy massed warships to cut off Gaza from the sea. Reports said electric power had been lost in Gaza, where 1.4 million people live.

Hamas fired another 10 rockets into Israel injuring one person in the development town of Sderot, which has been targeted by Hamas rockets over the past year and a half.
Israeli Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said on Israel Radio Tuesday: "There is no room for a cease-fire."

The Israeli airstrikes entered their fourth day with no indication that they were either decreasing in intensity or would stop soon. It remained unclear -- apparently as a deliberate act of Israeli policy -- whether Israel would limit itself to airstrikes or would escalate to a full-scale ground invasion.

Israel too would suffer significant military casualties in any major ground operations to oust Hamas from control of the Gaza Strip, one of the most densely populated urban enclaves on Earth. However, the Israeli army has had more successful experience of urban war than any other army in the world in recent decades.


You can read the entire report at this link: Army

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:06 AM   0 comments links to this post

World News Update






Good morning everyone,

It is 8:50AM Central Time and here is the latest world news.

When I awoke this morning the first story to catch my eye was:

Pakistan closes US supply route to hit militants

Pakistan closed the main route used to ferry supplies to U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan on Tuesday after launching a fresh offensive against militants in the area.

The road through the Khyber Pass in the northwest of Pakistan has come under increasing attacks by militants seeking to squeeze Western forces fighting a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan in recent months.

U.S. and NATO soldiers in landlocked Afghanistan rely on the winding, mountainous route for delivery of up to 75 percent of their fuel, food and other logistical goods, which arrive in Pakistan via the port city of Karachi.

American commanders insist the attacks are not disrupting their mission in Afghanistan, but they also say they are exploring new routes. They also say they have enough supplies to last many weeks in the case the routes are blocked.

Here is the link to the rest of the report: supply

How long with the supply route be blocked?

If it remains blocked, how will this effect the United States military operations in Afghanistan?


The next important story takes us to Somalia. The situation there continues to deteriorate:

40 die, 50 hurt in Somalia faction clashes

At least 40 Somalis have been killed and 50 others wounded in clashes between moderate and hard-line groups of Islamic fighters, observers said.

The violence came Monday in central Somalia, the BBC reported. Ten others were killed in factional fighting around Mogadishu in the wake of President Abdullahi Yusuf's decision this week to quit his post.

Observers said the violence in central Somalia is coming between a well-known Islamic militant group with alleged ties to al-Qaida called al-Shabab and a previously unknown group of more moderate Islamists called Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca. The latter group has declared a holy war on al-Shabab, blaming it for violence in the country, the BBC said.

You can read the rest of the report here: Somalia

Somalia remains on my list of countries to watch for 2009.


The next story is in the Democratic Republic of Congo:

Christmas massacres 'killed 400'

More than 400 people have been killed by Ugandan rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo in attacks since Christmas day, aid agency Caritas says.

The head of Caritas in DR Congo told the BBC some 20,000 people had fled to the mountains from the rebels, who have denied carrying out the attacks.

An eyewitness told the BBC that five people in Faradje had their lips cut off by Lord's Resistance Army fighters.

They were told that it was a warning not to speak ill of the rebels.
The armies of Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo carried out a joint offensive against the rebels in mid-December after LRA leader Joseph Kony again refused to sign a peace deal.

You can read the rest of this report at this link:
Congo


That ends this World News update. Check back often as we are always posting new things.

Have a great day.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:49 AM   0 comments links to this post

On fourth day of Gaza battle, no end in sight

Israel launched air strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza for a fourth consecutive day on Tuesday as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the bombardment "the first of several stages," suggesting that the conflict was far from resolution.

Israeli aircraft bombed a government compound, buildings linked to the Islamic University and the home of a top Hamas commander on Tuesday in a continued onslaught that left Gaza without electric power, according residents of the beleaguered enclave.

Gaza residents said Israeli warships in increasing numbers were visible from the enclave's Mediterranean shoreline, while Israeli tanks and troops massed on its land border. But despite the encirclement, Hamas militants remained defiant, launching 10 rockets into southern Israel on Tuesday. One hit an apartment house in the town of Sderot, injuring one person, witnesses said.

So far, more than 350 Palestinians - about 60 of them civilians - have been killed, according to the United Nations. Four Israelis - three civilians and a soldier - have died.

Israeli says its offensive, which began Saturday, is designed to neutralize the threat posed to southern Israel by Hamas rockets. As the air strikes continued Tuesday, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit told Israel Radio: "There is no room for a cease-fire."


Here is the link for the rest of the story: Gaza

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:41 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cholera deaths soar in Zimbabwe

With the situation in Israel being so serious it is easy to miss other important stories. Earlier today I reported on the number of cholera deaths in Zimbabwe. You can read my earlier post at this link:
Deaths


I want to come back to that story and provide more information and links:

Cholera deaths soar in Zimbabwe

The latest figures from the UN and Zimbabwe's health ministry reveal that two-thirds of the victims of the cholera outbreak have died this month.

The death toll at the end of last week stood at 1,564, with 29,131 suspected cases since August, the UN said.

Figures from the health ministry on 1 December put cholera deaths at 484.
The UN has warned it could take six months to control the outbreak that has been fuelled by the collapse of the health, sanitation and water services.


You can read the rest of this report at this link:
Zimbabwe


From my research I see that there are two stories here.

1. Cholera Outbreak

2. The country of Zimbabwe. It seems to me the country is falling apart!


The BBC did a great report about this very thing:

Cholera lays bare Zimbabwe's collapse

The country that was once the jewel in Africa's crown, able to feed itself, heal its sick and educate its people to the highest standards on the continent, is now in a pitiful state.

Harare's main hospitals are closed, doctors and nurses are striking over their meagre "Zim dollar" pay and the country's water and sanitation services are tearing at the seams.

Manhole covers in the streets haemorrhage water because underground pipes have burst.
For many Zimbabweans, shallow wells with filthy water are the only means of quenching their thirst, despite the high risk of becoming ill. The cholera crisis which has already claimed nearly 1,000 lives, is the most potent symbol yet of Zimbabwe's collapse.

A deadly cocktail of failed services has turned a treatable disease into a major public health threat.

Nine out of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces have reported cases of cholera.

Eighteen thousand people have been infected so far, according to official figures, but that could just be the tip of the iceberg, with the World Health Organization warning that infections could treble.

You can read the rest of this very important report at this link:
Collapse



The BBC also offers some great resources about the country of Zimbabwe.


Country profile: Zimbabwe

Timeline: Zimbabwe

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:50 PM   0 comments links to this post

Abbas blames Hamas for bloodshed

The following is being reported by Al Jazeera.net

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has blamed Hamas for triggering Israel's deadly raids on Gaza, by not extending a six-month truce with the Jewish state.

He also blamed Hamas, which controls the coastal Gaza Strip territory, for disrupting national unity talks that could have paved the way for general and presidential elections.

"We have warned of this grave danger," he said in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday.
"We talked to them [Hamas] and we told them, 'please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop", so that we could have avoided what happened."

However, Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said he was "surprised" by Abbas's claim.
"He downplayed the sufferings of our people in Gaza and belittled their pains, providing justification of the holocaust and war waged by Israel," he said.

Abbas, whose Fatah movement has been at loggerheads with Hamas, said maintaining the truce could have helped the Palestinians avoid the raids, which have so far killed more than 280 people over the past two days.

Nour Odeh, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Ramallah, reported that senior figures had supported Abbas in his call on Hamas not to abandon the truce.

She added that during an Israeli election year, a hardline position towards Palestinians has always won more seats, making the timing particularly risky for Hamas.

"Not just Abbas, but people close to the circles of decision-making in key Arab states, said that Hamas was warned that breaking the ceasefire or not keeping it would result in mayhem and bloodshed," she reported.

Ayman Mohyeldin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Gaza, said the stance at all levels of the Hamas leadership was the same: "They will remain defiant in the face of any attacks and that the movement is larger that an single assault or attack.

"That they were democratically elected by the Palestinian people, and only through the ballot box will they leave the political scene."

Hamas argues that Israel violated the truce by failing to ease its 18-month blockade on the Gaza Strip.

'Inaction'
Egypt's foreign minister has also blamed Hamas for preventing hundreds of wounded Palestinians from entering Egypt via the Rafah crossing for treatment - the only crossing that does not border Israel.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the wounded were "barred from crossing" and he blamed "those in control of Gaza" for putting the lives of the injured at risk.


You can read the rest of the report at this link: blame

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 9:37 PM   0 comments links to this post

Hamas is hoping for an IDF ground operation

Three days into Operation Cast Lead, Israel is proposing a diplomatic exit. A ground operation likely looms in an effort to increase the pressure on Hamas. At the same time, however, others argue that the air force is close to exhausting its target bank, so if Hamas can be brought to accept a cease-fire on terms convenient to Israel in the near future it would be better to do so.


Hamas intensified its rocket and mortar fire at Israel Monday. It is starting to recover from the initial shock of the assault, and the bad weather is helping to protect its launching crews from Israeli aircraft.

By 8 P.M., Hamas had fired more than 80 rockets and mortars at Israel, including a Grad Katyusha strike on Ashkelon that killed an Israeli construction worker and wounded 10 others.

At 9:30 P.M., a Katyusha hit Ashdod, seriously wounding another two civilians . The Home Front Command says some of the civilian casualties of the last few days could have been prevented had people obeyed its orders and entered shelters when they heard the warning sirens.

Israel has thus far refused to officially discuss a cease-fire, but in practice it is conducting an indirect and hesitant dialogue with Hamas. As of yet, however, there is no official mediator.


Khaled Meshal, the Damascus-based head of Hamas' political bureau, has been calling for a cease-fire for two days now. However, communications with the organization's leadership in Gaza are hampered because all its leaders have gone underground for fear of Israeli assassination attempts, while Israel's air strikes have disrupted the Strip's communications networks. Paradoxically, the same measures that have hampered Hamas' military response are also impeding efforts to end the fighting.

Israel will insist that any truce include a complete, long-term halt to the rocket fire from Gaza. In exchange, it will apparently agree to reopen the border crossings at some point, though no final decisions have been made. Some ministers want to continue the military operation, but Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Gabi Ashkenazi, are more cautious.

The diplomatic clock is ticking relatively slowly because both Europe and the United States are all but closed for Christmas and New Year's Day. Meshal has been trying to get the Arab League and Senegal, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, to push for a cease-fire. So far, international criticism of Israel has been relatively muted despite the many Palestinian casualties. Even in the Arab world, not everyone is crying over Hamas' losses.

The operation's goals, as defined by the cabinet, are "creating a different long-term security situation in the south, while bolstering Israel's deterrence." The IDF does not interpret this to mean a complete end to the rocket fire, as it considers this impossible. Rather, its goal is to eliminate Hamas' desire to attack Israel. The bombing campaign has so far dealt a severe blow to Hamas.

However, ground forces are already in place for the next phase. The Gazan mud will make it harder for tanks and armored personnel carriers to maneuver, and Hamas has clearly been preparing its defense for months. Thus any ground operation will entail many casualties, which is one of the government's considerations in deciding how the operation should proceed.


You can read the rest of the report at this link: Ground Attack

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:55 PM   0 comments links to this post

Preparing for a possible invasion

The combat vests are ready and the weapons are greased," the first soldier said.

"Our parents are phoning, but we just don't answer," said another.

On Sunday, soldiers from a wide range of units deployed outside the Gaza Strip. Tanks from the 7th Armored Brigade deployed not far from the northern end of the border as infantry from the Paratroop and Golani Brigades arrived at bases throughout the South ahead of a possible ground incursion.

Soldiers from Battalion 101 of the Paratroop Brigade said they were ready for an operation to begin.

"The soldiers don't show it, but they are scared," one officer said. "We're getting ready and believe that we're prepared for whatever we will face in Gaza."

On the northern edge of the border, soldiers from Battalion 75 of the 7th Armored Brigade were preparing their Merkava Mk 3 tanks. Tanks rolled down to the border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday, ready to go in.

One senior officer in the Ground Forces Command told The Jerusalem Post the tanks were being outfitted with extra equipment - including food and supplies - in case they were deployed inside Gaza for a lengthy period.

Defense officials said that while Hamas might have advanced anti-tank missiles, it would be more difficult for the terrorists group to use them effectively against Israeli tanks than it was for Hizbullah during the Second Lebanon War.

IDF assessments are that Hamas has smuggled into Gaza a significant amount of anti-tank missiles, including Russian-made models. There is also concern that Hamas has planted large bombs under main access roads into Gaza that it plans to detonate beneath Israeli armored vehicles.

"We're better prepared today than we were in 2006," one tank commander said. "This is what we've been training for."


Here is the link to the original story: invasion

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:49 PM   0 comments links to this post

Israel News Updates

Here are the latest news headlines about the situation in Israel:

Israeli air strikes kill 10 Palestinians in Gaza

Gaza Toll Rises Above 350 in Third Day

Three Israelis killed as Hamas launches revenge attacks

Israeli forces mass on Gaza border

Israeli forces prepare for possible invasion of Gaza

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:32 PM   0 comments links to this post

Israel Says Gaza Assault 'war to the Bitter End'

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:29 PM   0 comments links to this post

Consequences of the Israeli Attack
























Every action has a reaction or it could be said, for every action there will be consequences!

What are the consequences of the recent attacks by Israel?
I have compiled a number of links that show some of the consequences:

War on Gaza may cripple Israel economy


'Islamic states must cut Israeli ties'

'Turkey no longer mediating for Israel'

Israel-Syria talks put on hold

Jordan urged to expel Israeli Ambassador

Oil Prices Climb on Mideast Tensions

Palestinian negotiator says peace talks with Israel "suspended" Xinhua

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 3:47 PM   0 comments links to this post

US apocalypse in 2010





A former KGB analyst and Russian academic predicts a civil war in the United States which will lead to the eventual fall of the country.

Igor Panarin, doctor of political science and dean of the foreign affairs department at the Diplomacy Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry said while he does not dislike Americans, the outlook for them is gloomy.

He said he has based his forecast on classified data provided by analysts at the Federal Agency of Government Communications and Information (FAGCI). The Russian intelligence agency is one of the successors of KGB and an equivalent to the American National Security Agency (NSA).

Panarin believes that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war in the United States as early as the autumn of 2009.

The Russian scientist adds that the US will then break into six pieces in late June or early July 2010 -- with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

The Californian Republic, the Texas Republic, the Atlantic America -- consisting of Washington, DC, and New York --, the Central North American Republic - consisting of Canada and a group of Northern states - along with Hawaii are other five regions to be ruled by foreign powers.

His theory of the US demise was first introduced in 1998.

While Panarin's forecast seemed unrealistic at the time, the current global financial meltdown has lent credibility to his prediction.

"There's a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur," Panarin said.

The US administration has so far refused to comment on the grim forecast made by the Russian scientist.

"I am perplexed and therefore I think I will have to decline to comment," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said at a December news conference.

Here is the link to the original story: 2010


After reading this story I decided to do a little research and it appears that this story is beginning to get a lot of coverage. Here are some links to other reports:

Igor Panarin : US Will Break Into Six Parts (Russian Professor)


RUSSIAN ANALYST PREDICTS DECLINE AND BREAKUP OF USA


Russian Igor Panarin: America Will Break Up, Dissolve

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 3:27 PM   0 comments links to this post

NATO cash sponsoring Taliban







The video references an article published in the British newspaper, The Times. I did some searching and found the article:


Taleban tax: allied supply convoys pay their enemies for safe passage

The West is indirectly funding the insurgency in Afghanistan thanks to a system of payoffs to Taleban commanders who charge protection money to allow convoys of military supplies to reach Nato bases in the south of the country.

Contracts to supply British bases and those of other Western forces with fuel, supplies and equipment are held by multinational companies.

However, the business of moving supplies from the Pakistani port of Karachi to British, US and other military contingents in the country is largely subcontracted to local trucking companies. These must run the gauntlet of the increasingly dangerous roads south of Kabul in convoys protected by hired gunmen from Afghan security companies.

The Times has learnt that it is in the outsourcing of convoys that payoffs amounting to millions of pounds, including money from British taxpayers, are given to the Taleban.


You can read the entire article at this link:
Money

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 2:07 PM   0 comments links to this post

Palestinian death toll rises to 325

The toll of Palestinians killed by Israel's three-day bombing campaign in Gaza today rose to at least 325 as Israeli jets bombed a university's science laboratories and hit the interior ministry in a widening series of air strikes.

The Israeli defence minister, Ehud Barak - who has already said his government does not want another ceasefire with the Islamist Hamas movement - said his army was fighting a "war to the bitter end".

Israel declared the border area around Gaza a closed military zone which, together with preparations for a call-up of thousands of reservists, could suggest a large ground invasion is planned next. Barak said the military campaign would be "widened and deepened as needed".

The number of civilians killed in the fighting continued to rise. The UN Relief and Works Agency, which supports Palestinian refugees and has large programmes in Gaza, said it believed at least 57 civilians were among the dead, but described that as a conservative estimate.

The overall number of injured is thought to be as high as 1,400, although Gazan hospitals are so overcrowded and short of medicine and equipment that they are turning away all but the most seriously wounded.

The number of rockets fired from Gaza rose yesterday to at least 60, causing one Israeli fatality. Around 18 civilians in Israel have now been killed by rockets fired from Gaza in the past eight years.

"The continuing aim of the operation is to vastly decrease the capability of Hamas to launch rockets on Israeli civilians and to improve the long term security situation along Israel's border with Gaza," Captain Benjamin Rutland, an Israeli military spokesman, said.

When asked whether a ground invasion was planned, Rutland said the Israeli military had "a range of tools available to it", adding: "Anyone who is a member of Hamas, which is a terrorist organisation, is a legitimate target."


YOu can read the rest of the report at this link: 325

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 1:57 PM   0 comments links to this post

Amazon Wish List

You visit the Worldview blog and you realize just how much you love it. You are overcome with a desire to do something nice for the person who created this wonderful blog but you just don't know what to do. You no longer have to leave discouraged that you could not show your gratitude! I have created an Amazon wish list in which you can purchase any of the items listed and they will be shipped directly to me! If you look on the right hand side of the blog you will see my wish list. A few months ago I posted an article asking someone to send me a million dollars. For some strange reason no one has sent me a check yet. So, maybe the wish list will be more successful.

Have a great day and happy shopping

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 1:38 PM   0 comments links to this post

Zimbabwe cholera deaths pass 1,500








The number of cholera deaths in Zimbabwe continues to increase, a World Health Organization spokesman said Monday.

As of Sunday, the outbreak had killed 1,564 people, and 29,131 cases had been reported, Gregory Hartl told CNN. These figures represent increases from numbers released Thursday that showed 1,518 deaths and 26,497 cases.

The World Health Organization says the outbreak has affected all of the country's 10 provinces and has spread to neighboring South Africa. It is "closely linked to the lack of safe drinking water, poor sanitation, declining health infrastructure and reduced numbers of health care staff reporting to work."

The organization also says factors "include the commencement of the rainy season and the movement of people within the country, and possibly across borders, during the Christmas season."

Health experts have warned that the water-borne disease could infect more than 60,000 people unless its spread is halted.

Long wracked by political and economic turmoil, Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic and humanitarian crisis since its independence from Great Britain 28 years ago. There is an acute shortage of all essentials such as cash, fuel, medical drugs, electricity and food.

President Robert Mugabe blames the crisis on sanctions imposed by the West on grounds that he is disregarding human rights. But Mugabe's critics attribute the crisis to his economic policies.

The charity Save the Children recently issued a report saying some of Zimbabwe's children are "wasting away" amid the turmoil.

Five million Zimbabweans -- out of a population of about 12 million -- need food aid now, the report said. The group is appealing for 18,000 tons of food for next month

Here is the link to the original story: cholera


Here is some information about Cholera:

The following information is from the Center For Disease Control:

What is cholera?

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal illness caused by infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The infection is often mild or without symptoms, but sometimes it can be severe. Approximately one in 20 infected persons has severe disease characterized by profuse watery diarrhea, vomiting, and leg cramps. In these persons, rapid loss of body fluids leads to dehydration and shock. Without treatment, death can occur within hours.

How does a person get cholera?

A person may get cholera by drinking water or eating food contaminated with the cholera bacterium. In an epidemic, the source of the contamination is usually the feces of an infected person. The disease can spread rapidly in areas with inadequate treatment of sewage and drinking water.

The cholera bacterium may also live in the environment in brackish rivers and coastal waters. Shellfish eaten raw have been a source of cholera, and a few persons in the United States have contracted cholera after eating raw or undercooked shellfish from the Gulf of Mexico. The disease is not likely to spread directly from one person to another; therefore, casual contact with an infected person is not a risk for becoming ill.

Is a vaccine available to prevent cholera?

A recently developed oral vaccine for cholera is licensed and available in other countries (Dukoral from SBL Vaccines). The vaccine appears to provide somewhat better immunity and have fewer adverse effects than the previously available vaccine. However, CDC does not recommend cholera vaccines for most travelers, nor is the vaccine available in the United States . Further information about Dukoral can be obtained from the manufacturers:

Dukoral ®
SBL Vaccin AB,
SE-105 21 Stockholm, Sweden
telephone +46-8-7351000,
e-mail: info@sblvaccines.se
website: www.sblvaccines.se


You can read all the CDC information about Cholera at this link: Cholera

Here are some recent news reports dealing with Cholera:


Zimbabwe malnutrition, cholera worse

Cholera epidemic is still 'out of control'

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:10 AM   0 comments links to this post

Assessing risks of India, Pakistan confrontation






While the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues there is another situation that should not be ignored. That is the rising tensions between India and Pakistan.

The following article does a good job at looking at what is happening and what could happen.


Assessing risks of India, Pakistan confrontation


ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Since militants killed 179 people in an assault on Mumbai, India has withstood internal pressure to unleash a military attack on Pakistan soil.

Internal dynamics and diplomatic responses are still evolving since the November 26-29 attack. With relations fraught between rivals who have fought three wars, here is a look at some scenarios that could unfold.

WAR

Highly improbable. No one, except the militants, would want it. Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee says India is keeping all options open, comments the Indian media have widely interpreted to mean that a military response is still possible. But he has also said that war "is no solution" and accused Pakistan of creating "war hysteria" to deflect blame.

Tensions flared when Pakistan accused Indian warplanes of air space violations on December 13 and said its own fighter jets were scrambled. India denies any incursion. Pakistan has canceled army leave and shifted some troops from its western border with Afghanistan to the eastern border with India.

The two countries went to the brink of war in 2002 after Pakistani jihadi groups attacked the Indian parliament in 2001, but ultimately the risk of nuclear conflict made it a crazy option. Any kind of Indian military action is likely to provoke retaliation, either from jihadis or worse the Pakistani military. India's strength lies in its ability to win global diplomatic support to pressure Pakistan to clean its house of jihadis.

Pressure on New Delhi to pursue a military option would rise if India was attacked again.

PEACE PROCESS

India has imposed a "pause" on a peace process begun in 2004, which had brought better ties, and also canceled a cricket tour to Pakistan next month. India wants Pakistan to crack down on groups analysts say have been favored by the Pakistani military's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Pakistan denies any links to the Mumbai attacks, blaming "non-state actors," and says India has provided no evidence for it to investigate. India says it has given Pakistan specific details, including an account by the lone surviving gunman.

A crackdown like one by then military ruler General Pervez Musharraf in 2002, which was widely regarded as a sham, will satisfy neither New Delhi nor Washington.

In what was seen in India as a tit-for-tat move, Pakistan media reported that several Indian nationals had been held after a bombing in the city of Lahore. India then warned its citizens it would be unsafe to travel to or remain in Pakistan.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's incoming administration is expected to encourage settlement of the Kashmir dispute, a step seen as part of the process to stabilize Afghanistan.

India probably realizes it's better to engage Pakistan than ignore it in the long-run, and it would like to help civilian leaders establish authority over the generals.

U.S. pressure to move more swiftly in peace talks won't cut much ice with India, so long as it feels uncomfortable about the durability of Pakistan's democracy. In the short-run the Indian government has an election to fight by May, and will need to show its public results before it resumes the peace process.

NO WAR, NO PEACE

If, analysts say, the Pakistani military refuses to abandon old jihadi assets, there will be no war and no peace. Instead there's a real danger both sides could use non-state proxies to destabilize each others' borders. It would be a return to the pre-2002 era, and the world will be haunted by periodic crises between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

That, in turn, will complicate the West's efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. Some jihadi groups that had been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir have built ties with al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun tribal belt on the Afghan border, which the Pakistan army is struggling to control.

If these groups are allowed to thrive they will continue to provide gateways for alienated young Muslims to join a global jihad against their own governments.

REPERCUSSIONS FOR INDIA

The Indian government faces widespread voter anger at the security and intelligence failures that led to Mumbai. The opposition BJP has made it a major campaign issue and many analysts expect an election backlash against the ruling Congress party. But recent state poll wins by Congress, as well as the high-profile appointment of former Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram as the new home minister, have helped take the wind out of the BJP's sails.

The BJP has also been criticized in some quarters for being opportunistic in making terrorism an election issue.

The government has rushed through a tough anti-terrorism law, seen as a bid to allay public anger.

REPERCUSSIONS FOR PAKISTAN

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's offer on November 28 to send the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency to New Delhi following a request from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went down badly in some quarters of the military. But since then there has been no indication the civilian government and military leadership are out of step, even if they disagree on whether the militants should be protected or dumped.

If the crisis worsened, it might bring any differences into the open, risky for a young civilian government dependent on army support for Pakistan's transition to democracy.

Pakistan already reels from an Islamist insurgency in the northwest. A crackdown on militant groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad based in the central province of Punjab could end up driving more of their fighters into the arms of al Qaeda and the Taliban in the northwest. That would reinforce the insurgency in Afghanistan and pose more dangers for Pakistan.


Here is the link to the original story: Confrontation

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Israel Prepares to Invade Gaza Strip

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Israel Prepares for Possible Gaza Invasion

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Blogging and Photography

I have been spending a lot of time posting about the situation in Israel and the recent air strikes in Gaza. I want to take a few minutes and point everyone to a blog I just came across. I love to see what people use their blogs for. Tonight I found a blog in which the creator of the blog has decided to use their blog to show their photographs. The cool part is the creator of the blog is only 14 years old. The name of the blog is, Mo Photography. Here is my favorite photograph from the blog:





















So take a few minutes and visit the Mo Photography blog. Here is the link:
Pictures


When you are there take the time to leave a comment and encourage this young blogger.

Have a great night.

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The World In 2009

As we are about to begin a new year, I want to take some time and think about what parts of the world we should watch in 2009.

Iraq: In 2009, the United States will have a new president and one of the major decisions he will make is what to do about Iraq. There is currently about 140,000 US troops in Iraq. If the United States withdraws troops, what happens in Iraq? Does the country end up in a civil war? Iraq will be a very important country to watch and see what happens.

Here is some of the latest news from Iraq:

Car Bomb Kills 2, Wounds 4 in Iraq

2 bombs kill at least 5 in Iraq United Press International

Suicide bomber hits anti-Israel protest in Iraq AFP

At least 3 killed in suicide bombing in N Iraq Xinhua

Baghdad Car Bombing Kills at Least 22

Baghdad bombs kill 28 people: police Reuters

Car Bomb in Baghdad Kills 24 New York Times

Baghdad bus blast kills 24 Newsday

These headlines are not very good and the obvious questions is simple, what happens when the United States military leaves?


Somalia: I have been telling people to watch this country for years and have posted a lot of information on this blog. You can read all of my posts about this country at this link: Somalia

Here is some of the latest news from Somalia:

Islamist Militants in Somalia Begin to Fight One Another

12 die in clashes between rival Islamists in central Somalia Xinhua

Somalia: Ahlu Sunna Takes Control of Central Town AllAfrica.com

Militias Clash in Somalia, Killing at Least 10 Voice of America

Key Somali official says president to quit Monday

China ready to use force on Somali pirates


I will continue to post information about Somalia and provide people the best information I can find.

I will suggest other countries to watch in a future post. I want to know what you think. What countries should we be watching and what do you think will be the big stories of 2009? Leave your comments here or e-mail me at tsrk30@sbcglobal.net

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Israelis look for knockout blow

Israelis look for knockout blow

By Jeremy Bowen
BBC Middle East editor


Israel has laid out an ambitious war aim. It says it wants to create a new security environment, to protect Israelis who live within range of rocket fire from Gaza.

It wants, according to one official, "to neutralise the Hamas militia men" so they can no longer fire into Israel.

In the last day, the way Israel believes it can do that has become a little clearer.

The air strikes have tried to kill as many Hamas fighters as possible and to destroy the infrastructure of power and governance that Hamas has been trying to build since it took over in Gaza.

The first wave of attacks went very well from Israel's point of view.

During the Palestinian armed uprising after 2000, Israeli bombers attacked Palestinian security bases many times.

Often their attacks were expected, and they flattened empty buildings.

But at no time did they attempt an air offensive on the scale that they began on Saturday.

The ground for it was prepared by clever psychological warfare.

Key divisions

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued warnings to the Arabic press that there would be bloodshed if Hamas did not stop rocket fire.

But at the same time, Israeli spokespeople told journalists that the war plan had not been authorised by the cabinet.

But it had been. So when the first wave of Israeli warplanes came in over Gaza they were able to attack bases and compounds that had not been evacuated.

That was one reason why so many people were killed so quickly.

The fact that Israeli army reservists have been called up - and the movement of tanks - suggests that the air strikes will be followed by ground incursions. How big, and for how long, is not clear.

An Israeli intelligence briefing this morning argued that many Palestinians in Gaza were fed up with Hamas.

Israel seems to believe it can work on the divisions that already exist between Palestinians until it is possible to detach Hamas from all but its core support, and force it to accept its terms.

But Israel might not get it all its own way. Hamas is unlikely to surrender. It has an ideology of resistance and martyrdom.

Palestinians under fire may forget some of the divisions which have crippled them in the last three years, and come together against a common enemy.

US support

Israeli generals always assume that they have a limited time to achieve their goals.

They will have expected the critical statements that were issued by the UN Secretary General and others within hours of the first raids.

The United States is already providing its usual diplomatic cover for Israel at the UN.

But a new American President is sworn in next month. As President, Barack Obama will give Israel firm support.

But he will not want to take office in the middle of a raging crisis in the Middle East.

Israel has already killed civilians, as well as children. International pressure on it to stop the attacks will increase with the numbers of deaths.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/7802477.stm

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Israeli Troops Near Gaza, Airstrikes Continue

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Iran leader orders Muslims to defend Palestinians

TEHRAN, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Iran's Supreme Leader issued a religious decree to Muslims around the world on Sunday, ordering them to defend Palestinians in Gaza against Israeli attacks "in any way possible", state television reported.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also declared Monday a day of public mourning in Iran after Israel killed more than 280 Palestinians in two days of air strikes on Gaza.

"All Palestinian combatants and all the Islamic world's pious people are obliged to defend the defenceless women, children and people in Gaza in any way possible," Khamenei said.

"Whoever is killed in this legitimate defence, is considered a martyr," he said in a statement.

A religious decree is an official statement by a ranking religious leader that commands Muslims to carry out its message. While there is no religious and legal force behind it, Khamenei is respected by many Iranian and non-Iranian Shi'ites.

Iran refuses to recognise Israel, which accuses Tehran of supplying Hamas Islamists with weapons. Iran denies the claim, saying it only provides moral support to the group.


You can read the rest of the report here: Iran

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The History Of the Arab Israeli Conflict

To understand the present one must seek to know the past.

If we are going to truly understand the current situation in Israel and Gaza we need to spend some time studying the past. Here is a link that will take you to an interactive look at the history of this conflict.


History

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:54 AM   0 comments links to this post

Israeli cabinet calls up reservists

Is Israel preparing to launch a major ground offensive? The following article may offer some clues that will help us answer that question.


Israel's cabinet approved a call-up of reservists today, as its military continued attacking Gaza, destroying the main security headquarters after killing more than 280 Palestinians in a first round of strikes yesterday.

Israeli tanks were seen deploying in southern Israel, close to the Gaza Strip, raising the prospect that the air raids - which brought the biggest loss of life in a single day in Gaza for more than 40 years - might escalate into a major ground offensive.

The latest Israeli attack flattened most of the buildings in the security headquarters, the second time the compound had been attacked in two days. At least four Palestinians were killed.

Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets into southern Israel, with two missiles reaching as far as Ashdod, an Israeli port about 18 miles north of Gaza. One Israeli was killed in a rocket attack on Saturday.

In addition to the 280 dead, at least 600 Palestinians have been injured. Most of the dead appeared to be policemen or security officials affiliated with Hamas, although there were reports of dead civilians. An Israeli air strike yesterday killed seven teenage students at a UN vocational college for Palestinian refugees while they waited for a bus to take them home, said Christopher Gunness, a UN Relief and Works Agency spokesman.

At its regular weekly meeting in Jerusalem, the Israeli cabinet approved a reserve call-up, which may indicate a much larger operation is proposed. The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, reportedly told the meeting that the fighting in Gaza would be "long, painful and difficult".

"Israel will continue until we have a new security environment in the south, when the population there will not longer live in terror and in fear of constant rocket barrages," said Mark Regev, a spokesman for the prime minister.

You can read the entire article at this link: Troops



Unless something changes it now appears Israel will send in ground troops.


Much more to come on this situation...

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Israeli troops near Gaza, airstrikes continue

Israeli warplanes pressing one of Israel's deadliest assaults ever on Palestinian militants dropped bombs and missiles on a top security installation and dozens of other targets across Hamas-ruled Gaza on Sunday.

Infantry and armored units headed to the Gaza border for a possible ground invasion, as the Israeli Cabinet authorized a callup of thousands of reserve soldiers. Some 280 Palestinians died in the first 24 hours of the campaign against Gaza rocket squads — most of them Hamas police.

Unbowed by 250 Israeli airstrikes, militants fired dozens of rockets and mortars at border communities Sunday. Two rockets struck close to the largest city in southern Israel, Ashdod, some 38 kilometers (23 miles) from Gaza, reaching deeper into Israel than ever before. The targeting of Ashdod confirmed Israel's concern that militants are capable of putting major cities within rocket range. No serious injuries were reported in any of the attacks Sunday.

The Palestinians' moderate President Mahmoud Abbas, a fierce rival of Hamas' who controls only the West Bank and has little influence in Gaza, urged the Islamic militant group to renew a truce with Israel that collapsed last week.



You can read the rest of the report at this link:
Troops

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ANALYSIS-Israel to reprise Lebanon war in Gaza?

The following is from Reuters UK.

JERUSALEM, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Goaded by Islamist guerrillas' cross-border attacks, Israel goes to war with a surprise aerial onslaught. Troops and tanks follow, to gain ground and pressure foreign powers into imposing a truce the Israelis can live with. The strategy used by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for an offensive in Lebanon in 2006 could again be deployed against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

But there are big differences in the handling of the military operation in Gaza, which the Israeli air force started pounding on Saturday, and it is not clear how regional stability might benefit, let alone peace talks with Palestinians.

For now, Israeli officials sound satisfied with an operation in Gaza that shows few of the tactical mistakes of the 2006 war on Lebanese Hezbollah.

Fewer than half of Gaza's many dead are civilians, Israeli border towns were better prepared this time for retaliatory rocket fire and the Olmert government has not promised big victories. International censure has so far been largely limited to urging a return to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire that expired on Dec 19.

"Israel certainly underwent a lesson-learning process" after Lebanon, cabinet secretary Oved Yehezkel told Israel Radio.

Hamas has made a new ceasefire conditional on Israel ending an embargo on Gaza, and Israeli officials have hinted they also want new terms met -- such an end to arms smuggling by Hamas and the release of a captive soldier, Gilad Shalit.

While strikes continue, neither side is giving quarter.

"Hamas knows our demands, and there's no use to talking about them publicly," said one Israeli defence official. "Until Hamas signals that it's ready to back down, all we can do is continue placing a hefty 'price tag' on its rocket attacks."

Israel's relative reticence may mask uncertainty over how far this assault will go. Although its forces have massed on the border, Israel is in no rush for a reoccupation of the congested, poor and deeply hostile Palestinian territory.

That means exhausting a "bank" of Hamas sites that can be bombed by the Israeli air force, although the Lebanon war showed such raids can quickly push up the civilian casualty toll.

"What do we do when the target bank runs out? And what if we end up with another Kafr Qana?" asked one Israeli diplomat, referring to a village where the killing of dozens of unarmed Lebanese drained support for driving back Hezbollah.

CONTINGENCY PLANS

Whereas the Lebanon war ended in a U.N.-brokered ceasefire that beefed up a foreign peacekeeper force in Hezbollah's former heartland, such a presence is considered anathema for Gaza.

"There was talk of it (Gaza peacekeepers) a while back, but nothing happened as no one wanted to contribute troops," said Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman. Hamas has long said it would regard any foreign peacekeepers as invaders.

According to the defence official, Israel has contingency plans for a Gaza sweep in which Hamas would be crushed and the territory handed to the Islamists' rival, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who seeks a peace accord with the Jewish state.

But Palmor dismissed such an idea as "fringe idiocy". It would depict Abbas as little more than an Israeli stooge, and to many Palestinians his credibility is already sapped by his failure to shelve diplomacy altogether over the Gaza violence.

"We want quiet, and for Israelis and Palestinians to be able to address their differences through dialogue," Palmor said, alluding to Hamas's refusal to accept coexistence with Israel.

Hamas has said it will not surrender to Israel, but its top politician in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, signalled on Sunday that the group feels isolated in a region where some states dislike the axis formed by Hamas with its Iranian and Syrian patrons.

In televised comments apparently intended for Egypt and other Arab countries aligned with the United States, Haniyeh urged a "responsible Arab decision to end the (Gaza) siege".

Egypt, which also borders Gaza, has shown little desire to break with the embargo. Cairo could instead propose that Hamas submit to Abbas's authority, in exchange for which Israel would end the Gaza assault and ease economic restrictions on the territory.

"The sense is that we have to wait to see what Egypt pulls out of its hat," said the Israeli diplomat.

Until then, Israel appears to be targeting the Egypt-Gaza frontier as part of its effort to step up pressure on Hamas.

Hundreds of cross-border tunnels allow the Palestinians to smuggle in arms and commercial goods, circumventing the embargo to a limited degree. Many of those secret passages may have been destroyed by Israel's bombing runs over southern Gaza.

Here is the link to the original story:

Gaza

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White House Responds to Violence in Gaza

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Palestinian UN Observer Responds to Attacks

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Israel renews air strikes on Gaza

Israeli jets have launched a second day of air attacks on the Gaza Strip, amid warnings that operations will continue until Hamas ends rocket fire from Gaza.

Palestinians now say at least 280 people have died, while Israel is said to be considering a ground assault and has authorised the call-up of reserves.

At the UN, the Security Council called for an end to all violence in Gaza, including rocket attacks from Gaza.

Israel says militants have fired 110 rockets into Israel since Saturday.

The country's cabinet has authorised the call-up of reserve soldiers, with unconfirmed reports saying as many as 6,500 could be summoned for duty.

The air strikes were launched on Saturday against Hamas targets in the densely-populated coastal territory, less than a week after the expiry of a six-month-long ceasefire deal with the militant group.

Here is the link to the original story: Air Strikes

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hamas press conference after Israeli Gaza strikes







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Israel strikes demolish Hamas compounds, kill 192

The number of people killed during the attack of Gaza by Israel continues to rise.


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing nearly 200 people and wounding 270 others in the single bloodiest day of fighting in years.

Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were also among the dead. Hamas said all of its security installations were hit and responded with several medium-range Grad rockets at Israel, reaching deeper than in the past. One Israeli was killed and at least four people were wounded in the rocket attacks. With so many wounded, the Palestinian death toll was likely to rise.

The air offensive followed weeks of intense Palestinian rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel, and Israeli leaders had issued increasingly tough warnings in recent days that they would not tolerate continued attacks.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel would expand the operation if necessary. "There is a time for calm and there is a time for fighting, and now is the time for fighting," he told a news conference. He would not comment when asked if a ground offensive was planned.


Here is the link to the original story: 192

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The Gaza attacks

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At least 155 killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza

CNN.com is reporting that 155 have been killed in the attacks launched by Israel. I beleive this number is low. In my last post I pointed people to the Jerusalem post hich is reporting over 170 dead. Here is the link to the CNN report:

At least 155 killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza


I will continue to work to find the best information. Check back often!

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:50 AM   1 comments links to this post

Over 170 killed as Israel strikes police compounds






















Just days after the cabinet gave the military final approval to counter ongoing Palestinian rocket fire against communities in the western Negev, the IDF launched a massive operation, striking Hamas installations throughout the Gaza Strip on Saturday.

The wide-scale offensive on Hamas installations in the Gaza Strip was codenamed 'Operation Solid Lead,' after a Hanukkah poem by H.N. Bialik referring to a "dreidel cast from solid lead."

A Hamas spokesperson said that at least 170 people were killed in the attacks. Gaza health official Moawiya Hassanain said earlier that over 120 people were killed, and at least 200 injured. The Jerusalem Post could not confirm either report.

According to witnesses, among the killed was Hamas police chief Maj.-Gen. Tawfik Jaber.

Despite the massive casualties, Hamas remained defiant, vowing revenge and calling on all other Palestinian factions to join in the fight.

"Today we are stronger then we've ever been," one spokesperson for the group said at a press conference. "We won't raise the white flag, we won't give anything up, we won't retreat."

Here is the link to the source: 170

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:39 AM   0 comments links to this post

Israel Attacks!





I have posted a number of articles over the past few days telling people that Israel was preparing to attack. As of today the attack has begun. Here is a video report:

Israel



I will try to provide the best information I can find.




Here are links to the latest reports and reactions of the attack.

Arab world condemns Israeli attack on Gaza



US Condemns Hamas in Midst of Israeli Strikes



Israeli Air Strikes Kill at Least 140 in Gaza Strip

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:06 AM   0 comments links to this post

Scores die in Israeli air strikes

The following is from the BBC

Scores die in Israeli air strikes

Israeli F-16 bombers have launched a series of air strikes against key targets in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 155 people, medical chiefs say.

Gaza officials and the Hamas militant group said about 200 others were hurt as missiles hit security compounds and militant bases across the territory.

The strikes, the most intense Israeli attacks on Gaza in years, come days after a truce with Hamas expired.

Israel said it was responding to an escalation in rocket attacks from Gaza.

Palestinian militants frequently fire rockets against Israeli towns from inside the Gaza Strip; large numbers of rocket and mortar shells had been fired at Israel in recent days.

In a statement, Israel's military said it targeted "Hamas terror operatives" as well as training camps and weaponry storage warehouses.

In the West Bank, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas - whose Fatah faction was ousted from Gaza by Hamas in 2007 - condemned the attacks and called for restraint.

But Hamas quickly vowed to carry out revenge attacks on Israel in response to the air strikes, firing Qassam rockets into Israeli territory as an immediate reply.

At least one Israeli was killed by a rocket strike in the town of Netivot, doctors said.

"Hamas will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood," spokesman Fawzi Barhoum was reported as saying.

Israel also stood firm, saying operations "will continue, will be expanded, and will deepen if necessary".

International reaction was swift and expressed concern, with many world leaders calling for calm and an immediate ceasefire.

Rising toll

A White House spokesman said the United States "urges Israel to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza".

"Hamas' continued rocket attacks into Israel must cease if the violence is to stop," the spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, added.

The UK Foreign Office said: "We urge maximum restraint to avoid further civilian casualties."

The French presidency of the EU meanwhile called for an immediate halt to the shooting by both sides.

Reports of the casualties in Gaza mounted swiftly after news broke of the Israeli operation, in which at least 30 missiles were fired by F-16 fighter bombers.

Images from the scenes of strikes showed dead and injured Palestinians, burning and destroyed buildings, and scenes of panic and chaos on Gaza's crowded streets.

Residents spoke of children heading to and from school at the time of the attacks, and there were fears of civilian casualties, although no detailed information was available from hospitals.

Israel hit targets across Gaza, striking in the territory's main population centres, including Gaza City in the north and the southern towns of Khan Younis and Rafah.

Egypt opened its border crossing to the Gaza Strip at Rafah to absorb and treat some of those injured in the south of the territory.

Most of the dead and injured were said to be in Gaza City, where Hamas's main security compound was destroyed. The head of Gaza's police forces, Tawfik Jaber, was reportedly among those killed.

Reuters news agency said at least 20 people were thought to have died in Khan Younis.

Hamas said all of its security compounds in Gaza were destroyed by the Israeli air strikes, which Israel said hit some 40 targets across the territory.

The air strikes are the most intense Israel has launched against Gaza for some time, and come amid rumours that a ground operation is imminent.

Israeli security officials have been briefing about the possibility of a new offensive into Gaza for some days now, says the BBC's Paul Wood, in Jerusalem.

But most reports centred on the possibility of a ground offensive, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was not expected to authorise any operation until Sunday at the earliest.

Although a six-month truce between Hamas and Israel was agreed earlier this year, it was regularly under strain and was allowed to lapse when it expired this month.

Hamas blamed Israel for the end of the ceasefire, saying it had not respected its terms, including the lifting of the blockade under which little more than humanitarian aid has been allowed into Gaza.

Israel said it initially began a staged easing of the blockade, but this was halted when Hamas failed to fulfil what Israel says were agreed conditions, including ending all rocket fire and halting weapons smuggling.

Israel says the blockade - in place since Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007 - is needed to isolate Hamas and stop it and other militants from firing rockets across the border at Israeli towns.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:45 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pakistan Moving Troops Toward Indian Border

I have been posting information about the tensions between Israel and Hamas. There is another situation developing that I want to inform people of:

Intelligence Officials: Pakistan Moving Troops Toward Indian Border

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan began moving thousands of troops away from the Afghan border toward India on Friday amid tensions following the Mumbai attacks, intelligence officials said.

The move represents a sharp escalation in the standoff between the nuclear-armed neighbors and will hurt Pakistan's U.S.-backed campaign against Al Qaeda and Taliban taking place near Afghanistan's border.

Two intelligence officials said the army's 14th Division was being redeployed to Kasur and Sialkot, close to the Indian border. They said some 20,000 troops were on the move. Earlier Friday, a security official said that all troop leave had been canceled.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Indian officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Friday with the chiefs of the army, navy and air force to discuss "the prevailing security situation," according to an official statement.

An Associated Press reporter in Dera Ismail Khan, a district that borders the Afghan-frontier province of South Waziristan, said he saw around 40 trucks loaded with soldiers heading away from the Afghan border.


India is blaming Pakistan-based militants for last month's attacks on Mumbai. Islamabad has said it will cooperate in any probe, but says it has seen no evidence backing up India's claims.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947. They came close to a fourth in 2001 after suspected Pakistani militants attacked India's parliament. Both countries rushed troops to the disputed Kashmir region but tensions cooled after intensive international diplomacy.

The neighbors have said they want to avoid military conflict this time around, but Pakistan has promised to respond aggressively if India uses force, an option the Indian government has not ruled out.

Pakistan has deployed more than 100,000 soldiers in Waziristan and other northwestern regions to fight Islamic militants blamed for surging violence against Western troops in Afghanistan.

The United States has givens millions of dollars in aid to Pakistan's army to fight the militants in the region, which is believed to be a hiding place for Osama bin Laden and other top Al Qaeda leaders.

A senior security official refused to comment directly on Friday's troop movements, but said, "Necessary defensive measures have been taken, they are in place and Pakistan's armed forces are prepared to tackle any eventuality."

He asked his name not be used, citing the sensitivity of the situation.


Here is the link for the original source: Troops

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:21 AM   0 comments links to this post

The future of Gaza

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Israelis reopen Gaza's crossings

There is some good news to report:

Israel has reopened crossings into the Gaza Strip to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Israeli officials said Defence Minister Ehud Barak took the decision after talks with security chiefs and requests from the international community.

About 80 trucks with supplies such as medicine, food and other goods are expected to cross on Friday.

The move comes despite Israeli warnings to Palestinian militants in Gaza to stop their rocket attacks on Israel.

Some 50 rockets have been launched from Gaza in recent days, after the killing of three Hamas members by Israel.

A six-month ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas ended last week.


You can read the rest of the report here: Crossing

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:17 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Peace in Bethlehem as Hamas fires on Israel

BETHLEHEM: Pilgrims and local Christians celebrated Bethlehem's merriest Christmas in eight years yesterday, with hotels booked solid, Manger Square bustling with families and Israeli and Palestinian forces co-operating to make things run smoothly.

But the festivities in the West Bank town contrasted sharply with Hamas-run Gaza, just 70km away. While revellers in Bethlehem launched pink fireworks from a rooftop, Palestinian militants from Gaza increased the range and intensity of their rocket fire against Israel, as the Israeli security cabinet considered options that included broader military action or efforts to renew a truce that recently expired. Israeli aircraft over southern Gaza targeted militants firing rockets, killing one and wounding two others.

Not long afterward in the West Bank, crowds gathered at nightfall outside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, ahead of the midnight Catholic mass. In Manger Square, vendors hawked roasted peanuts and Santa Claus hats. Many in the square were Muslim residents out to enjoy their quiet town's annual moment at the centre of world attention.


Here is the link to the original story: Bethlehem

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Moscow Condemns Shelling of Israel From Gaza Strip

MOSCOW. Dec 25 (Interfax) - The Russian Foreign Ministry calls on the sides of the Middle East conflict to stop forceful action.
"Moscow is extremely concerned over the events sliding to the threshold of open confrontation. We consider the shelling of Israel from Gaza to be unacceptable. This shelling as well as use of force touching upon peaceful Palestinians by Israel should be stopped," the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

According to earlier reports, more than 60 rockets and mortar projectiles were fired today from the Gaza Strip against Israel. One Palestinian was killed and two were wounded by the return fire of the Israeli Air Forces.

"We confirm the importance to go back to the ceasefire on both sides as a necessary condition to preserve lives and normal living conditions of the Israeli and Palestinian civil population, the need to lift the blockade of the Sector of Gaza primarily in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster. We are convinced that it is solely on this basis that it is possible to resume a progress toward a universal and fair solution of the Palestinian problem and to ensure adequate Israeli security," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.


Here is the link to the original source: Moscow

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Israeli Airstrike Kills Hamas Militant

Israel says a militant was killed during an airstrike that was in response to Hamas rocket attacks. Hamas formally ended a 6-month truce with Israel on Friday. (Dec. 20)



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Israel warns Hamas that it is ready to act to end rocket attacks

Israel warns Hamas that it is ready to act to end rocket attacks

'We will not accept this situation,' Defense Minister Ehud Barak says of the surge in airborne attacks from Gaza. 'Whoever harms the citizens and soldiers of Israel will pay a heavy price.'

Reporting from Jerusalem -- Israeli political and military leaders issued dire warnings today to Hamas that it would soon move against the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip unless renewed rocket and mortar fire against southern Israeli towns is halted. A surge in airborne attacks from Gaza has followed the termination of a six-month truce last week and is fueling speculation that Israeli may try to topple Hamas.

"We will not accept this situation," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. "Whoever harms the citizens and soldiers of Israel will pay a heavy price."


Here is the link to the original source: Hamas

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Israeli army chief says troops ready to strike Gaza

JERUSALEM, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is prepared to take actions to restore security to the southern land bordering the Gaza Strip, said IDF Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Thursday.

"The current situation cannot continue and we will need to use all our might to hit the terror infrastructure and to create a new secure situation around the Gaza Strip," local daily The Jerusalem Post quoted him as saying at a graduation ceremony for military pilots, in reference to the continuing rocket attacks from the Hamas-ruled enclave.

The IDF is "ready and prepared" to carry out any operation that will be required to defend Israel against terror, said the lieutenant-general, while stressing that "we will act with wisdom, the correct considerations and responsibility... until calm and quiet are restored."

The remarks came as Gazan militants fired at least four rockets and several mortar shells at Israel on Thursday, a day after the Jewish state was pummeled by more than 60 rockets and mortar shells.

Israeli officials have been ratcheting up their rhetoric against the Islamic movement since clashes resumed in early November after the two sides had generally honored an Egypt-brokered truce deal for five months.

Here is the link to the original story:
Strike

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Egypt fears domestic Islamist fallout if Israel hits Gaza hard

The Jerusalem Post is reporting the following story:

Egypt's interest in avoiding a massive Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip and its concern for the humanitarian situation there goes beyond its strong desire to see a stable and peaceful Middle East.

It also has to do with the increasing pressures of public opinion both inside and outside the country.

While there isn't much sympathy in Egypt for Hamas, there is a lot of sympathy for the Palestinian civilians who are suffering under the tight blockade imposed on the Hamas-controlled strip and who would be vulnerable in a military offensive, said Gamal Abdel Gawad, head of the international relations unit at the Cairo-based al-Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies.


You can read the entire story at this link:
Egypt

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Hamas declares Israel truce over

I am continuing to search for information about the current situation in Israel. I reported in my last post that Israel is preparing to invade Gaza. Here are the latest reports I have found that I think add information to the story:


Hamas declares Israel truce over
The Islamist militant group Hamas says it has ended its six-month ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip.

As the ceasefire expired at 0400 GMT, Hamas issued a statement blaming Israel which had not "respected" the truce.

Israel's foreign ministry spokesman said the militants, who control Gaza, "had chosen violence over truth".

The Egyptian-brokered deal began on 19 June but has been tested regularly by Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel and Israeli operations in Gaza.

Hours after the announcement, Palestinian television carried pictures of militants conducting exercises.

The Israeli military reported a minor shooting incident in the fields of a kibbutz farm near the Gaza border and two rockets exploding in southern Israel, but there were no reports of casualties.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that the Israeli military had cancelled weekend leave for all troops stationed near the Gaza Strip and instructed units to prepare for mobilisation.

Humanitarian aid

Hamas blamed Israel for the end of the ceasefire on Friday, saying it had not respected its terms, including the lifting of the blockade under which little more than humanitarian aid has been allowed into Gaza.

Israel said it initially began a staged easing of the blockade, but this was halted when Hamas failed to fulfil what Israel says were agreed conditions, including ending all rocket fire and halting weapons smuggling.

Israel says the blockade - in place since Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007 - is needed to isolate Hamas and stop it and other militants from firing rockets across the border at Israeli towns.

The UN's relief agency says the situation has created a "profound human dignity crisis".

Announcing the end of the truce on its website, Hamas said: "The ceasefire is over and there won't be a renewal because the Zionist enemy has not respected its conditions."


Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Hamas had chosen "violence over truth and rocket-shooting over ceasefire".
He said it showed that Hamas "does not have the best interest of Palestinians in mind".

"We have said publicly on many occasions that we think the continuation of the ceasefire is in the best interests both of Israelis and of Palestinians," he said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the head of Fatah which controls parts of the West Bank, is in Washington to discuss the situation with US President George W Bush.

The Palestinian leader will go to Moscow on Saturday, where he will meet President Dmitry Medvedev for the first time.

Russia is a member of the Middle East diplomatic "Quartet", which also includes the European Union, the UN and the US.

The US state department issued a statement following the Hamas announcement, saying that the ceasefire should be "respected and extended".

"Violence will not advance, but retard, the hope for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, which currently is being pursued by the legitimate Palestinian government of President Abbas," the statement said.

The BBC's Arab affairs analyst Magdi Abdelhadi says the end of the ceasefire comes at a critical moment for the Israelis and the Palestinians.

The Israelis are in the middle of an election campaign, and political turmoil on the Palestinian side is set to worsen amid intensified rivalry between Hamas and Fatah.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, is religiously conservative and more hardline in its view of the conflict with Israel, feeling peace talks have achieved little.

Fatah is a secular party which favours dialogue with Israel, but was voted out of government in 2006 in favour of Hamas.

Our correspondent says the failure to extend the truce is hardly surprising, given the fact that the deal has largely failed to achieve what each side originally wanted from it.

Israel thought that it could lead to the release of Cpl Gilad Shalit, captured by militant groups over two years ago.

Hamas hoped it would give it breathing space to consolidate its grip on the Gaza Strip and end the joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

The Egyptians hoped it could help to end the deepening rift between Hamas and Fatah.

However, analysts say that many Palestinians feel the fight between the two factions has become less about ideology, but more about power, control and, ultimately, revenge.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/7791100.stm


Israel warns Hamas over rockets

Israeli leaders have issued stern warnings to Palestinian militant group Hamas to stop rocket attacks on Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would not hesitate to strike Hamas and another militant group, Islamic Jihad, in the Gaza Strip.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned Israel "cannot tolerate" Palestinian militants targeting Israeli citizens.

Some 50 rockets have been launched from Gaza in recent days, after the killing of three Hamas members by Israel.

A six-month ceasefire in Gaza between Israel and Hamas ended last week.


Here is the link to the original story:
Rockets

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