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Monday, November 19, 2012
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Gaza pounded from air, sea

Several children killed; media centres hit in Israeli assault

Israel is continuing its assault on the Gaza Strip for a fifth straight day, bombarding the Palestinian enclave from both the air and sea.

Medical sources said at least three children and two women were killed yesterday. One of the victims was an 18-month-old killed in a air raid east of Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.

Meanwhile, fighters in Gaza fired rockets into Israel. Two of them, aimed at the commercial hub of Tel Aviv, were shot down by Israel's anti-missile system, police said.

An air raid before dawn in Gaza City targeted a building housing the offices of local Arab media, wounding several journalists from al-Quds television, a station Israel sees as a mouthpiece of the Hamas movement which rules the Gaza Strip.

“At least six journalists were wounded, with minor and moderate injuries, when Israeli warplanes hit the al-Quds TV office in the Showa and Housari building in the Rimal neighbourhood of Gaza City," health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told the AFP news agency, adding that one journalist lost his leg.

Witnesses reported extensive damage to the building, and said journalists had evacuated after an initial strike, which was followed by at least two more on the site.

A second media centre was targeted yesterday morning. Sky News, al-Arabiya, and the official Hamas-run channel al-Aqsa TV have offices in the building. Qudra said two journalists were injured in the attack.

Russian television station RT said its office was destroyed, adding that none of its staff were injured.

Two other attacks on houses in the Jebalya refugee camp killed one child and wounded 12 other people, medical officials said.

ROCKETS FIRED

Gaza has been under attack since Wednesday, when Israel launched a military offensive with the declared goal of deterring Gaza fighters from launching rockets into its territory.

Fifty-five Palestinians, about half of them civilians, including 14 children, have been killed in Israel's raids, Palestinian officials said. More than 500 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel, killing three people and injuring dozens.

Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba, reporting from Gaza City, said some people who live near the northern and eastern borders with Israel had been leaving their homes to seek shelter with relatives elsewhere. Meanwhile in Gaza City, streets were relatively quiet.

"People still do think that the Israeli military might actually launch a ground incursion. They are of course also worried that they might be near targets of the Israeli military, and they might also be near to a place from where rockets are being launched."

Our correspondent said he had witnessed a rocket being launched from a waste ground in the city. "Then I saw civilians running away from that area," he said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Israel was ready to "significantly expand" its operation against fighters in Gaza.

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