Gaza Simmers; Cease-Fire Resisted

Demonstration in Ramallah. Credit: David GIlkey/NPR i i

A Palestinian man yells to a crowd in the West Bank city of Ramallah during a demonstration against Israel's deadly operation in Gaza Friday. David GIlkey/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption David GIlkey/NPR
Demonstration in Ramallah. Credit: David GIlkey/NPR

A Palestinian man yells to a crowd in the West Bank city of Ramallah during a demonstration against Israel's deadly operation in Gaza Friday.

David GIlkey/NPR

Israel's military attack on Hamas in the Gaza Strip entered its third week as air and ground forces attacked more than 50 targets overnight and Saturday. Fierce fighting continues as both sides ignore a U.N. resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire. Palestinian doctors in Gaza say more than 800 people have been killed so far, nearly half of them civilians. Meanwhile, 13 Israelis have been killed since the fighting began, including three civilians.

Host Scott Simon talks to NPR's Eric Westervelt in Israel about the latest developments in the Gaza conflict.

Gaza Strikes Continue Despite Calls For Cease-Fire

Israeli jets and ground troops hit Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on the 15th day of fighting, and Islamic militants fired rockets back at southern Israel Saturday. Both sides continue to reject a United Nations resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire.

No rockets were fired into Israel overnight but by this morning several landed in uninhabited areas. The Israeli military continued to target launch sites and tunnels allegedly used to smuggle weapons. It said 15 Hamas militants were killed early Saturday. Palestinian medics confirmed two of those deaths. The medics also say another Israeli attack struck the outer wall of a hospital, wounding one worker.

The U.N. plans to distribute supplies from its existing stores, but it is still not bringing in any new aid shipments through Israeli-controlled border crossings after Israeli forces killed a U.N. truck driver earlier in the week.

The Red Cross has also been forced to restrict its medical operations after Israeli fire injured one of its drivers. A Red Cross spokesman said the organization hoped to be able to move to affected areas today.

Palestinian Leader Touts Egyptian Cease-Fire Plan

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is calling for Israel to accept an Egyptian cease-fire plan, including an international force on the Palestinian side of the border with Egypt.

Abbas met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on the Egyptian plan to restore a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. In a news conference, Abbas insisted that the Egyptian plan is the primary mechanism for ending the violence, and anyone who rejects it bears responsibility for the continued bloodshed.

Neither Israel nor Hamas have accepted the Egyptian plan. Israel wants Egypt to do more to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza. Egypt has rejected having international forces on its soil, but Abbas says that's not necessary, because the Palestinian Authority has been calling for three decades for an international presence on the Palestinian side of the border.

Hamas officials were expected to visit Cairo as early as Saturday to seek clarification from Egypt on its cease-fire plan.

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