Saturday, 27 December 2014

Palestine marks 6th anniversary of 2008-9 Israeli assault on Gaza


GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Palestinians around the world on Saturday commemorated the sixth anniversary of the beginning of Israel's 22-day offensive on the Gaza Strip in 2008-9 that left more than 1,400 dead.

This year's commemorations take place in the shadow of another Israeli offensive over summer -- the third major assault in six years -- that left nearly 2,200 Palestinians dead and 110,000 homeless.

Until this year, the 2008-9 assault was the bloodiest sustained Israeli assault on Palestinians since 1967, with more than 80 percent of victims thought to have been civilians.

The offensive, known by its Israeli moniker "Cast Lead," began on Dec. 27, 2008 around 11:30 a.m., when Israeli warplanes launched more than 100 airstrikes on Gaza simultaneously.

The airstrikes killed hundreds of police officers and civilians, including dozens of police cadets who were attending their graduation ceremony, and injured more than 2,000 Gazans on the first day alone.

On Jan. 3, 2009, meanwhile, an Israeli ground offensive began around 9 p.m., with Israeli soldiers, artillery, tanks, and other units raiding the Gaza Strip by land as the assault continued by air and sea.

Israeli forces famously used a number of internationally-banned weapons such as white phosphorus, a chemical that enters the body and burns the skin from the inside.

More than 5,500 Palestinians were injured in the assault while around 50,000 were displaced. more

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