Palestine: Israeli ground forces enter Gaza

On the evening of January 3, Israel sent ground troops and armoured vehicles into the Gaza Strip.

Prof. Said Abdelwahed, who teaches English at Al-Azhar University, posted earlier in the day at Moments in Gaza:

I am okay so far. Air raids in my area in the last ten minutes were nine, and we expect the worst to come! In the morning between 3:00-4:00 they raided ten times on targets in Gaza city. Let alone the shelling from the Israeli navy vessels. They burnt more than ten local fishing boats on the spot! In the afternoon, Israel raido mentioned targeting 35 places in Gaza Strip. It included bridge that connects north and south of the eastern parts of Gaza city, and it included Gaza airport in Rafah. It getting worse and worse. It seems that the ground offensive is imminent!

I don't have electricity or water now. I am about to run out of diesel too. There is no way to go out. We have been inside as from day one (8 days so far and who knows!)

God bless you all

He was then able to write something quickly just after the offensive began:

I have minutes to write. Nine F16s raided at targets in Gaza. Artillery shelled a 30 kilometers strip of cultivated land to the east of Gaza Strip. Then, several air raids followed; they targeted mosques, homes, al-Resala newspaper offices. Minutes ago, eleven praying men were killed in bombing a mosques in Beit Lahia at sunset (Magreb) prayers. Among them was a reporter of al-Aqsa TV. No electricity; no water; no life in the city. Officially 460 people declared dead and 2300 injured. Mobile phone are out of order; land telephones can hardly catch and answer. Gaza is a city of ghosts. Ground offensive is on the move with two tanks and a bulldozer.

Laila El-Haddad, who is currently in the United States, and blogs at Raising Yousuf and Noor, spoke to her father in Gaza just after the news was announced:

We just came back from a protest…before we left my father called to let me know a land invasion was imminent, and that a bomb had been destroyed a mosque near them-killing 11 civilians.

He just now informed me that a land invasion HAS BEGUN. Everyone is bracing themselves.

He said Israel destroyed 3 JAWAL centers (the mobile provider) so many mobile phones, including his own, are down, but his landline is functional..

He tells me that a building behind my cousin's house in Gaza City was destroyed, and is now burning down in a voracious fire. It had an orphanage in it.

My mother says she won't lie..they are terrified.

Flares and firebombs are being shot to light up the sky. Propaganda fliers telling the people of Gaza that “they chose Hamas and and Hamas has abandoned them”; that “Hamas will lead them to catastrophe”‘ superimposed on an image of a bombed-out building; and calling on them to “take charge of their destiny” and to call a given phone number or email with tips and then a warning to call “in secrecy” (thanks for the tip). Israel is also broadcasting on al-Aqsa TV station there.

My father tells me Gaza's streets are as “dark as Kohl“.

You can follow Laila El-Haddad on Twitter:


  • […] Recent NY Times piece mentions President elect Barack Obama’s comments on Gaza: “If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that,” Mr. Obama said in July. “And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” Times story published, December 27, 2008 Update: Palestine, Ground Forces enter Gaza, January 4, 2009 by Ayesha Saldanha, and moments in Gaza both here. […]

  • meg

    I feel you mom. I can only Imagine people without voice. I can only Imagine even journalism corrupted such that your voices don’t go through. I was very hapy for he few minutes you and your Dad was given to express your situation….
    Wish you all the best!

  • Shane

    Why does Hamas keep firing rockets into isreal? Why do the innocent Palestines tollerate the Hamas bringing the fight to them? I don’t get it, why do the locals tolerate random Hamas violence? Is it as simple as hating the Jews? When I see rockets being fired into isreal its hard to blame isreali forces for defending themselves. Feel very bad for innocent Palastinians.

  • rock

    maybe if you damn muslims were so foolish these things wouldnt happen

  • what is happening to the palestinians is an abomination of humanity. what is it that the israelis do not understand about their history? ‘when we have settled the land, all the arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle.’ or at least so said the chief of staff of israeli defence forces, raphael etian, in 1983. has anything changed? israel is built on a lie, a lie that imprisons the palestinians in their own land.

  • martin

    I’m watching all this events on TV and I don’t understand one thing .Where is the Arab World . They only can talk and blame Israelis for crimes , but they do almost nothing to help people of Gaza . What Egyptians are doing there close to Raffah passing ? Nothing . Even egyptians police used to demolish digged tunels to Gaza .I’m totally dissapointed how much the Arab World is afraid of Israel and how much rulers of oil rich Arab countries are bribed by petro-$.Even Iran ,who claimed itself to be a greatest Isreal-enemy , does not a single thing to help people of Gaza .Iran only showed us recently his long – distance rockets , but when the time is coming , its shaking itself of fear of Israel.

  • Mandela

    See the Big Picture…. Millions of Palestinians are living as refugees and not allowed to return to their country, because of a Historical joke.
    How can a human mind logically justify that is something I cannot comprehend….
    They can easily relate to that part of land…. by their names, their skin color, and place of birth………
    Unlike the new comers (Zionists), aliens by all means, with green eyes and white pale skin (very sunny down there) or an eastern bloc ex Soviet Union name and accent.
    Even if it is accepted that they join the Palestinians and live there, There is no justification what so ever to kick the Palestinians out. And to build a state based on single religion.

  • Persephone




  • Corey Thruston Brown

    I can’t amagine hearing rockets hit houses blocks away… my prayers are with you all. Do me a big fav. ask GOD to forgive you… and mean it… meant it from the bottom of your heart. He will hear you… you just got to believe it and mean it! Because this confict is only going to get worst!

  • “Israel” is occupied Palestine, and people living under occupation have the right to resist and fight the occupation. Zionism shares much in common with Nazism. Where the latter believed in racial superiority, the former inflates its arrogance with the myth of the “chosen people of God” with a God-given right to dispossess others of their land and their country. How embarrassing for the Zionists to have created their own Warsaw Ghetto in Gaza! The responsibility of non-Zionist Jews to oppose Israeli aggression is critical. The beautiful Shministim are the hope of the Middle East.

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