Saturday, 27 December 2008 - Day One
The first day of the onslaught was the bloodiest in the history of the occupation. At around 11:30 am (one of the busiest times of day) 60 Israeli warplanes launched simultaneous air strikes on targets throughout the Gaza Strip, focusing on Gaza City. The initial attacks were directed against the security and police headquarters, sites of Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) and several governmental institutions.
The timing and form of the Israeli air strikes indicate the Israelis intended to cause maximum civilian casualties; the attacks took place during the rush hour, coinciding with the change of school shifts. This is the time of day when the highest number of civilians and children in particular are on the streets of Gaza.
Figures obtained from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza confirm that 334 Palestinians were killed on the first day, including 238 police officers, 12 children and 6 women. Chief of Police, General Tawfiq Jaber, was among the dead. More than 5,000 school children suffered shock and injuries from the bombings. Gaza’s medical supplies were already at a minimum because of the Israeli and Western-backed blockade of the territory.
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad