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Death toll in Gaza rises to 350; over 1,600 injured

Dec. 29, 2008 9:39 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 29, 2008 9:39 A.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - Seven died when Israeli shells hit the home of Al-Qassam Brigades leader Maher Zaquot in Beit Lahiya north of Gaza City just before five o'clock Monday evening.

Witnesses reported that the house had been evacuated shortly before the shelling began, and those killed were passersby on their way home or to local grocery stores to buy food. The shelling also demolished the nearby houses.

Shortly after the home of an Al-Aqsa Brigades leader was targeted in Jabaliya and the home of Hamas leader Ayman Balksam in the same neighborhood. Several resistance activists were killed in the two attacks.

The overall death toll of the strikes, which began at 11:30am Saturday morning is 345, while about 1,000 Palestinians are estimated to be injured and more than 200 critically so.

A timeline of the day's airstrikes is:

4:00pm An UNRWA employee and a Police officer were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Al-Qarara village east of Khan Younis.

2:30pm An air raid targeted a car parked near Al-Khizindar gas station in the northern Gaza Strip. The driver was killed instantly and several passersby were injured.

2:25pm Israeli airstrikes hit two targets killing four activists from Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades and one child, the son of an activist. were injured and evacuated to Kamal Udwan Hospital.

Several others were injured in the attack that took place near Khalil Ar-Rahman Mosque in the village of Abasan Al-Kabira east of Khan Younis. The dead child was identified by medical soruces as Ziad Abu Teir, he was eight-years-old.

The military wing threatened to retaliate.

1:00pm Israeli air forces bombarded a security headquarters in southern Gaza City near Al-Quds Open University.

1:40pm Two were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the Tal Az-Za'atar and Izbat Abid Rabbo neighborhoods of the northern Gaza Strip.

12:30pm An activist affiliated to Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades was killed in an Israeli raid east of Gaza City.

12:00pm Israeli airstrikes targeted a training field for the Hamas-affiliated Al-Qassam Brigades near Al-Bureij Refugee Camp in the central Gaza Strip. Parts of the camp were destroyed but no casualties were immediately reported.

12:00pm A house at the Ar-Rimal neighborhood in the center of Gaza City was also bombarded by missiles; it stood near the de facto government's Culture Ministry building.

9:30am Israeli warships bombarded the headquarters of the Palestinian presidency on Monday morning in Gaza City.

The compound is known as Al-Muntada. No casualties were immediately reported in that attack.

According to Muawiya Hassanein, the director of Ambulance and Emergency Services in the Palestinian Health Ministry, the death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 316.

Several dead and injured are reportedly still under the debris of collapsed buildings.

Sunday overnight

Israeli air forces launched on Sunday night and Monday morning several sorties against targets in the Gaza Strip, killing and injuring several people including women and children.

In Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes destroyed a mosque, killing at least seven people. In another sortie on a house in Jabalia, five people from the Ba'lousha family were killed, including children.

Israeli forces also fired after midnight several missiles at the girls' dormitory in the Islamic University in Tal Al-Hawa in southern Gaza City. Eyewitnesses said they heard five missiles fired from what they believed was an F16 warplane.

Two people were killed in a strike on a car in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip and a terminal used for fishermen in the north.

A mosque in Jabalia called Abu Bakr As-Siddiq was destroyed and initial news reports indicated that there are casualties.

***Updated 22:05 Bethlehem time

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