Latest developments from Gaza, this is a abridged version of the full report, which can be read at the link below.http://msn.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story....0769&pnum=2
Israel says it has agreed to set up a "humanitarian corridor" to ship vital supplies to the people of the Gaza Strip.
The office of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says in a statement that the humanitarian corridor idea came from the UN Security Council, and he accepted it.
The announcement comes after Israeli mortar shells exploded near a UN school in Gaza sheltering hundreds of people displaced by Israel's onslaught against Hamas militants, killing at least 30 Palestinians, tearing bodies apart and staining streets with blood.
Israel's military said its shelling was a response to mortar fire from within the school, pressing its assertion that Hamas militants are using civilians as cover.
Two residents of the area who spoke by telephone said they saw a handful of militants firing mortar shells from a street near the school.
Israel's troops and tanks pushed into Gaza after a week of intensive bombardment from warplanes in an offensive that has killed nearly 600 Palestinians, around half of them civilians, according to UN and Palestinian officials. The offensive was triggered by militant rocket fire on southern Israel. Four Israelis have been killed in continued rocket strikes since the offensive began on December 27.
"There's nowhere safe in Gaza. Everyone here is terrorised and traumatized," said John Ging, head of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.
A military statement said it received intelligence that the dead included Hamas operatives, including members of a rocket launching cell. It identified two of them as Imad Abu Askar and Hassan Abu Askar.
Two residents who spoke to an AP reporter by phone said the two brothers were known to be low-level Hamas militants. They said a group of militants - one of them said four - were firing mortar shells from near the school.
An Israeli shell targeted the men, but missed and they fled, the witnesses said, refusing to allow their names to be published because they feared for their safety. Then another three shells landed nearby, exploding among civilians, they said.
Palestinian militants have frequently fired from residential areas in the past.
Ging said the UN agency's staff work to prevent militants from entering the 23 schools it is using to shelter 15,000 people.
"Unfortunately tonight's incident is just another example of how Hamas operate," said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.
"This is not the first time they have exploited a UN facility. This is not the first time that they have deliberately used innocent civilians as human shields."
This is now just a bloodbath of epic proportions. I accept that Hamas are the cause of this current conflict, but Israel CANNOT justify a mortality rate of 1 - 75 civilian deaths. The "innocents as human shields" excuse just doesn't cut it either - the Israeli govt CHOOSES to fire at that shield. The decision to do so is tantamount to murder. But I doubt anyone will be brought before a war crimes court for it.