Mon, December 29, 2008
World > Middle East > Israeli assault on Gaza

Analysts expect more violence in future

2008-12-27 19:40:28 GMT2008-12-28 03:40:28 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Bodies of Palestinian Hamas policemen are scattered on the ground following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Dec. 27, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

Two Palestinian Hamas policemen help evacuate a wounded colleague as a second one waves for help following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on Dec. 27, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

RAMALLAH, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian analysts expect more violence throughout the territories in future following Israeli massive airstrikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, causing extensive Palestinian casualties.

Jihad Hamad, an Palestinian academic from Gaza's Azhar University told Xinhua that the Saturday strikes could just be the beginning of more conflict.

Israel launched air strikes against the Gaza Strip from 11:30 a.m. local time (0930 GMT), hitting more than 30 targets, most of them security compounds run by the Islamic Hamas movement.

At least 200 Palestinians were killed and 750 others wounded in a series of rapid and intensive Israeli air strikes, making it the harshest Israeli assault on Gaza since the territory was captured during the Middle East War in 1967.

"After the strike, the Israelis may wait for a while to see the reaction from Hamas, but since Hamas didn't release any sign of caving in after the strike, the Israeli operation will probably continue," said Hamad.

Analysts in the Gaza Strip said the Israeli offensive, for sure, has dealt a heavy blow to Hamas, as almost all of the Palestinian Islamist movement's security apparatus were badly damaged during the Israeli bombardment.

A big number of Hamas security forces members have been killed including Hamas police head Tawfiq Jaber, chief of Hamas' Security and Protection Service Ismail al-Jabary and Central Gaza Strip governor Abu Ahmad Ashour.

Palestinian sources said Hamas leaders did not expect that Israel launches the military operation on Saturday, which is the Sabbath day for Jews. In addition, the Israeli strike went without any warning. Those are the reason behind the heavy death toll.

According to Palestinian observers, senior Hamas leaders have now gone underground in fear of Israeli assassination, and the movement is in a state of emergency after the strike.

Although Hamas was heavily hit, the movement is still functioning, they held.

Hamad also told Xinhua that Hamas leaders are hiding but its media are still broadcast, and they are still communicating with each other and contacting with the militants on the ground.

Hamas has vowed, after the Israeli strike, to revenge with rocket attacks and suicide bombings.

Just about an hour after the Israeli airstrike, militants in Gaza bombed southern Israeli towns with rockets, killing one Israeli woman.

In addition to the situation in Gaza, analysts also believe that the deadly Israeli operation in Gaza could ignite another intifada (uprising) in all Palestinian territories including the West Bank.

On Saturday afternoon, large-scale protests were held in different West Bank cities, and clashes between protestors and the Israeli soldiers were reported in the city of Ramallah and Hebron.

"Palestinian people, either in Gaza or in the West Bank, were shocked when they saw piles of dead bodies either with their own eyes or through the TV," said Hamad.

"At this point, it's still hard to predict what will happen next, it could be the start of anything horrible," he added.

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