Bombing is just first phase of Gaza op

BBC:

Israel's air assault on Gaza is "the first in several stages" of operations aimed at ending militant rocket fire, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said.

As the bombing continued for a fourth day, another top official said Israel was ready for "long weeks of action".

Palestinian officials say 10 people died in the latest attacks, taking the death toll to over 360 since Saturday. Four Israelis have died in rocket fire.

A BBC reporter says Israeli tanks and troops are massed along Gaza's border.

Correspondents say this could be a prelude to ground operations, but could also be intended to build pressure on the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza.

"The army is concentrating troops near the Gaza Strip, but I don't want to give any details over what we are planning in the future," Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said.

...

Richard Falk - the UN special rapporteur for human rights in the Palestinian territories - said the international community must put more pressure on Israel to end its assault.

"Israel is committing a shocking series of atrocities by using modern weaponry against a defenceless population - attacking a population that has been enduring a severe blockade for many months," Mr Falk said in a BBC interview.

...

Falk is not paying attention to the facts. Since the first day of the operation the casualty figures have been extremely low compared to the destruction of infrastructure. If Israel was really doing what he is saying the casualty figures would be in the thousands rather tahn the 10 or so yesterday. The fact is that Israel has warned the Palestinians of the target areas and theya re avoiding them. People like Falk have no credibility on this issue.

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