Hundreds Flee Latest Israeli Bombings
In the Gaza Strip, hundreds of Palestinians have fled their homes amidst a new round of Israeli bombings in the town of Rafah. Israel says it’s targeting smuggling tunnels in response to an attack that killed one of its soldiers near the Gaza border on Tuesday. The bombings come as Middle East envoy George Mitchell is in Egypt on the first stop of his Mideast tour. Earlier today, Mitchell warned against the collapse of the informal ceasefire.
Middle East envoy George Mitchell: ”It is of critical importance that the ceasefire be extended and consolidated, and we support Egypt’s continuing efforts in that regard. The United States is committed to vigorously pursuing lasting peace and stability in the region. The decision by President Obama to dispatch me to come to this region less than one week after his inauguration is a clear and tangible
evidence of this commitment."
Gaza Sewage Plant Suffers Extensive Damage
Officials with the Palestinian Water Authority say they’re now two months behind on repairing a critical sewage plant because of damage from the Israeli assault. The officials say several air strikes badly damaged water pipes, and Israeli army bulldozers “deliberately destroyed” the chambers of five water basins. The plant was under emergency repair to prevent it from overflowing and endangering some 10,000 people. The repair was supposed to have been completed this week, but the damage from the Israeli attack means it won’t be done until at least March. The Independent of London reports the plant’s repair had been virtually the only development aid project allowed by Israel in the last eighteen months.