Israel Shells UN Headquarters

Offensive escalates even as ceasefire hopes rise
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2009 6:51 AM CST
Smoke and fire are seen during an Israeli military operation in Gaza City, Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009.   (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
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(Newser) – Israeli shells set fire to the UN’s relief agency headquarters and a hospital today, as Israeli tanks pushed deep into Gaza City, the BBC reports. Some 700 people were inside the compound, along with large amounts of fuel and aid supplies; at least three UN employees were injured. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he was outraged by the attack, which Ehud Barak called a “grave mistake.”

 A spokesman said the UN is now suspending its relief efforts. The attack comes amidst an apparent escalation, and Israeli officials say their forces attacked 70 military targets overnight. Israeli tanks have pushed close to the heart of Gaza City, exchanging fire with Hamas fighters. Israel’s head negotiator is headed to Cairo to discuss a ceasefire, in a conflict that has now killed more than 1,000 Gazans and 13 Israelis.