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2008 December


Dec 31 2008 Hamas Refuses To End Rocket Attacks

JERUSALEM - Israel has rejected international pressure for an immediate, even if temporary, cease-fire five days into its offensive against Hamas militants and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Despite massive damage and a toll of nearly 400 Palestinians killed, Hamas also remains defiant, continuing to fire rockets ever deeper into Israel.

After meeting Wednesday afternoon, Israeli […]


Dec 31 2008 NASA Issues Report On Columbia Disaster

WASHINGTON - The US space agency NASA issued a report on the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster Tuesday, concluding that nothing could have been done to save the shuttle’s seven crewmembers. The report outlined a series of failures during the last moments of the ill-fated mission that investigators say need to be addressed to make […]


Dec 31 2008 Israel Rejects 48 Hour Cease Fire With Hamas

JERUSALEM - Israel has rejected an immediate 48-hour cease-fire with Hamas, saying it will push ahead with its military assault on the Gaza Strip.
Israeli officials say Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his defense and foreign ministers made the decision after discussing the French-proposed truce during a meeting overnight. 
Israeli war planes continued their assault on Hamas […]


Dec 30 2008 Israeli Citizens Face Constant Rocket Fire

SDEROT - Israeli aerial attacks and bombardments of the Gaza Strip continued Tuesday for the fourth day in a row. At least 350 Palestinians have been killed in the military offensive thus far, including at least 60 civilians. Three Israelis have been killed in rocket attacks by Palestinian militants. 
Another day of air strikes, bombing runs […]


Dec 30 2008 Egypt Refuses To Open Gaza Border Crossing

CAIRO - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak says Egypt will not fully open the border crossing into Gaza, unless Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is in control there. Meanwhile, Arab diplomats are preparing to discuss the crisis Wednesday.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is condemning Israel’s military operations in the Gaza Strip and demanding that Israel and the Palestinian […]


Dec 30 2008 Hamas Continues Launching Rockets Into Israel

JERUSALEM - Israel is continuing a bloody offensive in the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. About 350 Palestinians have been killed, mostly Hamas militants, but also about 60 civilians. Three Israelis have been killed in rocket attacks. 
Ambulances raced through Gaza, as Israel launched a fourth day of air strikes […]


Dec 30 2008 Israel Not Interested In Truce With Hamas

JERUSALEM - Israeli officials say they are not interested in a truce with the Palestinian militant group Hamas, as airstrikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip continue into a fourth day.
Authorities in the Gaza Strip say ten people were killed in Tuesday’s Israeli airstrikes, including two young sisters.  The airstrikes destroyed five Hamas government […]


Dec 30 2008 US Welcomes Resignation Of Abdullahi Yusuf

WASHINGTON - The U.S. State Department on Monday said it supports the decision of Somalia’s politically-embattled President Abdullahi Yusuf to resign as head of the country’s transitional government.  The United States will contribute $5 million to the formation of a joint security force of Somali factions. 
Officials here are welcoming the resignation of President Yusuf and […]


Dec 29 2008 Israeli Warplanes Destroy Hamas Targets In Gaza

JERUSALEM - Israeli aircraft and warships bombarded Palestinian targets again Monday - the third day of an offensive against Hamas and its infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. More than 300 Palestinians have been reported killed and hundreds more injured. Two Israelis have also been killed since the offensive began on Saturday.  

For the third day […]


Dec 29 2008 Israel Bombs University in Gaza

By Jeremy Reynalds
Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
GAZA STRIP (ANS) – Israeli air force jets have bombed the Islamic University in the Gaza Strip, a significant cultural symbol for Hamas. 
A BBC News story reported that warplanes also struck Hamas government offices as air raids aimed at forcing Palestinian militants to halt rocket fire into southern […]


Dec 29 2008 Palestinians Battle Egyptian Security Forces

JERUSALEM - Israel’s deadly air offensive in the Gaza Strip has sparked clashes between Palestinian gunmen and Egyptian security forces. Nearly 300 Palestinians, most of them armed militants, have been killed since Israel launched the offensive on Saturday.
Hundreds of Palestinians breached the Gaza border fence in four places and poured into Egypt on Sunday. Egyptian […]


Dec 29 2008 Israel Declares Gaza Strip Closed Military Zone

JERUSALEM - An Israeli offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip is in its third day, with the Palestinian death toll from air strikes reaching at least 310.
A tally Monday by a U.N. aid agency said at least 51 civilians have been killed in Gaza since Saturday. A (UNRWA) spokesman said the estimate is […]


Dec 28 2008 Abbas: Palestinians Could Have Avoided Airstrikes

CAIRO - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is saying the Palestinians could have avoided the ongoing attacks by Israel if the militant group Hamas had continued its six-month truce with the Jewish state.
Mr. Abbas Sunday in Cairo called on his rivals to renew their truce with Israel in order to prevent further bloodshed in Gaza.  Egypt’s foreign […]


Dec 28 2008 US Blames Hamas For Breaking Cease-Fire With Israel

WASHINGTON - The United States is blaming the Palestinian militant group Hamas for breaking a cease-fire and attacking Israel, which retaliated with airstrikes that have left more than 200 people dead. U.S. officials called for a restoration of the cease-fire and urged Israel to avoid civilian casualties. 
After the bloodiest day of Mideast fighting in years, […]


Dec 27 2008 Arab Leaders Shocked By Israeli Airstrikes

WASHINGTON - Israel’s deadly airstrikes on Hamas compounds in the Gaza Strip are drawing sharp reactions in the Arab world, and a variety of responses elsewhere.
The Israeli attacks brought immediate condemnation from Arab leaders, and especially from Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum who said the Palestinian people would not “live in bloodshed and between body parts, wounded […]


Dec 27 2008 Israel Conducts Airstrikes On Hamas

JERUSALEM - Palestinian sources say Israeli airstrikes on Hamas compounds in the Gaza Strip have killed more than 170 people.
Israel’s air force fired at least 30 missiles into Gaza, destroying several Hamas security compounds in a brief but deadly assault.
Plumes of smoke rose over Gaza, and there was panic and confusion in the streets. Television […]


Dec 25 2008 Israel Warns Hamas Concerning Rocket Fire

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has issued what he calls a “last minute” call to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, urging them to pressure their Hamas rulers to stop rocket fire into Israel.Mr. Olmert made the appeal during a television interview with Arab station, Al-Arabiya on Thursday, during which he said Israel will […]


Dec 25 2008 US Military Prepares To Fight Irregular Wars

PENTAGON - The U.S. Defense Department has taken several steps in recent weeks to ensure that hard won lessons in counterinsurgency are not lost when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are over. The military has been ordered to establish organizations to preserve counterinsurgency capabilities, the Army has published a new training manual focusing on […]


Dec 25 2008 President Bush Reverses Pardon

WASHINGTON - U.S. President George Bush, in an unusual move, has reversed one of 19 pardons that he issued on Tuesday.
White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement Wednesday the president acted based on information that has subsequently come to light in the case of convicted Brooklyn, New York developer Isaac Robert Toussie. 
Media […]


Dec 24 2008 USS Pueblo Crew Released Forty Years Ago

SEOUL - Forty years ago, North Korea freed the crew of the USS Pueblo, a U.S. Navy ship it had captured 11 months earlier. The ship itself is still in North Korea. 
Ralph McClintock, a surviving member of the Pueblo’s crew, was a 24-year-old communications technician aboard the Pueblo when it was captured off North Korea’s […]


Dec 24 2008 Joe Biden Promises Action To Revive Economy

WASHINGTON - U.S. Vice President-elect Joe Biden says the incoming White House economic team is making progress toward agreeing on details of an economic stimulus plan. President-elect Barack Obama’s advisers are increasing the number of jobs they want to create.  
As he met with the economic team, Biden said Tuesday that America’s job losses are […]


Dec 23 2008 Major Internet Cables Severed Serving Egypt, Persian Gulf

CAIRO - Three main Internet cables from Italy to North Africa were inexplicably severed in the second such incident in a year, plunging Egypt and several other Arab countries into a communications crisis. Some suspect that sabotage was involved, although it is too soon to tell.
Egypt and other Arab countries from Libya to Saudi Arabia […]


Dec 23 2008 Mullah Mohammad Omar Denies Talks With Afghnistan

ISLAMABAD - Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar is refuting reports that his group is planning talks with the Afghan government.
Omar said in a statement Tuesday the Taliban has not held negotiations on the issue in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates or elsewhere.
The Taliban leader is believed to be in hiding in western Pakistan. The […]


Dec 23 2008 US to Deploy Additional Troops to Afghanistan

PENTAGON - The Pentagon has confirmed reports that it will send a helicopter unit to Afghanistan early next year to support thousands of additional ground troops it plans to deploy to join NATO’s force in the country.
Officials say the combat aviation brigade from the U.S. Army will deploy between April and June with 2,800 troops […]


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