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Israeli Troops Backed by Airstrikes Move Deeper Into Gaza

Israeli forces continued their military campaign in the Gaza Strip Monday as international calls for a cease-fire intensified. Foreign policy analysts mull the latest developments in the fighting.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Next, the Gaza war. We begin with Independent Television News reports from Israel and Gaza from Juliet Bremner and Mark Austin. Gaza is first.

  • MARK AUSTIN:

    Huddled around a makeshift stove in a disused building, the children of Gaza surviving as best they can in what passes here for a safe house. Then, outside, while others played, this happened.

    Another Israeli air strike close by. The truth is, nowhere is safe in Gaza right now. It's a desperate place for children at the best of times.

    Israel insists it doesn't target children. Rather, it blame Hamas fighters who hide among them. But war like this seldom spares the innocent. And while daily now we see the physical damage done to tiny bodies, what we never see is the torment inflicted upon their minds.

  • ABDULLAH SHHADEH, doctor:

    It is a disaster. Actually, these children coming with blood on their face, on their bodies. They are carried by some other people. The father is killed or the mother is killed. And the man who is carrying the injured child doesn't know anything about the child.

  • MARK AUSTIN:

    This little boy filmed by our cameraman in hospital survived, and so too, in a nearby bed, is 14-year-old Abdul Hai. But what nightmares will they suffer when they recover?

    Doctors say 35 percent of the children in Gaza suffer high levels of trauma, and that was before the latest onslaught. At the so-called safe house, the children are settling down for another night of fear.

    "Of course we're afraid of the shelling," says Muhammad, "especially because we've seen mutilated bodies. All day long, we're terrified, and we just stay awake," due to the sound of fighter bombers and war.

  • JULIET BREMNER:

    This time she's escaped with her life, but the latest rocket attack on southern Israel leaves an elderly lady deeply traumatized. The Hamas missiles are still coming, deeper into Israel than ever before.

    These are the remains of rockets fired at the town of Netivot in the last nine days and the reason why Israel says it had to send troops into Gaza.

    Twenty-year-old Nathaniel Halag was among the first casualties, shot in the thigh when his brigade was ambushed.

    NATHANIEL HALAG, Israeli soldier: The fire and the bombing, and the — not easy. No easy.

    ORTAL HALAG, soldier's sister: I was very worried. When they entered Saturday night, I really — I felt bad for this, but I know that we don't have a choice, actually, because they're bombing Ashkelon and Ashdod and Yavne. And there will be not be — there is no end to this until the troops will enter there.

  • JULIET BREMNER:

    In the next room was Yoad Kaplan. His family also insisted this was a sacrifice they had to make.

    FREDA KAPLAN, soldier's mother: We understood it was something that had had to be done. But on a personal level, when it's your own child and it's your little boy who's the soldier, and you taught him how to behave to other people and what to do, and he's not the type of person who goes out gun-happy with it, and starts playing around, and all of a sudden here he is.

  • JULIET BREMNER:

    While the missiles continue to hit their homes, the Israelis seem certain to hold their nerve.

    The Grad rocket that hit this house was carrying around 10 kilos of explosive, enough to force its way straight through the roof, through the building, and down about three feet into the ground. The woman living here got out to a shelter. Otherwise, she'd almost certainly have been killed.

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