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Israeli pilot sorry about Gaza civilian casualties

News18test sharma |

Updated: January 14, 2009, 3:20 PM IST
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Israeli pilot sorry about Gaza civilian casualties
Eight years of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli towns sparked war.

Jerusalem: In the first signs of remorse from the Israeli side, helicopter pilot Captain Orr said he is sorry for the civilian causalities in the ongoing war.

Orr, an Apache helicopter pilot, has flown dozens of combat missions over Gaza. The pilot said that he and his colleagues were aware that in this war besides a lot of enemies, a few uninvolved civilians too are being harmed in Gaza.

He apologised for that and said that the Israeli leaders will be talking about it.

It was day 18 on Tuesday and the two sides continued exchanges of fire.

Eight years of Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israeli towns sparked the war, which began with a devastating air offensive, then expanded to include a ground campaign.

Israeli aircraft struck a Gaza City cemetery on Wednesday, pulverizing newly buried bodies, and pounded militants' weapons positions and arms smuggling tunnels, witnesses and the military said, as guerrillas in Lebanon raised the specter of a new front by sending rockets crashing into northern Israel.

Israeli police said three rockets were fired from Lebanon at open areas near the town of Kiryat Shemona, causing no injuries or damage. Residents were instructed to stay close to bomb shelters and safe rooms following the second attack from Lebanon in less than a week, the military said.

On Wednesday, UN chief Ban Ki-moon was meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in an effort to wrest a diplomatic end to the violence, which began 19 days ago.

Some agencies quote that Israel's onslaught against Gaza's Islamic Hamas rulers has killed more than 940 Palestinians, half of them civilians, according to Palestinian hospital officials.

The toll included four Palestinians, including at least two militants, killed in overnight fighting, hospital officials said.

Thirteen Israelis have also been killed since the offensive began, four of them by rocket fire from Gaza.

Though diplomatic efforts have made little concrete progress, envoys of the militant Palestinian Hamas resumed talks in Cairo with Egyptian intelligence officials on a truce proposal for the embattled Gaza Strip, officials said on Wednesday.

Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak, meanwhile, left for Saudi Arabia today for talks with his ally, King Abdullah on the conflict which has pitched Arabs in a new controversy.

The defiant leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip vowed that the Islamists would emerge victorious.

(With inputs from CNN-IBN and various agencies)

First Published: January 14, 2009, 3:20 PM IST
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