Casualties rise in Gaza offensive


“Casualties have been pouring into over-stretched hospitals in the Gaza Strip as Israel presses on with its offensive against Palestinian militant groups.”

Palestinian medical officials say at least 90 people, including many civilians and 26 children, have been killed since the ground assault began.

According to Palestinian medical sources, more than 500 people have been killed and some 2,500 wounded since the Israeli operation began 10 days ago. These figures cannot be independently verified.

‘Mainly civilians’

There were reports of fierce fighting in northern Gaza as news began to emerge of the scale of the problems facing medical staff.

Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert, one of two foreign doctors working at Gaza’s biggest hospital, al-Shifa, said they had received a “new wave” of very serious injuries on Monday.

“We have many amputations, head injuries, and of course for a hospital in this situation… it’s extremely difficult to handle,” he told the BBC.

He warned that the hospital would be unable to operate much longer unless it received fresh medical supplies.

“People are dying now because of lack of supplies. We have all operating rooms full. Yesterday we were operating on two patients in one operating room… This is a complete disaster”.

Israel has insisted that it is not targeting civilians and accuses Hamas of using civilians as human shields by operating in populated areas.

But Dr Gilbert said the overwhelming majority of casualties he had treated were civilians.

“Among all the hundreds we have seen so far, we have seen two fighters,” he said, adding that women and children alone made up 25% of the death toll, and 45% of the wounded.
Read on..

(Video: Inside Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital)
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Al Franken to be declared certified as winner in Minnesota Senate race


Democrat Al Franken will be declared the winner of the tight U.S. Senate contest in Minnesota, emerging from a ballot recount with a slim margin over Republican Norm Coleman, state officials said on Sunday.

But Coleman, the incumbent, has asked Minnesota’s supreme court to require that a few hundred additional absentee ballots be included in the recount — and he could then ask the court to investigate the contest all over again.

“At the moment, Franken has a 225-vote lead,” after the weekend counting of what were deemed the last uncounted absentee ballots, said Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat who oversaw the process.

Ritchie said unless the supreme court acts on Coleman’s request and orders more ballots to be counted, he will reconvene the state’s Canvassing Board on Monday to certify Franken as the winner of the November 4 contest.

Woo hoo!!!  Go, Franken!!

UPDATE: The Free Press, Mankato, 11/6/08

“Yesterday the voters spoke. We prevailed,” Coleman said Wednesday at a news conference. He noted Franken could opt to waive the recount.

“It’s up to him whether such a step is worth the tax dollars it will take to conduct,” Coleman said, telling reporters he would “step back” if he were in Franken’s position.

I guess we’ll see what Norm Coleman will do, now that the shoe is on the other foot.  😉

HT:  Dr Hussein Matt on ThinkProgress

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