An Israeli Defense Force (IDF) amored vehicle is seen near the border with the Gaza Strip on Nov. 15, 2012. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel would do "whatever" to defend itself against attacks from the Gaza Strip, and all options, including a ground operation in the coastal enclave, are "on the table." (Xinhua/Jini)
JERUSALEM, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel would do "whatever" to defend itself against attacks from the Gaza Strip, and all options, including a ground operation in the coastal enclave, are "on the table."
"Israel would do whatever necessary to end rockets and missile attacks on Israeli civilians," the prime minister said during a press conference, adding that he hopes that "Hamas got the message " amid Israel's "Operation Pillar of Defense" in Gaza.
Netanyahu accused the Hamas leadership of targeting Israeli civilians as well as jeopardizing the lives of Palestinians in Gaza.
"Hamas and the other terror organizations are committing two crimes of war both at once: they hide behind civilians as they are shooting rockets at Israeli civilians," the prime minister said.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) declared Wednesday evening the commencement of "Operation Pillar of Defense" in the Gaza Strip, starting with the targeted killing of Hamas military wing chief Ahmed al-Jaabari, as well as a series of air strikes.
An IDF spokesperson later confirmed 200 hits on targets in Gaza, including caches of long-range missiles. The Palestinians reported that so far 13 people in Gaza have been killed and 40 wounded, among them 20 children.
During a press briefing earlier Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who was visiting the headquarters of the military's southern command, said the operation might take a while and cost Israel "some heavy losses, as well as successes."
Three Israelis were killed early Thursday in an apartment building in Kiryat Malachi, 25 km from the Gaza Strip, due to a direct missile hit. A four-year-old boy was moderately wounded and is currently treated at a hospital near Tel Aviv. Another baby was said to be lightly injured in the attack.
Later Thursday, three Israeli soldiers were confirmed injured and evacuated for medical attention at the Soroka hospital in Be' er Sheva, after their outpost was hit by a missile. One is moderately wounded and the other two others were lightly injured.
More than 200 rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip during the past 24 hours. The IDF reported that the Iron Dome anti- missile system has intercepted 80 rockets so far above Israeli towns.
Both the Israeli prime minister and defense minister iterated that Israel would do "whatever it takes" to achieve its goals of damaging the militant infrastructure in Gaza and restore peace to Israeli southern communities.
They also suggested that all options are on the table and army battalions have been moving towards the Gaza border.
JERUSALEM, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has given the nod to call up 30,000 reservists, as the fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip intensified Thursday, Israeli TV reported.
The legal advisor to the security establishment on Thursday evening sought the government's approval to call up 30,000 troops, the Defense Ministry said in a statement sent to Xinhua. Full story
GAZA, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The armed wings of Islamic Hamas movement and Islamic Jihad on Thursday claimed responsibility for firing two Iranian-made Fajr rockets that landed in Jaffa and Rishon Kitzion, south of Israel's Tel Aviv.
The two groups said in two separate leaflets emailed to reporters that their militants fired the rockets in response to the killing of Ahmed al-Jaabari, head of the Hamas armed wing, by Israel on Wednesday. Full story
GAZA, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Hamas announced Thursday that Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil will visit the Gaza Strip on Friday.
The Egyptian leadership "informed us that Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and several Egyptian ministers will visit the Gaza Strip on Friday," said Taher al-Nouno, spokesman of the de facto Hamas government in Gaza. Full story
CAIRO, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Israel's military operation against the Gaza Strip went on for a second day on Thursday with casualties reported on both sides as some Islamic nations voiced condemnation against the Jewish country.
The Palestinian enclave of Gaza came under fire Wednesday when Israel launched a series of airstrikes, which killed Islamic Hamas movement's armed wing commander Ahmed al-Jaabari, in response to Gaza militants' incessant rockets fired in to its southern part in the past few days. Full story
KHARTOUM, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chief of the Palestinian Hamas Political Bureau Khaled Meshaal on Thursday said Israel, which launched a military operation on Gaza, is testing the Arab nations after the turmoil that they went through.
"Israel is testing the Arab nations, especially Egypt," said Meshaal when addressing the General Conference of Sudan's Islamic Movement, describing the Jewish country as "weak and confused" facing the changes brought about by the Arab revolts. Full story