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Israel intensifies offensive on Gaza as Hamas renews rocket attacks

English.news.cn   2014-07-09 17:09:41

JERUSALEM, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli military confirmed it has intensified the offensive on the Gaza Strip, pounding 160 Hamas sites overnight Wednesday as its massive air assaults against Gaze-based Islamist militants, who also renewed their rocket fires, entered the second day.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement that among the targets it struck were 118 concealed rocket launching sites, seven "terror tunnels" and ten Hamas command centers.

Lerner said that overnight Wednesday four rockets were fired at Israel, a significant decline compared to the salvo of 45 rockets fired last night at major Israeli cities.

He also hinted that the rockets that hit Hadera were probably shipped from Iran.

Also on Wednesday, Gaza militants renewed its rocket attacks on central Israel, including Tel Aviv. No casualties were reported so far.

Hamas's armed wing al-Qassam Brigades claimed the rocket attacks, saying it had launched four M75 rockets at Israel's commercial capital.

Sirens sounded off in Tel Aviv on Wednesday morning and Iron Dome anti-missile battery intercepted at least two rockets.

Israel launched a massive air campaign with the codename of " Operation Protective Edge" on Gaza early on Tuesday morning, following nearly 300 rockets fired from the Strip toward Israel's southern communities.

Over the past two days, the IDF has launched approximately 440 air strikes on Gaza.

Palestinian media reported that the air strikes killed at least 20 people in Gaza, including at least two young children.

Israel masses troops on the Gaza border as it prepares for ground invasion. Yesterday it began to draft 40,000 reserve soldiers. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the operation "will probably not end within several days."

Israel's Interior Minister Gidon Saar said the military were ordered to "significantly" expand the campaign on Hamas and to do everything "to return the quiet" and ensure a "significant blow to Hamas and the terror organizations in Gaza."

Palestinian media reported that the air strikes killed at least 20 people in Gaza, including two young children.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday night accused Israel of rejecting a truce with the Palestinians to end the tension in the Gaza Strip.

In a televised speech, Abbas urged the international community to help stop "the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people," adding that "the unity government will do all its best to help the Palestinians in Gaza and Jerusalem."

The Palestinian state-run news agency Wafa reported that Abbas had spoke on the phone with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al- Sisi to discuss the growing tension in the Gaza Strip. Sisi promised that Egypt will help bring calm in the Gaza Strip and avoid more Israeli strikes.

Editor: Yang Yi
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