At least 24 dead in Gaza as Israel launches air strikes, mulls full scale ground invasion
Israeli air strikes pounded targets in Gaza for a third day on July 8 in what the military says is a response to vollies of Hamas rockets fired at towns in southern Israel and the capital.
In a dramatic escalation of the conflict, militants fired more than 130 rockets at Israeli civilians, CNN reported. Palestinians reported 24 people in Gaza were killed and more than 150 injured in the air strikes.
In a related development, up to 40,000 Israeli reservists have been call to active duty and a source told the BBC that a full scale ground invasion of Gaza might be necessary in order to stop the constant rocket fire coming from Hamas militants inside the territory.
Israel said it targeted about 150 “terror sites” in Gaza, a densely populated city of more than 2 million people.
On July 8 Hamas rockets targeted Tel Aviv but fell short in open, unpopulated areas, reports said.
Most of the rockets have the range to hit major Israeli cities, but are crudely made and have no guidance system and are fired in the general direction of population centres. Nearly all have been shot down by Israel’s so-called ‘Iron Dome’ anti missile batteries, according to CNN.
Hamas earlier said its members fired rockets into southern Israel to respond to “Zionist aggression.”
The latest cycle of violence has spiked in recent days over the murders of three young Israelis and a Palestinian teenager, the latter of whom was burned alive in what is widely believed to have been a revenge killing.
Towns in southern Israel , which are well within range of Hamas missiles, have been ordered to close schools and summer camps, the BBC said.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been attempting to reassure the family of murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdair that the authorities will bring the perpetrators to justice.
By Mark Kennedy