Kills over 38 Palestinians, including children, as military targets Hamas  Israel intensifies Gaza air strikes

Gaza/Jerusalem/Ramallah : At least 38 Palestinians have been killed, including 11 women and children on Wednesday, as the Israeli military pounded militant positions in Gaza while almost the whole of Israel came under rocket fire from Hamas which warned that all Israelis are now targets, reports PTI.

Hamas-ruled Gaza witnessed its bloodiest day since November, 2012 as Israel’s military said it targeted 118 concealed rocket launchers, 10 Hamas command-and-control centres and 10 tunnels, overnight injuring nearly 300.

It brought to 440 the number of targets in Gaza attacked as part of “Operation Protective Edge”. The military said 117 rockets had hit Israel on Tuesday, with the Iron Dome interceptor system shooting down 20 while three rockets landed around Jerusalem, the BBC reported.

At least one militant was among the 17 killed on Wednesday as well as six children and five women, Palestinian emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

Israeli Air Force strikes across the coastal strip which targeted 160 sites, including homes of eight senior Hamas operatives, Muhammad Sinwar and Ra’ed Atar, as efforts to stop rocket attacks on Israel’s southern areas intensified.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said their houses served as Hamas command centres and were used in coordinating the rocket fire on Israel’s south. Israeli warplanes also bombed the home of a senior Islamic Jihad militant in Beit Hanoun post-midnight, killing him and five members of his family.

A Gaza health ministry spokesman confirmed that the attack killed Hafiz Hamad and five members of his family. The deaths brought to 28 the number of casualties since the launch of Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ early Tuesday, with the Israeli army not ruling out the possibility of a major ground offensive having called 40,000 reservists on duty.

Hamas also fired four rockets at Tel Aviv, 60 kilometres north of Gaza, setting sirens off across the city. Another rocket fired earlier on Israel’s most populous city was shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that Israel “immediately stop” its air campaign and has called on the international community to pressurise Tel Aviv to halt its military campaign.

Palestinian factions want calm,

but Israel rejects: Abbas

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday night accused Israel of rejecting a truce with the Palestinians to end the tension in the Gaza Strip. “I contacted the Palestinian factions in Gaza and they want to reach calm, but Israel rejects reaching calm,” Xinhua quoted Abbas in a televised speech, according to IANS.

Harinder Mishra             

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