Media reports said efforts for a ceasefire were on even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel was ready to “significantly expand” its operation in Gaz.
Gaza City : Israel pounded Gaza enclave with a barrage of missiles for a fifth day today, killing at least 18 people, including women and children, targeting media houses and the home a Hamas official, and threatening to “send Gaza back to the Middle Ages”.
At least seven members of the same family, including four children, were among nine dead when an Israeli missile hit a home in Gaza City. Another three people were killed in air strikes, medics said.
Three children were killed when a refugee camp in central Gaza became the target of Israeli attacks. The attacks also wounded 12 people. Later in the day, another strike killed three people, including two women in the narrow Gaza Strip, even as France’s top diplomat Laurent Fabius arrived in the region to bolster Egyptian efforts to broker a ceasefire.
At least eight Palestinian journalists were injured when air raids hit buildings housing local media offices on Sunday in strikes that have already claimed over 60 lives. While the first round of strikes destroyed a building housing Arab Al Quds television network, the second round of raids hit a building with offices of Sky News, al-Arabiya, and the official Hamas-run channel al-Aqsa TV.
One of the injured Palestinian journalists had to have a leg amputated. Russian TV network Russia Today said its office in one of the buildings was also damaged. Even as media reports said efforts for a ceasefire were on, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel was ready to “significantly expand” its operation in Gaza. Israel’s Interior Minister went a step ahead when he said “the goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages”. “Only then will Israel be calm for 40 years,” Interior Minister Eli Yishai was quoted as saying by Haaretz newspaper.
Meanwhile, fighters in Gaza fired rockets into Israel though two of them, aimed at the commercial hub of Tel Aviv, were shot down by Israel’s anti-missile system, reports said. Huge plumes of smoke were seen billowing the Gaza sky after five days of incessant bombing which Israel says is aimed at deterring Hamas fighters from launching rockets into its territory. The violence escalated after Israel killed a Hamas military commander in a raid on Wednesday. Fears are also growing of a ground assault by Israel as thousands of Israeli troops backed by armour massed along the border.