Published On: Wed, Jul 9th, 2014

Israel strikes over 160 targets in Gaza, prepares for ground operation

 The Israeli army says it has intensified its offensive on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip Wednesday, striking key Hamas sites in the second day of an operation aimed at quelling rocket fire against Israel. From Twitter:

 Army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner says warplanes early Wednesday attacked more than 130 sites including Hamas command centers and rocket launchers.

photo Ron Almo

photo Ron Almo

Lerner added that at least four rockets were fired at Israel overnight, a decline from the large barrage the evening before. Air raid sirens wailed in Tel Aviv and southern Israel early Wednesday.

CNN detailed in a July 9 report that Palestinian officials report 26 people in Gaza were killed and more than 150 injured in Israeli airstrikes since Operation Protective Edge began Monday. The Palestine Red Crescent Society said it provided medical services to 678 wounded people. And the Defense for Children International-Palestine said eight of the dead were children.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told CNN that a ground operation “might become necessary,” and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the security operation against the militant group Hamas “will probably not end within several days.”

On Tuesday, the Israeli Cabinet gave the authorization for the military to call up 40,000 troops if needed, 10,000 more than were called up during Israel’s offensive into Gaza in November of 2012. Only about 1,000 have been called up so far.

“I hope … that it’s not going to escalate into an all-out war,” said Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian representative to the United States. “For the Israelis, they have to know that there’s no military solution to this problem.”

The rocket attacks into Israel are common, but the distance reached seems to be growing with one rocket striking Hadera (over 60 miles from Gaza).

Hamas is estimated to have 10,000 rockets of varying ranges, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman, said, including some that can reach as far north as Tel Aviv and beyond.

Islamic Jihad, another Palestinian militant group, took responsibility for the rocket fired at Tel Aviv. In a statement, the group called it a “response to the ongoing Zionist aggression.”

“The Palestinian people will defend themselves,” said Osama Hamdan, a foreign policy spokesman for Hamas. If there is a “clear ceasefire, the Palestinians will deal with that.”

Hamas later claimed responsibility for firing rockets on Jerusalem and Haifa.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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