Netanyahu: Israel Prepared to ‘Significantly Expand’ Gaza Offensive

Posted November 18th, 2012 at 6:20 am (UTC-5)
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is prepared to “significantly expand” its operations against militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Mr. Netanyahu's comments on Sunday come as thousands of Israeli troops are gathered on the border as the conflict with the Palestinians in Gaza enters its fifth day.

Israel blasted targets in the Gaza Strip Sunday, launching aerial and naval attacks in response to continuing Palestinian rocket fire.

The Israeli military widened its range of targets early Sunday to include buildings used by foreign media outlets. Officials say at least three journalists were wounded in the attacks. Israelis also hit various Hamas targets.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius left Paris Sunday for Jerusalem to offer France's help in reaching a cease-fire.

Palestinian officials say at least 48 Gazans have been killed since violence erupted Wednesday. Israel says three Israelis have been killed.

On Saturday, Israeli strikes leveled the Gaza office of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his Cabinet. Haniyeh was not there at the time.

Also Saturday, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi hosted leaders from Hamas and two key allies, Qatar and Turkey, to seek a way to end the fighting. He said “there are some indications that there is a possibility of a cease-fire soon, but we do not yet have firm guarantees.''

Separately, foreign ministers from the Cairo-based Arab League were meeting in emergency session to discuss an Arab response to the fighting.

More than 100 Hamas rockets rained down on Israel Saturday, reaching as far north as Tel Aviv where sirens wailed early in the day.

Israel's military says its new “Iron Dome” missile defense system shot down an incoming rocket bound for Tel Aviv – one of several Hamas has fired at Israel's commercial center.