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Posts Tagged ‘Israel Airstrikes’

Barak: Gaza operation will expand as needed

December 27, 2008 10:06 AM EST | AP

JERUSALEM — Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says Israel’s air offensive against militant sites in Gaza “will widen as necessary.”

Barak says Israel does not intend to allow Islamic Hamas militants who rule Gaza to continue firing rockets and mortars on Israel’s southern communities.

Hamas says at least 192 Gazans were killed in the first day of the offensive and 270 were wounded.

Barak says there is a time for calm and a time for fighting. Speaking at a news conference Saturday, he said “now is the time for fighting” and that “the operation will expand as necessary.”

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) _ Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing at least 155 and wounding more than 310 in the single bloodiest day of fighting in recent memory.

The vast majority of those killed were security men, but civilians were also among the dead. Hamas said all of its security installations were hit and responded with several medium-range Grad rockets at Israel, reaching deeper than in the past. One Israeli was killed and at least four people were wounded in the rocket attacks. With so many wounded, the Palestinian death toll was likely to rise.

“The operation will last as long as necessary,” declared Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, though it was not clear if it would be coupled with a ground offensive. Asked if Hamas political leaders might be targeted next, military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said, “Any Hamas target is a target.”

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