'The gloves are off' Israel shoots down rocket aimed at Tel Aviv
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/8/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Rockets and missiles are raining down in Israel as the biggest offensive in the region since 2012 drones on. Militants in the Gaza Strip launched 130 rockets at Israel as Israeli forces continued to strike back. At least 150 targets in the coastal enclave of Gaza were struck, according to the military.
Palestinian sources have reported at least 11 people killed in Israeli strikes during the day.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Sirens sounded in Tel Aviv, about 40 miles north of Gaza. There are reports that Israeli forces shot down a rocket aimed at one of Israel's largest cities. The city's Sde Dov airport has been closed. Flights at Ben-Gurion International Airport may be disrupted. The turmoil has also taken a toll on the tourist trade, as beaches south of Tel Aviv were evacuated in the late afternoon hours.
"Every Israeli is a target," a spokesman for Hamas said in the Gaza town of Khan Younis declared.
In the meantime, Palestinian sources have reported at least 11 people killed in Israeli strikes during the day. Among the fatalities is Mohammed Shaaban, a commander in the naval forces of Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon declared a special security situation throughout communities within 25 miles of Israel's border with Gaza. Summer camps and other activities have been canceled. Residents were instructed to remain within running distance of bomb shelters and designated safe spaces.
"We are preparing for action against Hamas, which will not end in a few days," Yaalon said. All citizens have been encouraged to follow safety instructions to avoid casualties while the army acts "to exact a heavy price from Hamas."
Yaalon said Israel would not tolerate rocket fire on its cities and was prepared to expand the operation "with everything at our disposal."
The Israeli government is also mobilizing on the diplomatic front to explain "why Israel was forced to launch this operation." Yaalon added that he hoped the international community would grant Israel the necessary freedom of action.
Called "Protective Edge," the operation is the first military offensive by Israel in Gaza since November 2012. The operation began overnight with a series of extensive strikes from air and sea targeting concealed rocket launchers, training bases and weapons storage, as well as homes of Hamas members involved in rocket fire, the army said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the "gloves were off" in the campaign against Hamas, which would "pay a heavy price" for what he termed a decision to escalate the conflict.
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