Israel mulls Gaza ground invasion

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from USAToday,

Israel’s military launched fresh airstrikes against targets in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the heaviest bombardment in nearly two years in a bid to halt a barrage of rocket fire that has pummeled southern parts of Israel. Hamas said the shelling killed more than a dozen Palestinians.

Israel is seeking to “retrieve stability to the residents of southern Israel, eliminate Hamas’ capabilities and destroy terror infrastructure operating against the State of Israel and its civilians,” its military said in a statement. It said that nearly 300 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel recently, including close to 100 rockets fired on Monday alone.

Israel says the airstrikes are part of an expanded operation for its military forces it is calling “Operation Protective Edge.” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has demanded that Israel immediately stop its offensive.

That marks a huge surge after years of relative quiet. The immediate trigger for the escalation has been heightened tensions over the killing of three Israeli teenagers and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager.

Late Tuesday, two separate rocket attacks targeted Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital. Both were intercepted by Israel’s “Iron Dome” rocket defense system. Another salvo set off air-raid sirens in Jerusalem. Both cities are nearly 50 miles north of Gaza, the deepest strike yet.

The siren set off panic in Tel Aviv, as people scurried for cover in nearby buildings

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