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Middle East

Israel warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza

© Mohammed Abed, AFP I A wounded Palestinian arrives at the Shifa Hospital on July 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-29

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday warned of a lengthy military operation in the Gaza Strip after Palestinian militants fired mortars from the enclave, killing four people in the Jewish state.

"We must be prepared for a prolonged campaign," Netanyahu said in a speech broadcast live, soon after the news of the shelling of the Eshkol region that also reportedly wounded at least 12 people.

“We will continue to act aggressively and responsibly until the mission is completed to protect our citizens, soldiers and children.”

“There is no war more just than this,” Netanyahu said, adding that a demilitarization of Gaza must be part of any future solution for the territory of 1.7 million people.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have been locked in three weeks of fighting which have killed more than a thousand people in Gaza, mostly civilians. Israel has lost almost 50 soldiers and two civilians, as well as a Thai worker.

"The Israeli response to ceasefire pleas was lound and clear: no."

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri struck a defiant tone in response to Netanyahu’s warnings.

“His threats do not scare Hamas or the Palestinian people and the occupation will pay the price for the massacres against civilians and children,” he said.

Israel expanding military operations

Earlier Monday, the army announced that Gaza militants had infiltrated into Israel through a tunnel and opened fire on soldiers. Israeli media said five militants were apparently killed in a firefight and that searches in the area were continuing.

In a sign that Israel’s operation is expanding, the army also urged residents of three more Gaza districts to evacuate their homes and head toward the center of Gaza City.

Meanwhile, an air strike over Gaza killed at least 10 people, most of them children.

Speaking to FRANCE 24 from the scene of the blast, journalist Jesse Rosenfeld said “there were a dozen casualties and many more injured”.

“There was shrapnel everywhere, destroyed cars and two craters in the ground.”

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

“We’re starting to see a complete policy of scorched earth by Israel"

Date created : 2014-07-28

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