Jerusalem, May 14 (EFE).- The Israeli army early Friday morning, local time, launched an intensive bombardment of the Gaza Strip with air and artillery forces, a clear escalation of the violence in the region, and is not ruling out a land offensive in the enclave.
The army announced that Israeli air and ground forces were “currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.”
Earlier on Thursday, Israel had said it was massing troops along the border with the Strip and calling up 9,000 reservists to take part in a potential land invasion of the territory, which is ruled by Hamas..
“I said we would extract a very heavy price from Hamas,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a videotaped statement. “We are doing that, and we will continue to do that with heavy force.”
With hostilities in their fifth day, with no indication that they will lessen any time soon, Israel carried out airstrikes and fired artillery rounds targeting Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel.
So far, the Israeli offensive launched on Monday in response to Palestinian rocket attacks has taken at least 103 lives in Gaza and seven in Israel – all of the latter from the some 1,700 missiles launched from the Strip.
Many of the Palestinian rockets have been intercepted in mid-air by Israel’s Iron Dome ground-to-air defense system.
The Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip has killed at least nine children, raising to 27 the number of children killed so far among the overpopulated coastal enclave, which is blockaded by Israel.
Israel has targeted hundreds of militant objectives over the past four days of airstrikes and has carried out selective attacks that have killed more than 30 members of the Islamist Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements.
Netanyahu, in the video his office released on the social networks, said that the Israeli operation will continue as long as necessary to attain its objectives.