44 Palestinians killed as Hamas targets bombed

Stepping up its offensive, Israeli on Wednesday hit about 200 targets in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip killing at least 17 people, triggering a retaliation from the Palestinian group which fired a barrage of rockets deep into the Jewish state in the bloodiest conflict since 2012.

Israel also mobilised thousands of forces along the Gaza border for a possible ground operation.
The army is ready for all possibilities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after holding a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. ‘The operation will expand and continue until the fire toward our towns stops and quiet returns,’ he said, as Israeli jets pounded Hamas positions for the second day on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 44, including women and children. Hamas-ruled Gaza witnessed its bloodiest day on Wednesday since November, 2012 as Israel’s military said it targeted 118 concealed rocket launchers, 10 Hamas command-and-control centres and 10 tunnels, overnight injuring nearly 300.

It brought to 440 the number of targets in Gaza attacked as part of ‘Operation Protective Edge’.
More than 180 rockets hit various parts of Israel on Wednesday with the Islamist Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip since June 2007, claiming responsibility for most of them.
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