It's day seven into Israel's offensive against targets in the Gaza
Strip and Israeli warplanes have carried out more air strikes while
Palestinian militants have launched further rocket attacks into Israel.
The Islamist group Hamas has vowed revenge and called for mass protests
against the Israeli actions.
said its aircraft struck a number of militant targets in Gaza Friday,
including a mosque in Jabaliya, which Israeli officials say was used to
store rockets and other weapons.
Israel has hammered sites
throughout the Gaza Strip and says it will continue to do so until
Islamist militants stop firing rockets into Israel.
government spokesman, Mark Regev, says Hamas brought this situation on
by not agreeing to extend a truce with Israel that expired in December.
escalated the situation last week with their rocket barrages against
Israeli civilians," he said. "Hamas has no one but itself to blame for
the current situation if finds itself in."
Gaza officials say
more than 420 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli strikes and
more than 2,000 injured. U.N. officials estimate that about a
quarter of those killed are civilians.
On Thursday an Israeli
warplane bombed the home of a senior Hamas leader, killing him, his
family and several neighbors. Nizar Rayyan was an outspoken advocate of
renewing suicide bombings.
Following his death, militants vowed revenge. Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said all options are on the table.
said the killing of Rayyan was a crime. He added that options for
revenge include suicide bombings and striking at Israeli targets
Hamas called for mass protests against Israel's
actions. Braced for demonstrations, Israel closed off the occupied West
Bank until Saturday night and stepped up security checkpoints.
agreed to let a several hundred foreign passport holders leave Gaza on
Friday. They leave behind 1.5 million Palestinians, and
there is a growing sense that some sort of Israeli ground offensive
into Gaza may be imminent.