News / Middle East

Israel Launches 200 Air Strikes on Gaza

A Palestinian man walks among debris after an Israeli airstrike at Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's office in Gaza City, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. A Palestinian man walks among debris after an Israeli airstrike at Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's office in Gaza City, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.
x
A Palestinian man walks among debris after an Israeli airstrike at Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's office in Gaza City, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.
A Palestinian man walks among debris after an Israeli airstrike at Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's office in Gaza City, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Robert Berger
— Israel carried out more than 200 air strikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip Saturday, as Palestinian rocket fire continued to paralyze southern Israel. At least 40 Palestinians, including 13 civilians, and three Israeli civilians have been killed since the Israeli offensive began on Wednesday.

Israel launched wave after wave of airstrikes on Gaza, shaking the ground and sending black plumes of smoke into the air.

The operation expanded to targeting the symbols of power of the ruling Palestinian militant group Hamas. Israeli warplanes hit the prime minister's office, a police compound and the home of a military commander, as well as weapons depots and smuggling tunnels.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev says the aim is to end Palestinian rocket attacks.

“We are acting now to try to bring about a situation where Hamas understands that it’s not in their interest for them to target Israeli civilians. We want to bring about peace and quiet for the people of the South, for the people of all of Israel. We think that’s attainable,” said Regev.

Hamas has been hit hard, but it is fighting back.

Air raid sirens wailed in southern Israel, as Palestinians fired dozens of rockets across the Gaza border. The sirens sent Israelis scurrying to bomb shelters and the streets were empty.

Khalil al Hayya, a Hamas leader in Gaza, says the Palestinians are acting in self-defense and will not surrender.  

He said the “Zionist entity is killing men, women and children … and the war will not end until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.”

The Israeli operation began on Wednesday, when the military leader of Hamas was assassinated in an air strike, following days of rocket attacks. After that, Israeli airstrikes and Palestinian rocket attacks intensified.

The conflict escalated on Friday, when the Palestinians fired a rocket that landed near Jerusalem for the first time. Several rockets have also been fired at Tel Aviv. Both cities used to be out of Palestinian gunners' range, but Hamas has smuggled in longer-range rockets made in Iran.

With no break in the rocket fire coming from Gaza, Israel’s Cabinet authorized the military to call up 75,000 reservists. Tanks, armored personnel carriers and troops are deploying on the Gaza border in preparation for a possible ground assault.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid