July 11, 2014
Israel will resist foreign pressure to halt its operations in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.
He said Israel had attacked more than 1,000 targets there since Tuesday, and was using twice the force it used during a similar operation in 2012.
More than 100 people have died in the Israeli air strikes in the territory, Palestinian sources say.
Meanwhile, Gaza militants have continued to fire rockets into Israel, causing damage and injuries.
Mr Netanyahu said he had held “very good, positive” telephone consultations with US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
But he added that “no international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power”.
The Palestinian health ministry says in addition to those killed, 675 people – mainly civilians – have been injured in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge since it began on Tuesday.
Israel says “dozens of terrorists” are among the dead.
But UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay says there is “serious doubt” as to whether Israeli’s military operation complies with international laws banning the targeting of civilians.
“We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes,” Ms Pillay said in a statement.
Israel has repeatedly insisted that it tries to avoid civilian casualties, but says the militants often place their military assets in residential areas.
Overnight in Gaza, an Israeli air strike on a house in Rafah killed five people – three men and two women – the Palestinian health ministry said.
A second strike, it added, killed a girl in Rafah, while one militant was killed when his motorcycle was hit north of Gaza City.
In Israel, one person was seriously injured when a rocket hit a petrol station in Ashdod on Friday morning, Israeli officials say. Another Israeli soldier was injured by mortar fire in Eshkol on Thursday.
According to the military, 77 rockets hit Israel on Friday, with the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepting an additional 19.
Lebanon’s military also confirmed that militants in the south of the country had fired three rockets into northern Israel in the early hours of Friday and that Israel had shelled the area in response. No injuries were reported.
Some 20,000 Israeli army reservists have been mobilised amid speculation of a ground offensive into Gaza.
The BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Jerusalem says a ground invasion would be a big political gamble as the military would have to deliver a clear victory before leaving, and that would be extremely difficult.
Benny Gantz, head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), told reporters on Friday: “The IDF is not waiting for the last straw to go on a ground offensive, it’s waiting on political instruction.”
Earlier, the US offered to help broker a truce.
After a call to Mr Netanyahu, President Barack Obama said: “The United States remains prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities, including a return to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.”
Mr Obama also “expressed concern about the risk of further escalation and emphasised the need for all sides to do everything they can to protect the lives of civilians and restore calm”.
Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair said it was necessary to tackle the “longer-term questions at the heart of this violence and conflict”.
“Without that long-term solution in place I think it’s going to be very difficult to create any short-term peace,” he said.
Egypt and Turkey have both criticised Israel’s use of force.
Egypt helped broker a truce between Israel and Hamas after a conflict in 2012, but the BBC’s Orla Guerin in Cairo says there is currently no sign that Egypt may deliver a ceasefire, as it has done in the past.
- Enemy fires missile or artillery shell
- Projectile tracked by radar. Data relayed to battle management and control unit
- Data analysed and target co-ordinates sent to the missile firing unit
- Missile is fired at enemy projectile