Photograph: Lucas Jackson/Reuters

2012-11-18, 19:32:14

       Gaza, 05 Muharram/18 November (MINA/IMEMC/CNN) – Israel is prepared to significantly escalate its military operation against Palestinian militants in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, according to CNN.

     The comments come on the heels of reports that the Israel Defense Forces have widened the scope of their effort to stop rocket attacks from Gaza, targeting Palestinian media organizations, government buildings and the homes of Hamas officials in Gaza.

      “We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the (other) terrorist organizations, and IDF is prepared for a significant expansion of its operations,” Netanyahu told reporters shortly before the start of a weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, according to IMEMC report, Benjamin Netanyahu, is holding talks with different world leaders, including U.S. President, Barack Obama, to ensure international support as Israel widens and intensifies its escalation against the Gaza Strip.

       Channel 10 reported that Netanyahu phoned Obama, and informed him on the details of the current Israeli military escalation against the coastal region.

       Netanyahu’s office stated that the Israeli Prime Minister “is deeply grateful to Obama” for understanding why the Israel decided to launch a large-scale offensive against Gaza.

       Netanyahu also phoned vice-president, Joe Biden, and E.U Foreign Policy Chief, Catherine Ashton.   It is worth mentioning that Israel’s President, Shimon Peres, also phoned Obama, and told him that “southern Israel has been under rocket attack since last week”.

       Obama said that he understands why Israel is carrying out its offensive against Gaza, and expressed full support to Tel Aviv.

       At least 52 people have been killed in Gaza since the Israeli offensive began, according to Palestinian officials and Hamas media reports.  Among the casualties are 13 children, including a young girl who was killed Sunday in an airstrike that targeted the town of al-Shati in western Gaza, Hamas-run al-Aqsa TV reported. A man was also killed in the strike, according to the news agency.

       At least 500 people have been injured in airstrikes, according to Palestinian government and medical officials.  Among those are six Palestinian journalists who were wounded Sunday when Israeli warplanes targeted two buildings that housed Palestinian and Hamas new organizations as well a handful of international news outlets, according to Palestinian government and media reports.

       In Israel, the rocket attacks have killed at least three people and wounded 68, including a number of soldiers along the Israel-Gaza border, the Israel Defense Forces said. (R-010)





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