Israel Mounts Operation To End Gaza Rocket Fire

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    Israeli soldiers ride atop a tank outside the southern Gaza Strip July 7, 2014.
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    A Palestinian boy inspects a house which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on July 8, 2014. Israel launched an offensive against Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, bombing some 50 targets, including homes, in a campaign meant to end Palestinian rocket fire into the Jewish state.The Israeli military said it targeted about 50 sites in aerial and naval assaults. Palestinian officials said more than 30 of them were bombed in little more than an hour before dawn, including two homes in southern Gaza.
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    Smoke and flames are seen following what witnesses said were Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 7, 2014.
  • Israel air strike crater
    Palestinian boys look at a crater which police said was caused by an Israeli air strike in the central Gaza Strip July 7, 2014.
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    Israeli soldiers gather at a military staging area outside the southern Gaza Strip July 7, 2014. Israel launched a series of air strikes on Gaza early on Monday to quell Hamas rocket fire, and the Islamist group's armed wing said seven of its gunmen were killed, making it the deadliest day for Hamas since a 2012 cross-border war with the Jewish state. Israeli military authorities confirmed the strikes, saying they "responded to rocket attacks against southern Israel," targeting 9 "terror" sites and concealed rocket launchers. Israel has denied that the Hamas militants were killed in the air strikes.
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    An Israeli police explosives expert holds the remains of a rocket fired from Gaza after it landed in Kibbutz Nirim outside southern Gaza July 7, 2014. Israeli air strikes killed seven Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday, the Islamist group said, in the deadliest attacks in a surge of violence exacerbated by the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths and a Palestinian teen.The Israeli military said its aircraft targeted "terror sites and concealed rocket launchers across the Gaza Strip", after about 25 projectiles were fired into Israel on Sunday. Israel has denied that the Hamas militants were killed in the air strikes.
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Update, 11:55 p.m. ET: The Israeli army had hit 50 targets in the Gaza Strip between late Monday and early Tuesday, The Jerusalem Post reported, adding 47 targets were hit by Israel's air force while three were hit by the Israeli navy off the coast of Gaza.

"We are entering into a long operation. This is only the start," a senior official for the Israel Defense Forces' Operation Protective Edge said, according to the report. "We are preparing to increase ground forces on Gaza border."

Update, 10 p.m. ET: The aerial offensive launched by Israel in the Gaza Strip -- part of a campaign named "Operation Protective Edge" that's targeting Hamas Islamist militants firing rockets into Israel -- bombed more than 30 targets, including homes, Reuters reported.  The military urged Israelis within a 40-km (24-mile) radius of the southern coastal territory to stay within reach of protected area. As a precaution against rocket fire, it also ordered summer camps shut.

Original story:

The Israeli military late Monday announced an operation to end rocket fire from Gaza.

"Operation Protective Edge" was announced in a tweet:

IDF @IDFSpokesperson · 2h

#IDF has commenced Operation Protective Edge in #Gaza against #Hamas, in order to stop the terror #Israel's citizens face on a daily basis

Later it added:

IDF @IDFSpokesperson · 46m

#Hamas will not be safe as long as it continues to threaten the lives of #Israeli civilians pic.twitter.com/hIVuAQ62vw

The action came after 30 rockets were fired within 30 minutes, bringing to about 70 the number fired throughout Monday, Ynetnews reported. The Jerusalem Post put the number of rockets at 80 for the day. One person was reported injured.

The military said 12 of the rockets were shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

Fighter jets flew sorties over Gaza looking for targets, Israel Radio reported.

The military also called up some 1,500 reservists.

Hamas' Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam claimed responsibility for the rocket fire.

"We can't avoid dealing with Gaza because there is noise [security developments] in other arenas," a source told the Post in reference to rioting Arab Israelis and in Palestinian districts east and north Jerusalem. The source accused Hamas of "taking an active and dominant part" in the attacks.

The escalation came as dozens of masked Palestinians tossed Molotov cocktails and improvised gas grenades at police in Shuafat, near where slain Palestinian teen Mohammed Abu Khdeir's family was mourning. Khdeir was burned alive in retaliation for the deaths of three Israeli teenagers who had been kidnapped by militants.

Ynetnews said 50 Palestinians engaged in throwing rocks at police near Tamra, north of Haifa, and dozens more rioted in Beit Safafa near Jerusalem.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday called Khdeir's father and promised the youth's killers would be prosecuted fully, Ynetnews reported. The family, however, has rejected condolences from Israeli officials, turning away former President Shimon Peres when he tried to pay his respects, Ma'an News Agency reported.

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