Israeli Military Masses Troops Along Gaza Border
Israel on Tuesday launched its largest offensive in the Gaza Strip in nearly two years, carrying out a blistering aerial assault on scores of targets and killing 19 people in what officials called an open-ended operation aimed at ending weeks of heavy rocket fire. As Gaza militants unleashed salvos on cities including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel mobilized forces along the border for a possible ground invasion. The offensive set off the heaviest fighting between Israel and the Islamic militant group Hamas since an eight-day battle in November 2012. The militants fired about 160 rockets at Israel, including two intercepted over Tel Aviv, while Israel said it attacked more than 150 sites across Gaza. Palestinian medics reported at least 19 dead, including six killed in an airstrike that flattened an apartment building in southern Gaza and set off widespread panic. In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said continued rocket attacks on Israeli communities would not be tolerated.
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