Israel bombarded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with nearly 200 airstrikes early Saturday, the military said, widening a blistering assault on Gaza rocket operations to include the prime minister’s headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels.
The new attacks followed an unprecedented rocket strike aimed at the contested holy city of Jerusalem that raised the stakes in Israel’s violent confrontation with Palestinian militants and extended the battlefield.
Israeli aircraft also kept pounding their original targets, the militants’ weapons storage facilities and underground rocket launching sites. They also went after rocket squads more aggressively. The military has called up thousands of reservists and massed troops, tanks and other armored vehicles along the border with Gaza, signaling a ground invasion could be imminent.
Militants, undaunted by the heavy damage the Israeli attacks have inflicted, have unleashed some 500 rockets against the Jewish state, including new, longer-range weapons turned for the first time this week against Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv heartland. Following those attacks, the military deployed an Iron Dome rocket defense battery in central Israel on Saturday. The system, devised precisely to deflect the Gaza rocket threat, was deployed two months earlier than planned, the Defense Ministry said.
Read more: Washington Times