Israel prepared to broaden Gaza attack

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Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel (AP photo)

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel’s prime minister says the military is prepared to broaden its operation against Hamas targets in Gaza.

In his first comments since Israel killed the commander of the Hamas military wing, Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is “prepared to expand the operation.” The military said earlier the operation could escalate with a ground attack.

Palestinian militants have responded with rocket fire. The military says it’s intercepted 13 rockets from Gaza.

Gaza’s health minister says 10 people were killed in today’s airstrikes, including the Hamas commander. Two young children are said to be among the dead.

In all, there were some 20 airstrikes. It’s the worst Israeli barrage on the Palestinian territory in four years. And it comes in retaliation for renewed rocket fire from Gaza aimed at southern Israel.

Palestinians are calling for retaliation. Thousands gathered, urging an attack on Tel Aviv. Fearing a long war in Gaza, Palestinians have been rushing to buy fuel, bread and other supplies.

Today’s attacks marked an Israeli return to a policy of targeted assassinations — one that brought international condemnation on Israel when it was used a decade ago.

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