Israel launched a major military offensive in Palestine on Wednesday.
Operation “Pillar of Defence” began with the killing of Hamas’ military commander using an air strike as he was travelling by car in Gaza City.
This was followed minutes later by massive explosions throughout the area, as Israeli military forces blasted selected targets by land, sea and air.
Around 10 people were reported dead, including three children, and some 40 were wounded by the attacks.
The offensive shattered hopes of a truce brokered by Egypt following five days of violence which saw over 100 missiles fired by Palestinian militants and retaliations by Israel.
Hamas official, Khalil Al-Haya said: “The Zionist enemy does not recognise mediators and does not recognise control or agreements. The Zionist enemy has, for a long time, spilt our people’s blood, men, women, children, and elders. The battle between us and the enemy is open and will end, God willing, with the liberation of Jerusalem.”
The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said the operation is a warning:
“Today we’ve sent a clear message to Hamas and to other terrorist organisations and if there is a need, the Israeli Defence Forces are prepared to widen the operation. We will continue to do everything to defend our citizens.”
Hamas vowed revenge and immediately fired four Grad rockets which landed in the southern Israeli city of Beersheva. Israel reported damage but no casualties.