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Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 09:45

Israel launches Gaza offensive

By Agencies

 Israel launches Gaza offensive
A ball of fire is seen following an Israel airstrike on Gaza International Airport in Rafah, southern Gaza, on July 7, 2014. (Photo / AFP)

JERUSALEM - The Israeli army says it has launched an offensive operation against the Gaza Strip to quell rocket attacks, and a Palestinian official says Israeli airstrikes have wounded at least nine Palestinians.

A Twitter statement from the Israeli army early Tuesday says Operation Protective Edge is intended to "stop the terror Israel's citizens face on a daily basis.''

The army says it was carrying out airstrikes early Tuesday in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday. It did not elaborate.

The military urged Israelis within a 40-km radius of the southern coastal territory to stay within reach of protected areas and ordered summer camps shut as a precaution against rocket fire.

Palestinian officials said Israel bombed more than 30 targets in little more than an hour before dawn, including two homes in southern Gaza, one of which was identified by a neighbour as belonging to a Hamas member.

Gaza health official Ashraf Al-Kedra says at least nine Palestinians were brought to a Gaza hospital with light to moderate injuries.

The airstrikes come after Gaza militants fired dozens of rockets at southern Israel late Monday, as the Israeli military rushed more forces to the border.


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