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Israel hits key Hamas targets in Gaza offensive

By The Associated Press

This article was published July 9, 2014 at 8:29 a.m.

palestinians-carry-bodies-of-seven-people-killed-in-a-strike-during-their-funeral-in-khan-younis-refugee-camp-in-the-southern-gaza-strip-wednesday-july-9-2014-israel-stepped-up-its-offensive-on-the-hamas-run-gaza-strip-on-wednesday-pummeling-scores-of-targets-and-killing-over-a-dozen-of-people-as-israeli-leaders-signaled-a-weeks-long-ground-invasion-could-be-quickly-approaching-hamas-official-musheer-al-masri-said-israel-had-crossed-all-the-red-lines-and-warned-that-hamas-would-strike-back-fiercely

Palestinians carry bodies of seven people killed in a strike during their funeral in Khan Younis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Israel stepped up its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Wednesday, pummeling scores of targets and killing over a dozen of people as Israeli leaders signaled a weeks-long ground invasion could be quickly approaching. Hamas official Musheer al-Masri said Israel had “crossed all the red lines” and warned that Hamas would strike back fiercely.

JERUSALEM — Israel stepped up its offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Wednesday, pummeling scores of targets and killing at least 14 people as Israeli leaders signaled a weeks-long ground invasion could be quickly approaching.

The military said it struck about 200 Hamas targets on the second day of its offensive, which it says is needed to end incessant rocket attacks out of Gaza. Militants, however, continued to fire rocket salvos deep into Israeli territory, and Israel mobilized thousands of forces along the Gaza border ahead of a possible ground operation.

"The army is ready for all possibilities," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after holding a meeting of his Security Cabinet. "Hamas will pay a heavy price for firing toward Israeli citizens. The security of Israel's citizens comes first. The operation will expand and continue until the fire toward our towns stops and quiet returns."

The fighting stepped up as Egypt, which often serves as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, said it was in contact with both sides to end the violence. It was the first indication since the offensive was launched on Tuesday that cease-fire efforts might be under way.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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