Tel Aviv, Dec.30 (ANI): Israeli aircraft kept up a relentless assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza on Tuesday, smashing a government complex, security installations and the home of a top militant commander as thousands of Israeli ground troops, backed by tanks and artillery, massed along the border and waited for a signal to attack.
Fox News reported Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as telling President Shimon Peres on Tuesday that the current, aerial phase of the operation is "the first of several" that have been approved, an Olmert spokesman said.
Warplanes launched their bruising aerial offensive on Saturday after the Islamic Hamas defied Israel's warnings that it would not stand for the rocket barrages on southern Israel that resumed nearly two months ago, toward the end of a recently expired truce.
More than 360 Palestinians have been killed, most of them members of Hamas security forces but at least 64 of them civilians, according to U.N. figures.
The toll includes two sisters, aged 4 and 11, who perished in an airstrike on a rocket squad in northern Gaza on Tuesday.
Militants, battered but unbowed, have pressed on with their rocket and mortar assaults, killing three Israeli civilians and a soldier and bringing a widening circle of targets into their sights with an arsenal of longer-range missiles. (ANI)