UPDATE: Netanyahu says international pressure won’t stop Gaza strikes
WATCH ABOVE: Israel’s prime minister says he won’t bow to international pressure, asking how western countries would react if they were targeted by rockets. Eric Sorensen reports.
Israel is not relenting in its assault on the Gaza Strip and continues striking what the government says are Hamas targets.
In the four days since Israel began Operation Protective Edge, Israel has hit more than 1,100 targets in Gaza, killing at least 103 people.
The majority of the deaths have been civilians, including 24 children. At least 600 people have been injured.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday the air strikes will persist as long as Hamas and the militant group Islamic Jihad continuing firing barrages of rockets at Israeli cities.
“No international pressure will prevent us acting with all our force against a terror organization that is calling for our destruction,” Netayahu said Friday evening. “We will continue to forcefully attack anyone who is trying to hurt us.”
WATCH: Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will not bow to international pressure on Gaza
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman spoke in harsher terms than Netanyahu Friday evening, saying “it’s time to go all the way in the Gaza Strip” and “eradicate the Hamas regime,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
Netanyahu said their objective is restoring quiet to Israeli cities, where rocket warning sirens have become an all-too-common sound.
Lynne Yelich, Canada’s minister of state for consular affairs, issued a statement today urging Canadians to leave Gaza as the situation deteriorates.
“The ability of Canadian officials to provide consular assistance is becoming increasingly limited as conditions worsen,” said Yelich. “Staff from the Standing Rapid Deployment Team have been sent to the affected region to provide additional support to our embassy.”
Canada’s Standing Rapid Deployment Team is a unit of specialized officials who work alongside its embassies and consulates to help provide critical services to Canadians during emergencies.
Yelich says any Canadian citizens requiring consular assistance should contact “the Representative Office of Canada in Ramallah at 972 (2) 297-8430, or contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre by phone, collect, at +1 613-996-8885 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
More than 550 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel since July 8, when Israel launched its current counteroffensive — its largest operation since an eight-day offensive in November 2012.
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has been successful in intercepting rockets before cities are hit using its mobile missile defence system, known as the Iron Dome, including several fired at Tel Aviv—Israel’s second most populace city— on Friday.
The Defense Ministry on Friday announced it readied its eighth Iron Dome battery for use, The Times of Israel reported.
“The eighth battery will allow us to protect large areas across the country from the threat of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip,” The Times of Israel reported, quoting a Ministry of Defense statement.
Video of purported ‘roof knocking’ emerges
Israel again accused Hamas of “hiding” behind civilians, alleging Gazans are being used as human shields and that rockets are being fired from civilian areas.
The IDF claims it warns civilians of imminent attacks, but a video circulating Friday shows what appears to be Israel’s method of warning.
According to Israeli news agency Haaretz, the video posted on YouTube depicts the practice of “roof knocking.”
“The practice involves the Israel Air Force firing a small mortar shell onto the roof of a building it has designated for destruction. Residents then have a few minutes at best to clear out or face being caught in the rubble,” Haaretz reported, adding the IDF contacts the residents of the targeted building by phone prior to firing the mortar.
UPDATES: What’s happening in Israel and the Palestinian territories
WATCH: Security camera captures Hamas rocket strike at gas station
Gaza rocket fire struck a gas station in southern Israel on Friday, seriously wounding one person and sending large plumes of smoke into the air.
The strike comes as the Palestinian death toll from Israel’s massive air campaign in Gaza topped 100 people.
In the southern Gaza city of Rafah, residents sifted through the remains of a four-story building that was struck and scattered for cover as another airstrike landed nearby.
Rocket fire continued in earnest from Gaza toward various locations in southern and central Israel, including toward Israel’s international airport. The commercial centre of Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion airport also heard warning sirens Friday but these rockets were intercepted and there was no disturbance to Israel’s air traffic. Hamas says it intends to fire rockets at the airport and warned foreign airlines to stop flying to Israel.
Israel has shot down at least 110 incoming rockets thus far with its “Iron Dome” defence system.
With files from Nick Logan and The Associated Press
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