Israel mounts third day of Gaza raids, 307 killed
Gaza, December 29, 2008
Israeli warplanes pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip for a third consecutive day on Monday and the Jewish state prepared to launch a possible invasion after killing 307 Palestinians in the air raids.
Israel, which stepped up the air strikes after dark on Sunday, said it launched the campaign on Saturday in response to almost daily rocket and mortar fire that intensified after the Islamist Hamas group ended a six-month ceasefire a week ago.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, said the military action would go on until the population in southern Israel 'no longer live in terror and in fear of constant rocket barrages'.
'(The operation could) take many days,' said military spokesman Avi Benayahu.
Israeli tanks were deployed on Gaza's edge, poised to enter the densely populated coastal enclave of 1.5 million Palestinians. Olmert's cabinet approved a call-up of 6,500 reservists, a government official said.
Hamas remained defiant and the group's spokesman Fawzi Barhoum urged Palestinian groups to use 'all available means, including martyrdom operations' - a reference to suicide bombings in Israel.-Reuters