(Page 2 of 3)
Gaza medical officials say 134 people have died in Israeli strikes, mostly civilians, including 34 children. In all, five Israelis have died, including three civilians killed last week.
Netanyahu said earlier on Tuesday that Israel was open to a long-term deal aimed at ending Palestinian rocket attacks that have plagued its southern region for years.
Khaled Meshaal, exile leader of Hamas, said on Monday that Israel must halt its military action and lift its blockade of the Palestinian coastal enclave in exchange for a truce.
Both Netanyahu, favoured to win a January national election, and U.S. President Barack Obama have said they want a diplomatic solution, rather than a possible Israeli ground operation in the densely populated territory, home to 1.7 million Palestinians.
Israel’s military on Tuesday targeted more than 130 sites in Gaza, including ammunition stores and the Gaza headquarters of the National Islamic Bank. Israeli police said more than 150 rockets were fired from Gaza by the evening.
“No country would tolerate rocket attacks against its cities and against its civilians. Israel cannot tolerate such attacks,” Netanyahu said with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who arrived in Jerusalem from talks in Cairo, at his side.
“If a long-term solution can be put in place through diplomatic means, then Israel would be a willing partner to such a solution,” he said. “But if stronger military action proves necessary to stop the constant barrage of rockets, Israel will do what is necessary to defend our people.”
HAMAS TARGETS JERUSALEM AGAIN
After nightfall, Israel stepped up its Gaza bombardment. Artillery shells and missiles fired from naval gunboats slammed into the territory and air strikes came at a frequency of about one every 10 minutes.