Israel’s ‘Protective Edge’ Gaza offensive will be long-term

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The Israeli government continued its wide-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip overnight, launching naval and air strikes on Hamas-controlled territory.

At least 25 Palestinians were killed in the latest round of strikes, including several senior Hamas and Islamist Jihad activists.

Palestinian authorities said that 17 civilians, including children, were among the casualties.

An Israeli army statement said that around 50 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel since Monday night, while Israeli air forces targeted 150 Hamas sites, according to the statement.

On Wednesday morning, several missiles were fired towards Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport, closed due to the threat of rocket attacks.

The Israeli government announced it had authorised a call-up of up to 40,000 reservists for a possible ground operation as it began moving additional tanks and armoured vehicles to the Gaza border.

General Moti Almoz, Israel’s military spokesman told Army Radio, that the military “has been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard”, stressing that the army operation ‘’Protective Edge’’ will be long term and aimed at ending Hamas rocket attacks.

In a televised statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said continued rocket attacks on Israeli communities ‘’would not be tolerated’’.

The White House condemned the rocket attacks against Israel. “No country can accept rocket fire aimed at civilians and we support Israel’s right to defend itself against these vicious attacks,”.spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he spoke by telephone with his Egyptian counterpart on Tuesday about the situation in Gaza. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi said Egypt would try to exert pressure to end the Israeli attacks on Gaza and expressed his commitment to the safety of Palestinians, according to Abbas.

On Tuesday, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry condemned the raids launched by Israel in Gaza, calling for dialogue to broker a solution to the crisis.

Abbas called on Israel to halt the air strikes immediately and appealed for calm.

The latest Israeli attack is the worst outbreak of violence since the eight-day war on Gaza in 2012.

The Israeli military operation is taking place against a backdrop of rising tension across the Palestinian landscape following the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers which Israel blamed on Hamas earlier this month. A Palestinian teenager was then kidnapped and burnt to death in an apparent revenge killing.