Menu JTA Search

Israel warns Gazans on fighting

(JTA) — Israel warned Gazans that fighting would intensify.

"We are going to intensify the military strike against Hamas," the New York Times quoted phone calls to residents of Gaza City as saying on Saturday.  "Our intention is not to harm civilians. If you live near Hamas, evacuate." News agencies reported leaflet drops with similar messages elsewhere in Gaza.

Israel continued striking targets in the Gaza Strip Saturday, fifteen days after it launched major operations against Hamas targets and three weeks after the terrorist group suspended a fragile cease-fire with barrages of rocket attacks on southern Israel.

Negotiators for all sides remained in Cairo, but cease-fire talks were faltering; Khaled Mashaal, the exiled Hamas leader in Syria, said in a broadcast that Hamas would never come to terms with Israel. Israel wants Hamas’ capability to launch weapons destroyed.

The Israeli army said that Saturday included at least 60 strikes on Gaza, destroying an anti-aircraft launcher, ten rocket-launching points, seven tunnels and ten weapons storage facilities. One strike killed Amir Mnsi, who headed rocket launching operations in Gaza City, the army said.

Hamas fired at least 15 rockets, a number substantially lower than the dozens it was launching at the outset of the war. Three Israelis were moderately wounded in Ashkelon.

At least 30 Palestinians were killed Saturday, including eight members of a single family in Jabaliya, bringing the Palestinian death toll to over 800; about half of those are estimated to be civilians.

Thirteen Israelis, four of them civilians, have died in the fighting.

Relief groups re-started operations in the strip on saturday; relief had been suspended Thursday after a United Nations driver was killed.

NEXT STORY