Israel Prepares To Expand Operation In Gaza

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Israel prepares to expand its operation in Gaza, as violence continues to rage on both sides.

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The sixth day of Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip sees violence continue to rage.

On Monday morning heavy bombardment of the strip continued, and Gaza militants continued to fire rockets at Israel.

The death toll in Gaza has now risen to 72, according to health officials.

Three Israelis were killed on Thursday.

U.S. President Obama, speaking in Thailand, gives his support to Israel's right to defend itself from rocket attacks.

[Barack Obama, US. President]:
"There's no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. So we are fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself from missiles landing on peoples homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians."

Israel and Gaza both maintain they are attempting to reach a ceasefire.

But there has been no lessening of attacks from either side, and on Sunday the Israeli Prime Minister spoke of preparations to expand the military operation.

[Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister]:
"The Israel Defence Forces have attacked more than 1,000 terror targets in the Gaza Strip and it continues its operation at this very moment. It causes significant blows to the weapons aimed towards Israel, its operators and the people who send them. We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the terrorist organizations, and the Israel Defence Forces are prepared for a significant expansion of the operation."

One of Israel's stated aims in Gaza is to destroy the large stockpiles of Iranian-supplied Fajr-5 long range rockets belonging to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Many of the arms caches are stored in places designed to cause maximum civilian casualties should they be targeted, including residential areas, mosques and even schools.

The world and many Israelis are deeply concerned by the terrible images of suffering being witnessed in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Hamas have continued to show their ability to target Tel Aviv, Israel's largest city and commercial centre.

Israel's Iron Dome defense system on Saturday successfully intercepted and destroyed another missile heading for Tel Aviv.

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