Smoke billows during an Israeli air strike on the Gaza Strip, on July 8, 2014 © Jack Guez - AFP
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AFP
Last updated: July 9, 2014

Israel to "further intensify" attacks on Hamas

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday to ramp up an Israeli campaign against Gaza militants that has so far cost 43 Palestinian lives.

"We have decided to further intensify the attacks on Hamas and the terror organisations in Gaza," his office quoted him as saying after consulting defence chiefs in southern Israel.

"The army is prepared for any eventuality," he added.

"Hamas will pay a heavy price for the firing of rockets at Israeli civilians. Security for the citizens of Israel is first and foremost."

Wednesday was the second day of Israel's Operation Protective Edge.

Israel warplanes have so far hit 550 targets in Gaza, and Hamas militants have hit back with 165 rockets, some of which struck Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and as far away as Hadera, 116 kilometres (72 miles) to the north of the coastal enclave.

Palestinian fatalities include militants but also women and children. More than 370 people have been wounded.

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