JERUSALEM, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Israel is in an "all-out war" with the militant group Hamas, the de facto rulers in Gaza, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel's parliament Monday.
Israel conducted airstrikes on Gaza for a third day Monday. The Palestinian death toll was reported at more than 350, The New York Times said. Palestinian hospital officials reported an estimated 1,500 were wounded, the newspaper said.
Barak told the legislative body Israel has "stretched our hand in peace many times" to the Palestinian people.
"We have nothing against the people of Gaza," Barak said "But this is an all-out war against Hamas and its branches. The restraint that we have demonstrated is the source of our strength when it is time to fight."
Israel said its goal is to stop the barrage of rockets fired by militants from Gaza into Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israeli lawmakers Sunday the offensive "is liable to continue for some time."
Hamas leaders said they would defend their land and people against what they called Israeli aggression, and Hamas fired another 60 rockets into southern Israel Monday, the Times reported. An Israeli construction worker was killed and several others were wounded.
Another rocket struck a bus stop in Ashdod, 18 miles from Gaza, killing one woman and injuring two people.
The U.N. Security Council has called for an immediate end to the airstrikes.
Palestinian security and medical sources said an airstrike hit the Jebaliya refugee camp in Gaza Monday, killing five children. Israelis also hit a home near Hamas leader Ismail Haniya's residence.
During the overnight hours, Israeli rockets exploded in at least one building at the Islamic University of Gaza, a Gaza-based journalist told CNN. The Israeli military, in a statement, said raid targeted "buildings that were used as meeting places for senior leaders of Hamas."