Conflict between Gaza, Israel escalates, Gaza death toll near 100

By Ed Adamczyk  |  Updated July 11, 2014 at 11:02 AM
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JERUSALEM , July 11 (UPI) -- Israel continued air strikes on Gaza Friday morning as it was struck with heavy rocket fire from Gaza and one rocket fired from Lebanon.

Palestinian officials put the death toll in Gaza, which has been pounded for four days by rockets and by Israeli fighter jets, at 100. Eight people were killed overnight by targeted strikes on suspected homes of military operatives in Rafah and Gaza City.

Southern and central Israel received heavy rocket fire, including one fired from Lebanon, giving rise to speculation of a battle beginning on a second front, on Israel's northern border. An Israeli military spokesman said it was unknown if the rocket from Lebanon was "symbolic or something more substantial," although Hamas and Islamic Jihad both took responsibility for the barrage from Gaza.

The assault on Israel is striking more targets across a wider section of the country than in the past, and although Israel's "Iron Dome" anti-missile shield is intercepting rocket fire, including several over the city of Tel Aviv, a gas station in the port city of Ashdod was struck, injuring several people. A Hamas statement claimed Tel Aviv's airport was struck, but Israeli police denied it.

An earlier Hamas statement, seen on its website, said, "So far Hamas has utilized only a little of what it has prepared for the Zionist enemy. We have prepared ourselves for a very long battle, not for a week or 10 days, as some have said, but for many long weeks."

Both sides seem prepared and resigned to an escalating pattern to the conflict, and no outside entity has stepped forward to serve as a mediator. A cease-fire was brokered after heavy fighting in 2012.

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Topics: Gaza, Hamas, Iron Dome
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