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Israel's Gaza Offensive Continues

by VOA News July 11, 2014

Israel pressed on for a fourth day Friday with its Gaza offensive, as Palestinian militants kept up rocket attacks on the Jewish state.

Gaza medical officials say at least three people were killed in an Israeli attack on a Gaza house early Friday.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called Thursday for an immediate cease-fire in the Israeli conflict with Hamas militants in Gaza, but neither of the warring sides showed any hint of stopping its attacks.

The U.N. secretary-general told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that Israel and Hamas 'must exercise maximum restraint' to end the fighting.

As Israeli warplanes relentlessly attacked hundreds of Hamas targets in Gaza Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a parliamentary committee that a cease-fire is 'not even on the agenda.'

Hamas continued to fire rockets at the key Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, although the Jewish state said its Iron Dome missile defense system has knocked down most of them.

Israel has reported no casualties, while Palestinian officials said Thursday the death toll in Gaza from the Israeli assault has reached at least 85 militants and civilians, including women and children.

The Israeli military said its air strikes had hit another 320 Hamas targets Thursday, focusing on underground tunnel networks and rocket launching sites.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of 'genocide' in the attacks. Pillars of flames and black smoke filled the skies over Gaza.

Israeli officials said the air attacks would continue as long as Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel. Air raid sirens sounded in cities and some Israelis knelt along roadsides, their arms covering their heads.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States 'will do everything in our power to help bring an end to the violence.' He said the U.S. continues to support Israel's right to defend itself against the rocket attacks and that Hamas 'has continued to refuse, against all urging, to disavow violence.'

Violence in the region has escalated since the killing of three Jewish students last month and the murder of a Palestinian teen in a suspected revenge attack.

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