|Hamas rockets hit deep inside Israel, Qassam fighters attack military base||
Israeli media reported that 117 Palestinian rockets were fired at Israeli settlements and cities near the Gaza Strip and deep inside Israel as Israeli war jets bombed 160 targets in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday, including a hospital and homes,
The casualty toll in the ongoing assault climbed to more than 40 deaths, including at least ten children, and over 300 injured, according to the Palestinian health officials.
Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that rocket alarms "sounded across the country, including in Sderot, Ashdod, Yavne, Be'er Sheva, Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Rishon LeZion, Kadima-Tzoran, Ness Ziona, Southern Sharon Regional Council, Ra'anana and Herzliya."
Hamas's military wing Al-Qassam Brigades said it fired an R-160 rocket at Haifa, six J-80 rockets at Tel-Aviv and a number of M75 rockets at several Israeli cities. The military wing of the Islamic Jihad said it fired a Buraq 70 rocket at Haifa.
The Times of Israel newspaper reported that: "Three explosions were heard in Jerusalem after Code Red sirens blared in the capital."
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israel's defensive system Iron Dome intercepted two rockets in the skies of Tel-Aviv.
Hamas’ military wing the al-Qassam Brigades said Tuesday evening that they dedicated the missile attacks on Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem to the Egyptian soldiers who were killed in the October 1973 war, Ma'an news agency reported today.
In a statement sent to the press, the group named the attack “Operation Ramadan the Tenth.”
“Launching an R160 missile at Haifa reflects a qualitative development to the capacities of resistance, and is a source of pride for our people,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.
"Overnight, the [occupation army] hit about 160 targets in the Gaza Strip. Over the past two days we attacked a total of about 430 targets," Israeli general Moti Almoz told military radio as so-called "Operation Protective Edge" entered its second day.
Gaza health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra wrote on Twitter Wednesday that the death toll had reached 40, including six members of the Hamad family who were killed when Israel bombed their home in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun.
The attack is the bloodiest since an eight-day assault was launched by the Israeli military on Gaza in the November 2012 which left 162 Palestinians dead and over 1200 wounded.
In a separate development, four Al-Qassam fighters infiltrated the Israeli military base of Zikim, which is located to the north of the Gaza Strip. Israel said that one of its soldiers was lightly wounded in the operation and the four fighters were killed.
However, Al-Qassam claimed that seven Israelis were killed as the fighters were in contact with their leadership in Gaza during the operation. The brigades also charge that Israel delivered a doctored video showing the killing of the resistance fighters.]
The brigades added that its fighters fired 10 Katyusha rockets at the Israeli base.
The rocket fire from Gaza continued early Wednesday, with the Brigades claim saying it had launched four M75 rockets at Tel Aviv.
Israeli occupation forces said they killed four Hamas fighters who staged a beachfront assault on an army base just north of the besieged strip.
The occupation forces, which released a video allegedly showing to attack, said Hamas members used Kalashnikov rifles and hand grenades after storming the beach, injuring one soldier.
Soldiers on the base near kibbutz Zikim, just north of the Gaza Strip, shot dead two of the fighters, aircraft killed a third and the navy killed the fourth, a spokesperson for the occupation forces said.
Netanyahu ramps up assault
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday to ramp up an Israeli campaign against Gaza militants that has so far cost 43 Palestinian lives, AFP reported.
"We have decided to further intensify the attacks on Hamas and the terror organizations in Gaza," his office quoted him as saying after consulting defense chiefs in southern Israel.
"The army is prepared for any eventuality," he added.
Israel has arrested 896 Palestinians since 12 June
Israeli occupation forces have arrested 896 Palestinians since 12 June, when three Israeli settlers were announced missing near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron and later on found dead, Jordan's Addustour newspaper reported.
A statement for the Palestinian prisoners club said that Israeli occupation forces arrested 66 Palestinians on Monday night, including 24 from occupied Palestine/Israel and 36 from Jerusalem.
The prisoners club reported that 251 of the total number of those arrested are from occupied Jerusalem and the territories occupied in 1948.
Israel accuses Hamas of standing behind the disappearance and killing of the Israeli settlers, and its arrest campaign has targeted Hamas members in the West Bank, including many MPs and former political prisoners.
Netanyahu provoked war
Meanwhile, in an article by the left-wing Israeli blog +972, Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner wrote that Netanyahu started the war. He wrote, “Netanyahu could have avoided the whole thing. He could have chosen not to shoot up the West Bank and Gaza and arrest dozens of previously freed Hamasniks (along with hundreds of other Palestinians) over what was very likely a rogue kidnapping. Before that, he could have chosen not to stonewall Abbas for nine months of peace negotiations, and then there wouldn’t have even been a unity government with Hamas that freaked him out so badly – a reaction that was, of course, Netanyahu’s choice as well.
But Israel’s prime minister is and always has been at war with the Palestinians – diplomatically, militarily and every other way; against Abbas, Hamas and all the rest – and this is what has guided his actions, and this is what provoked Hamas into going to war against Israel.
Washington, Brussels and a growing number of Arab states have demanded an immediate halt to the violence which is threatening to expand into a wider conflict in a region already bristling with tension.
Hamas criticizes Egypt on sealing Rafah crossing
Meanwhile, officials from Hamas strongly criticized and condemned the Egyptian military and government for sealing off the Rafah crossing. The crossing is the only exit and entrance between Egypt and Gaza for Palestinians in the strip.
The Hamas officials also pointed out that the Egyptians were allowing Israelis the ability to enter Egypt through Taba Border Crossing.
Israel claims its assault is aimed at stopping rockets being fired from the besieged strip towards Israeli occupied territories.
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