World Bulletin / News Desk
The Israeli army said Tuesday that its air and naval forces had pounded 50 sites across the Gaza Strip overnight while its ground troops are being mobilized on the border with the Palestinian enclave for a possible ground operation.
"The Israeli army command has drawn up a plan that would escalate gradually in accordance with the developments on the ground," Israeli army's Arabic-language spokesman Avichay Adraee wrote on his official Twitter account.
"The Israeli army continues to mobilize ground troops along the border with Gaza in preparation for the possibility that the operation would entail a ground incursion," he said.
"Preparations are underway to summon reservist units," added the Israeli military spokesman.
The Israeli army has announced launching a military offensive, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," with the stated aim of ending rocket firing from Gaza.
Adraee said that among the marked targets were homes of Hamas members and 18 rocket launch sites
22 wounded in fresh air strikes on Gaza
At least 22 Palestinians have been wounded in the early hours of Tuesday morning in a series of Israeli air, ground and marine operations on the Gaza Strip, officials said.
"At least 22 Palestinians, including two children, were injured in Israeli raids," Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudrah told the Anadolu Agency.
Israeli planes launched at least 60 strikes in Gaza, according to eyewitness reports.
Tensions have been running high in the region since Wednesday, following the kidnap and killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy in a suspected "revenge" attack by Jewish settlers near Jerusalem.
The Palestinian boy's murder came hot on the heels of the discovery of the bodies of three missing Jewish settlers.
The Israeli army has detained hundreds of Palestinians since the three settlers' disappearance last month.
Family of slain teen refuses Israeli condolences
On Monday, the family of a slain Palestinian teenager said they had refused to receive Israeli President Shimon Peres, who had come to East Jerusalem's Shuafat village to offer Israel's condolences.
Abu Khdeer, 16, was abducted from outside his home in East Jerusalem last Wednesday. His charred body was found later the same day in a forest near Jerusalem.
Footage taken from a security camera near the slain boy's home showed what appeared to be Jewish settlers abducting him.
In the footage, the kidnappers can be seen forcing him into their car before speeding off.
Preliminary autopsy reports revealed that he had been burnt alive by his abductors.
Israeli police have arrested six suspects in connection with the murder. According to Israeli media, the suspects include a rabbi, his two sons, and three Jewish extremists.
Abbas urges int'l community to halt Israeli escalation
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on the international community to intervene to halt Israeli military escalation against the Palestinians.
"Abbas warned of the consequences of this escalation and called on the international community to immediately intervene to stop this grave Israeli escalation that will drag the region into more destruction and instability," the PA said in a statement cited by the official Wafa news agency.
Abbas said that the Palestinian leadership was holding contacts with several Arab and international parties to stop the Israeli military escalation.Last Mod: 08 Temmuz 2014, 11:12