Israel responded daily bombing of its territories by Hamas militants with second day air raid killing at least 229 peoples. Reuters reports:
The Jewish state said it was responding to “intolerable” almost daily rocket and mortar fire by Gaza militants that intensified after Hamas ended a six-month ceasefire a week ago.
The militant attacks caused some injuries, raising the stakes for Israeli leaders ahead of a February 10 election which surveys show the right-wing opposition Likud party may win.
Israel said its warplanes mounted about 100 strikes on Saturday and that Palestinian militants had fired some 70 rockets at the Jewish state, killing one Israeli man.
“There is a time for calm and a time for fighting, and now the time has come to fight,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on television. He later ruled out any new truce with Hamas.
Black smoke billowed over Gaza City after Israel bombed more than 40 security compounds, and uniformed bodies lay in a pile and the wounded writhed in pain at a graduation ceremony for new recruits hosted by Hamas.
The US blamed Hamas government and asked them to cease firing mortals to Israel territories:
The U.S. on Saturday blamed the militant group Hamas for breaking a cease-fire and attacking Israel, which retaliated with strikes of its own during what became the single bloodiest day of fighting in years.
The White House called for the cease-fire to be restored, yet there were few indications that the violence, which has left more than 200 people dead and nearly another 400 wounded, was waning. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that the operation in Gaza would widen if necessary.
It was “completely unacceptable” for Hamas, which controls Gaza, to launch attacks on Israel after a truce lasting several months, said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
“These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas that indiscriminately kill their own people,” Johndroe said in Texas as President George W. Bush was spending the week before New Year’s at his ranch here. “They need to stop. We have said in the past that they have a choice to make. You can’t have one foot in politics and one foot in terror.”
President-elect Barack Obama was receiving an intelligence briefing on Saturday from various security agencies, Johndroe said. Bush has spoken to regional leaders and the administration will remain in close contact, he said.
Obama also spoke during the day with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who was keeping Bush abreast of the situation.