Israeli military officials said early Tuesday that they had carried out airstrikes targeting at least 100 sites in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as part of a new offensive aimed at halting rocket attacks by militants as President Barack Obama urged both sides to exercise restraint.
In a statement, the military said it was seeking to “retrieve stability to the residents of southern Israel, eliminate Hamas’ capabilities and destroy terror infrastructure operating against the State of Israel and its civilians.”
“We have repeatedly warned Hamas that this must stop and Israel’s defense forces are currently acting to put an end of this once and for all,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The military said “Operation Protective Edge” looks to strike the Islamic Hamas group and end the rocket fire that has reached deeper into Israel and intensified in recent weeks.
The attacks come as tensions have soared over the killing of three Israeli teenagers and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager by three Jewish suspects.
Nearly 300 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel in recent weeks, including a barrage of close to 100 projectiles on Monday alone, the military said, a huge surge after years of relative quiet that followed a previous Israeli campaign to root out Gaza rocket launchers.