Israel At ‘War to the Bitter End,’ Strikes Key Hamas Sites

Israel’s defense minister said Monday the country is engaged in a “war to the bitter end” against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and said the military operation against the terror group would continue and intensify.

“We have stretched our hand in peace many times to the Palestinian people. We have nothing against the people of Gaza,” Ehud Barak said to a special session of parliament. “But this is an all-out war against Hamas and its branches. The restraint that we have demonstrated is the source of our strength when it is time to fight.”

Israel’s air force obliterated symbols of Hamas power on the third day of its overwhelming Gaza assault, striking a house next to the Hamas premier’s home, devastating a security compound and flattening a five-story building at a university closely linked to the Islamic terror group.

Israel declared areas around the Gaza Strip a “closed military zone,” citing the risk from retaliatory Palestinian rocket fire.

The closure could also help Israel mount a surprise ground assault, should it be ordered. A military spokesman told Reuters the new policy meant that civilians, including journalists, may be barred from a buffer zone of 1 to 2 miles from Gaza.

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