Israel: ‘We’ll continue to kill as many as we can’
Israel’s military on Tuesday said it would continue to carry out strikes in the West Bank even as the government called on the international community to “stop the killing”.
In a statement issued in response to a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the military said the air force’s “targeted attacks” on Hamas fighters were “a matter of principle”.
The air force said in a statement that “the target is Hamas and the aim is to destroy it”.
“It is clear that we will continue to target the Hamas militants and their military infrastructure and facilities,” it said.
“The aim is a total destruction of the terror organisation and the terror infrastructure it uses.”
Israel’s offensive in Gaza, which began in July, has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 67 Israelis since it began in the summer.
It has also driven thousands of Gazans from their homes, killed more Palestinians and driven some 500,000 refugees from their lands.
More than 1,100 Palestinians have also been killed in the Israeli assault on Gaza since it resumed on December 23.
Israel has accused Hamas of firing rockets into Israeli communities, including a hospital, during the offensive.
But the military has said that in the past Hamas has fired rockets from densely populated areas in the west of the coastal enclave.
Israel and Hamas have been at odds over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which erupted in November 2014 when a Hamas-run Gaza city was destroyed in a massive Israeli air strike.
In the past, the two sides have accused each other of launching missiles into Israeli cities and communities.
Israel says Hamas fired more than a dozen rockets into southern Israel in recent days.
Earlier this month, the Israeli military said it had intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza that it said was heading towards the coastal territory.
The statement said that on December 19, an Israeli drone had detected a rocket from the Gaza Strip, which hit an open area in the north of Israel, killing one person and injuring seven others.
Israel launched an air campaign in Gaza in response, but the ground offensive ended in July after the death of more than 1-1/2 million Palestinians in the four-year conflict.