STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Israel steps up Gaza offensive

CNC
Added On July 10, 2014

We start with the latest on Gaza, where Israel's widening military operation, code-named Protective Edge, has entered its third day.

Israel has continued to target the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with airstrikes, killing more than 10 Palestinians.
 
Meanwhile, heavy rockets fired from Gaza showered over multiple Israeli targets, as Hamas intensified its response to the  Israeli military operation.
 
The escalation has become the most serious flare-up in the region since 2012.
 
Exchanges of missile and rocket fire continue...
 
On Wednesday, the Israeli air force carried out dozens of strikes on Gaza. 
 
The Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 10 people were killed, including five children. Another 16 were also wounded.
 
SOUNDBITE 1(ARABIC): ABU TAYSSIR KURDI, Gaza resident
"The Israelis bombarded my house. Civilians' houses like mine are not spared."
 
SOUNDBITE 2 (ARABIC): BASSAM AHMED, Gaza resident  
"The children were panicking after the Israeli missiles hit my neighbor's house. We rushed out for a safer shelter."
 
SOUNDBITE 3 (ARABIC): ABU HASSAN, Gaza resident 
"The Israeli acts are war crimes. How can I rebuild my house now? I barely have the money to feed my kids."
 
The latest assault has raised the death toll to 40 Palestinians, most of whom are civilians.
 
Meanwhile, Hamas has hit back, firing dozens of rockets deep into the Israeli heartland. 
 
Israeli authorities say over 130 rockets have hit Israel in the past 24 hours, about 30 of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system while dozens have fallen into empty fields.
 
Air raid sirens wailed through the night across southern Israel, inciting panic as people scurried for cover.
 
SOUNDBITE (HEBREW): AVIHAI JORNO, Israeli citizen 
"After our city was attacked by rocketfire, my daughter doesn't want to go to the bathroom or shower on her own, and my son thinks he's hearing rocket alert sirens all the time. Something has to be done."
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday pledged to continue to step up attacks on Hamas, to halt rocket fire.
 
SOUNDBITE (HEBREW): BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Israeli Prime Minister  
"We'll not tolerate being fired at. Hamas will pay a very serious price. We are in the midst of a military operation. We need patience, determination and aggression."
 
Tension between Israelis and Palestinians have continued to simmer since three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found dead. The slaying of a Palestinian youth last week, in what was believed to be a revenge attack, further worsened the situation.
 
UN  Secretary-General  Ban  Ki-moon  on  Wednesday  called  on  the  Israeli  and  Palestinian  leaders  to  restore  a  political  horizon,  warning  the  region  is  facing  "one  of  the  most  critical  tests".
 
The UN Security Council is set to meet on Thursday to discuss the escalating situation in the region. 
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): BAN KI-MOON, UN Secretary-General
"I am alarmed by the new wave of violence that has engulfed Gaza, southern Israel and the West Bank – including  East Jerusalem. This is one of the most critical tests the region has faced in recent years. Gaza is on a knife-edge.  The deteriorating situation is leading to a downward spiral which could quickly get beyond anyone's control."