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10 killed as Israel strikes more targets in Gaza


Gaza/Tel Aviv : Israel pounded more targets in Gaza, as a massive military operation aimed at curbing rocket and mortar attacks from the strip entered its fourth day Tuesday.

Palestinians reported at least 10 dead in the latest strikes, bringing the toll of Operation Cast Lead to at least 360, with more than 1,600 injured.

But a defiant Hamas, three days into the offensive and showing that it still had long-range rockets in its arsenal, stepped up its own attacks reaching deeper into Israel than had previously been targeted.

Two Israelis were killed, bringing the Israeli toll since Saturday to four dead and several dozen injured. They included a woman who was fatally injured when a rocket launched at Ashdod took her by surprise as she was driving in the southern Israeli port city, located over 30 km from Gaza Strip.

It marked the furthest a rocket fired from the salient has landed in Israel. So far, only one rocket landed near the city, but fell south of the city Sunday.

The Israeli offensive, which come one week after an Egypt-mediated truce formally ended, continued to focus on airstrikes, but the army was also in the advanced stages of preparing for a possible ground offensive as well.

Large columns of tanks, military vehicles and buses with Israeli soldiers on board have moved southwards since Sunday.

Israel Monday declared the area around Gaza a “closed military zone,” meaning no civilians will be allowed through roadblocks set up on key roads.

The Israeli cabinet Sunday authorized calling up 6,500 reserve soldiers, but a military spokesman said Monday they had yet to be mobilized.