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Israel Steps Up Air Attacks In Gaza Territory

Israeli soldiers watch smoke rising from Gaza after Israel air strike. Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

Israel widened its air assault against the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers on Saturday, hitting a mosque it said was hiding rockets, as Palestinians said their death toll from the five-day offensive rose to over 125.

The military said it has struck more than 1,100 targets, including Hamas rocket launchers, command centers and weapon manufacturing and storage facilities, in a bid to stop relentless rocket fire coming from Gaza. Officials in the territory said that besides the mosque, the strikes also hit Hamas-affiliated charities and banks, as well as a home for the disabled, killing two women.

The central Gaza mosque was being used to conceal rockets like those militants have fired nearly 700 times toward Israel over the past five days, the military said. However, the strikes in the densely populated Gaza Strip show the challenge Israel faces as it considers a ground operation that could potentially pose further dangers to civilians.

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