Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will increase assault on Hamas

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the country will increase its assault on Hamas and terrorist organisations in Gaza.

His announcement came in a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon after another day of rocket attacks on Israel.

Mr Netanyahu said: “The IDF is prepared for all possibilities. Hamas will pay a heavy price for firing at Israel's citizens. The security of Israel's citizens is our primary consideration.

“Our military is strong, the home front is steadfast and our people are united. This is our response to the terrorist organisations that attack us.”

He said Israel was working to “restore quiet” but added that Operation Protective Edge would be expanded until rocket attacks stop.

Rockets fired from Gaza have continued to fall on Israel throughout the day, with sirens and warnings heard in a range of towns and cities.

Among those targeted by Hamas were Zichron Yaacov, Haifa, Holon, Bat Yam, Hadera, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva and Tel Aviv.

There were reports of sirens being sounded in Rahat, one of the main Arab areas, populated by Bedouin communities.

At one stage on Wednesday afternoon it was thought rockets had also been aimed at Hebron in the West Bank.

In Gaza, the health ministry said 49 people had been killed since Sunday in IDF attacks. It is thought that 11 of the fatalities were children, with eight women also dead.

The ministry estimated 450 people had been injured.

In Britain, the Board of Deputies called on Hamas to end its terror attacks.

Board president Vivian Wineman said: “No country could tolerate the indiscriminate bombing of its civilians and Israel has responded by trying to diminish Hamas' capability to inflict wanton damage on Israel’s civilian population.

“Violence offers no long-term solution to the challenges faced, and will only increase the suffering of Israelis and Palestinians. This misery is in nobody's interests.

“At this worrying time, we, as representatives of the UK Jewish community, pray for peace in this troubled region.”

Last updated: 4:55pm, July 9 2014