Israel And Hamas Exchange Fire As Fighting Intensifies

Hostilities between Israelis and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas escalated on Wednesday, as Israel began to bombard the Gaza Strip in response to rockets being fired at nearly every major Israeli city over the past couple days.

More than 40 Palestinians have been reported dead so far, and Hamas is considering this the outbreak of war against the “Zionist enemies.”

Israeli planes have struck all over the southern Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials have said this offensive may be the start of a lengthier battle between Israel and Islamist militants after numerous rockets reached deep into Israel.

Here are some of the latest Reuters photos of Israeli strikes inside the Gaza Strip on Wednesday:

Here’s a video posted on a popular Hamas message board showing a rocket being shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome defence system.

Smoke trails were visible over Gaza from rockets aimed towards Tel Aviv, Israel’s most populous city.

Inside Gaza, Israeli targets have included the houses of all of Hamas’s brigade commanders. The strikes have provoked widespread outrage throughout the Strip. Here are the bodies of victims of Israeli airstrikes being carried through the streets:

A Twitter account claiming to be associated with Hamas’s Al Qassam Brigades says the strikes have killed at least 40 Palestinians.

Hamas strikes have had only limited damage inside of Israel, although this is partly result of Israeli defensive measures and luck. Barak Ravid of Ha’aretz reports that the Iron Dome missile defence system has intercepted numerous rockets from the Gaza.

Peter Gelling adds that Israel will push forward with more intense attacks following Wednesday’s exchange of fire.

Air raid sirens were also sounding across the entire Tel Aviv metropolitan area today.

Iron Dome has prevented rockets from falling over Israel’s most populated areas. Here are two photos of the missle battery in action in and around Tel Aviv:

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