Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said on Sunday that the country’s massive military assault on Gaza had “only just begun” as warplanes launched waves of airstrikes and air defenses were sent up to try to take out rockets launched in retaliation by Hamas and other militant groups.
Israeli forces have taken off from air bases around the country to drop bombs on homes, government offices, and military sites across the Palestinian enclave of Gaza. Netanyahu said the attacks are intended to weaken militant Hamas groups and shatter their tunnels.
“We are acting with intense strikes and will continue to do so as long as needed,” he said in a televised address.
The prime minister added that the Israeli military was focusing its firepower on rocket-launching sites, rocket factories, and other Hamas military infrastructure. He said that he would stop the offensive when Israel achieves its goals and, according to reports, Hamas is considering a cease-fire proposal.
At least 11 people have reportedly been killed in the airstrikes and hundreds more have been injured. The UN has called for an immediate de-escalation of the conflict and a return to negotiations to resolve the long-running conflict between Israel and Palestinians.