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Israeli officials: Airstrikes will 'exact a heavy price'

July 9, 2014 3:08 P.M. (Updated: July 9, 2014 7:17 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Airstrikes on Gaza will become more intense in the coming days, Israeli media quoted Israeli officials as saying Wednesday.

"We'll continue with strikes that will exact a very heavy price from Hamas," Israel's defense minister told army radio.

"We will continue to hit Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza Strip from the air, sea and ground to ensure the safety of Israel's citizens," Moshe Yaalon said, according to the Israeli news site Ynet.

Israeli news site Maariv quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying he had given the order to expand military operation and target Hamas leaders and other Palestinian factions.

Maariv also published pictures of the Hamas leaders targeted in this round of airstrikes.

The leaders were identified as former Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Yahiya Sannour, Muhammad Dayf, Raid al-Attar, Ruhi Mishtaha, and Marwan Issa.

Israel's military campaign on Gaza has killed 35 Palestinians, most of them civilians, since Tuesday. The offensive has also left over 300 injured so far.

Israel says the offensive -- which it has dubbed "Operation Protective Edge" -- comes in response to heavy rocket fire from Gaza.
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