Jerusalem, July 16 :
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday said his country will expand its military campaign against Gaza, as rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave caused the first Israeli civilian fatality since launch of “Operation Protective Edge” last week, officials said.
A 30-year-old Israeli man was fatally injured by a rocket that struck the Erez crossing and died of wounds shortly after, Xinhua quoted an Israeli army spokesperson as saying.
A soldier at the scene was also slightly injured.
Later in the day, Gaza militants intensified the rocket fire on Israel, launching 96 rockets since Israel unilaterally accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal Tuesday morning.
Around 7 p.m., barrages of rocket showered Tel Aviv and the southern cities of Be’er Sheva, Ofakim and Mitzpe Ramon.
The Iron Dome anti-missile defence system intercepted two rockets above Tel Aviv, an Israeli military spokesperson said.
Earlier Tuesday, Israel resumed its air raids on Gaza, after a unilateral approval of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement by its cabinet was met with rockets.
Since the beginning of Israel’s offensive against the Gaza Strip in July 8, the health ministry in Gaza said that 194 Palestinians were killed and 1,480 others injured.
Netanyahu said his country will expand its military campaign against Gaza as Hamas rejected the ceasefire proposal.
“I said that if Hamas and the Islamic Jihad will not comply with the cease fire we will continue to strike them forcefully, and so we did,” he said.
“The Israeli Air Force struck many terrorist targets in Gaza and these attacks will continue. Hamas chose to continue the escalation and it will pay a price for this decision. When there’s no cease fire, our answer is fire,” the prime minister added.
However, Netanyahu did not specifically talk about a ground offensive, but Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel will continue to attack Hamas, “by air, sea or land” if necessary.