JERUSALEM (AP) — Palestinian medical officials now say at least 19 Palestinians, including three children, have been killed in Israeli air and sea attacks today on the Gaza Strip. The attacks struck more than 100 locations.
The Israelis are responding to continued rocket fire from that area. Two rocket attacks targeted Tel Aviv today, but both were intercepted by Israel's missile defense system. Air raid sirens were also heard in Jerusalem. A TV station says a rocket hit a house near there, but there were no injuries.
Israel's military says it's begun an open-ended offensive in the Gaza Strip aimed at striking a blow against the Hamas rulers there. A cabinet official told Israeli TV that the offensive "will take time." And he added that if Israel needs to launch a ground operation in Gaza, it will do so.
Israeli officials say the government has authorized the army to mobilize an additional 40,000 troops, if needed, for the operation. By nightfall, the army said it had mobilized half of the forces, in addition to 1,500 reservists who were activated earlier.
Tensions have been high since three Israeli teens were kidnapped June 12 in the West Bank and were later found dead. That was followed by last week's slaying of a Palestinian youth.
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