Israel prepared for ‘significant expansion’ of Gaza operation

Israel was prepared to substantially broaden its operation in the Gaza strip, the country’s prime minister said on Sunday as its military planes continued to bomb targets in Gaza City.

“The Israel Defense Forces have attacked more than 1,000 terror targets in the Gaza Strip,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting. “We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the terrorist organizations and the Israel Defense Forces are prepared for a significant expansion of the operation.”

He gave no specifics and made no mention of the possibility of a ground offensive.

Palestinian medical officials said Sunday at least 12 civilians, including women and young children, were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama said he fully supported Israel’s right to defend itself but cautioned against a ground offensive.

“If this can be accomplished without a ramping up of military activity in Gaza, that is preferable,” Obama said. “That’s not just preferable for the people of Gaza, it’s also preferable for Israelis because if Israeli troops are in Gaza they’re much more at risk of incurring fatalities or being wounded.”