Israeli jets and naval gun fire pounded the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, killing at least 22 people and injuring 90 more, as the government of Binyamin Netanyahu launched a large-scale military operation against the Islamist militant group Hamas in the coastal enclave.
Israel announced it had authorised the call-up of up to 40,000 reservists for a possible ground operation, even as it began moving convoys of additional tanks and other armour to the Gaza border.
"We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard," General Moti Almoz, the chief military spokesman, told army radio. He said the action would take place in stages.
The announcement came as explosions boomed across the Gaza Strip, sending plumes of grey smoke into the sky and shaking buildings in streets already largely emptied of people.
From the other side, armed factions in Gaza fired about 140 rockets into southern Israel on Tuesday. There were no reports of deaths from rockets fired out of Gaza. more