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As Rockets Strike, Liberman Again Urges Gaza Ground Offensive

During visit to Ashkelon with his Norwegian counterpart, Israeli foreign minister keeps up criticism of gov't response to rocket fire.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 7/16/2014, 1:58 PM

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
Flash 90

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is continuing to call for a ground invasion of Gaza, implicitly criticizing the government's official position during a visit to the embattled southern city of Ashkelon with his Norwegian counterpart.

"A normal summer for our children can only be ensured with a ground operation in Gaza," Liberman said.

But he qualified his statement by adding that the IDF would not necessarily need to fully "reoccupy" the Arab areas of the Gaza Strip.

"We don't need to rule there, but to ensure that the terrorists of Hamas will flee or die," he added.

Those comments echoed remarks Liberman made yesterday, during a similar visit with his Italian counterpart to the city of Ashdod. Liberan is the msot prominent of several government officials to publicly criticize Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to hold off on a ground offensive in Gaza, continuing to focus on airstrikes to wear Hamas and other terrorist groups down.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon was fired yesterday for his fierce criticism of the government, with Netanyahu accusing him of abusing his position during a military operation.

Meanwhile, the IDF continues with its airstrikes on terrorist targets, after Hamas rejected a ceasefire offer Tuesday.

Medical sources in Gaza said that an Israeli Air Force missile killed three men travelling in car in Khan Yunis; the IDF identified them as terrorist operatives and confirmed it carried out a surgical strike on the vehicle.

Following the strike terrorists continued to fire rockets at Israeli civilians, directing a barrage of missiles at southern communities, including the city of Be'er Sheva. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted at least seven rockets over the town of Ofakim, and three more rockets landed in open areas, according to military sources.

Another barrage was directed towards the Sedot HaNegev region bordering Gaza, with one rocket striking a house in a Jewish village close and two more falling in open areas. Considerable damage was inflicted on the house, but fortunately there were no injuries.

At approximately 9:20 Wednesday morning Hamas fired a large salvo of rockets at the GreaterTel Aviv area in central Israel. Four rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome.

Sirens and explosions sounded throughout Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, Petah Tikva, Herzliya, Raanana and Kfar Shemaryahu.

There were no report of injuries, but nine people were treated for shock in Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, Holon, Petach Tikva and Kfar Saba.