Israel threatens to INVADE Gaza after killing 11 Hamas leaders as all-out war ready to explode

ISRAEL has threatened to invade Gaza as they prepare to intensify operations after "neutralising" 11 Hamas leaders.

The terror group is "stockpiling enough rockets to bomb Israel for two months" with many fearing that the region is on the brink of all-out war.

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On Wednesday, Israel pressed ahead and killed the military figures in a series of airstrikes as the conflict in the region continues to escalate.

The Islamic militant group Hamas showed no signs of backing down – firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities, including heavily populated Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

And Israel's fierce military offensive in Gaza saw the toppling of a pair of high-rise towers housing Hamas facilities in a series of airstrikes.

Six high-ranking commanders and a further five key Hamas figures were "neutralised" on Wednesday, including Brigadier General Bassem Issa and Jamal Zabda, head of the group's rocket unit, according to the Israeli Defence Force.

And of the 300 military targets struck, at least 20 of those killed were senior operatives from Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

While Palestinian militants have stockpiled enough missiles to continue bombing Israel for the next two months, security experts have warned.


The IDF said their “marching orders” were to intensify operations, as Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus added: “We will continue to operate to attack their military infrastructure and prepare additional activities until they get the message."

Many people, including the UN, fear that the conflict will lead to an "all-out war."

Yesterday, disturbing footage showed a mob of Israelis battering an "Arab" driver in the street after he was pulled from his car.

The video comes amid escalating violence between Israel and Hamas as the death toll reaches 74 including 17 children.

Over 370 arrests have been made across the country as street clashes continue in Israel – with Jewish and Arab citizens attacking one another.

Hamas militants in Gaza have launched hundreds of rockets since Monday at Israel, which has carried out air strikes on the coastal enclave.

The most intense fighting in seven years between Israel and Gaza's armed groups was triggered by weekend unrest at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Islamic Jihad confirmed the deaths of seven militants, while Hamas acknowledged that a top commander named Bassem Issa and several other members were killed.

Israeli PM Netanyahu said his army would only use "increasing force" as they look to significantly weaken the militant group.

He said: "We eliminated senior Hamas commanders and this is just the beginning.

"We will inflict blows on them that they couldn't even dream of."

Meanwhile, the leader of Hamas Ismail Haniyeh vowed "if Israel wants to escalate, we are ready for it."

As rockets from Gaza streaked overhead, rioters torched vehicles, a restaurant and a synagogue in one of the worst spasms of communal violence Israel has seen in years.

And after a senior Hamas commander was killed yesterday, the Islamist militant group responded with a barrage of rockets into southern Israel which rescue workers said killed a six-year-old boy.

Earlier, a group of black-clad Israelis smashed the windows of an Arab-owned ice cream shop in Bat Yam and ultra-nationalists could be seen chanting, “Death to Arabs” on television during a standoff with cops.

Police said they arrested nearly 400 people allegedly involved in riots and disturbances across the country yesterday.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group, showed no signs of backing down and fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities.

In just three days, this latest round of fighting between the bitter enemies has already begun to resemble and even exceed a devastating 50-day war in 2014.

Like that previous war, neither side appears to have an exit strategy.

Israel carried out an intense barrage of airstrikes just after sunrise, striking dozens of targets in several minutes that set off bone-rattling explosions across Gaza.

Airstrikes continued throughout the day, filling the sky with pillars of smoke.

Around 1,500 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israeli cities since hostilities escalated between Hamas and Israel earlier in the week, Israel's army said.

The Israeli Defence Force had said that 1,000 rockets had been launched from Gaza since Monday evening, but by early Thursday the number had leapt by roughly 500.

What triggered the violence?

Clashes erupted on Friday as Muslims packed the Al-Aqsa mosque to pray during the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

Violence had been building in the Holy City and occupied West Bank for the previous week.

Palestinians hurled stones, bottles and fireworks at Israeli police who fire rubber bullets and stun grenades. The site is sacred to Jews as the location of two biblical-era temples.

More than 220 people, mostly Palestinians, were wounded.

On Saturday, prayers at the mosque compound are held peacefully but violence flares elsewhere in east Jerusalem.

Some 121 Palestinians are wounded overnight, many hit by rubber bullets and stun grenades, the Palestinian Red Crescent says.

Israeli police say 17 of its officers are wounded.

Much of the recent unrest stems from the long-running legal effort by Jewish settler groups to evict several Palestinian families from their homes in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

A lower court ruling earlier this year backing the settlers' decades-old claim infuriated Palestinians.

A Supreme Court hearing on a Palestinian appeal had been set for Monday and risked inflaming tensions further.

On Sunday, the justice ministry delays the hearing in light of "the circumstances".

Scuffles between Palestinians and Israeli police in east Jerusalem continue overnight into Sunday.

In the evening, Israeli police again face off against mostly young Palestinians at several locations in east Jerusalem.

Some 331 Palestinians are wounded, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent, in renewed clashes between Palestinians and police at the mosque on Monday ahead of a planned march to commemorate Israel's capture of Jerusalem in 1967.

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