Netanyahu pledges 'massive strikes' in Gaza as death toll rises

Netanyahu pledges 'massive strikes' in Gaza as death toll rises

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has ordered "massive strikes" in the Gaza Strip after a two-day surge in cross-border attacks that killed six Palestinians and one Israeli, Al Jazeera reports.

Israeli warplanes and gunboats continued to target the Gaza Strip on Sunday, as dozens of rockets were also fired from Gaza into southern Israel.

The Palestinian victims included a pregnant mother and her one-year-old baby. In the Israeli city of Ashkelon, a 58-year-old Israeli man was killed in a rocket strike. 

"This morning I instructed the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) to continue with massive strikes against terrorists in the Gaza Strip," Netanyahu, who doubles as Israeli defence minister, said in a statement after consulting with his security cabinet on Sunday.

"I also instructed that forces around the Gaza Strip be stepped up with tank, artillery and infantry forces.

"Hamas is responsible not only for its attacks against Israel, but also for the Islamic Jihad's attacks, and it is paying a very heavy price for it," he added.