Israeli army chief says to extend strikes on Gaza

Israeli army chief says to extend strikes on Gaza

Israeli military chief Aviv Kochavi decided on Tuesday to extend Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip "with no time limit" amid the tensions with Hamas, a Palestinian movement that runs the strip.

The Israeli military issued a statement, saying that following a security assessment, Kochavi has ordered to beef up the forces around the Gaza Strip with more infantry and armored brigades, and continue striking the sites belonging to Hamas and other militant groups, Xinhua reported.

It came after at least 26 Palestinians, including nine children, have been killed since the Israeli attack began on Monday.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has approved the recruit of some 5,000 reservists to enable the operation, his office said in a statement.

Hamas expanded the range of its rockets on Monday afternoon, firing projectiles also toward Ashdod, a city in southern-central Israel.

Heavy barrages were fired at Ashdod and Ashkelon, injuring at least four Israelis, according to the Magen David Adom emergency health service.

A Hamas spokesman said in a statement that its combatants fired 137 "heavy rockets" at the two places within five minutes.

The group warned it will renew the fire and expand its range even further if Israel does not change its policy in East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a flashpoint site where Israeli police have been clashing with Palestinians over the past weeks.