The Israeli military operation was one of the largest in nearly a year.
The military deployed helicopters, main battle tanks and armored combat
vehicles in a raid of several areas of the Gaza Strip, including Gaza City.
"Hamas is directly responsible for the current situation and will be the
one to bear the cost of our response," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak
said. "An Israeli response is necessary and will be carried out."
Hamas said more than 60 Palestinians were killed and 160 were injured.
Palestinian gunners, however, continued to fire Kassam-class, short-range
missiles and Katyusha rockets into Israel.
The Israeli operation was focused on the Palestinian refugee camp of
Jebalya, said to contain missile production facilities. Hamas combatants
deployed heavy machine-guns, mortars and anti-tank missiles.
By late Saturday, more than 40 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers
were killed in Jebalya. The fighting was said to have continued into Sunday.
Hamas fired at least nine BM-21 Grad rockets toward the Israeli city of
Ashkelon. The Israeli military reported an air force strike on a Hamas truck
that contained 160 rockets "intended to be launched at Israel."
"Following the Grad missile barrage into Ashkelon, the Home Front
Command began to set off warning sirens throughout the city," the military
statement said. "The warning sirens will also be put into use in neighboring