Thursday, February 28, 2008


Israel steps up pressure on Hamas, killing 20 (MSNBC)
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - A bloody spike in Israel-Hamas fighting put the Israeli city of Ashkelon and its 110,000 residents at the center of an intensifying militant rocket barrage Thursday — and Israel's defense minister warned he would invade Gaza, if necessary, to halt the attacks.

Israel sent a not-so-veiled warning to Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, killing 20 Palestinians in almost a dozen airstrikes, including a missile attack on a guard post outside Haniyeh's home. Hamas leaders have been in hiding in recent weeks, though Israel has so far only targeted militants, not Hamas politicians.

Those killed on Thursday included members of rocket squads, as well as five children, ranging in age from 8 to 12, who their relatives said were playing soccer when they were killed in a missile strike.

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