Gaza operation to last as long as it takes -Netanyahu

Tel Aviv - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that his Gaza offensive would continue as long as necessary, a day after an Egyptian call for a ceasefire and new truce talks.

"Operation Protective Edge will continue until its aims are achieved... it may take time," he said of the Gaza Strip operation launched on 8 July, in remarks broadcast by public radio.

An Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians in the enclave on Sunday as militants kept up rocket fire.

The pace of Israeli raids was slower than on Saturday when at least 60 strikes pounded Gaza, killing 10 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and bringing down a 12-storey apartment block.

But there was no sign of either side adopting the ceasefire Egypt appealed for on Saturday to allow negotiators to return to Cairo to thrash out the details of a durable truce.

Israeli aircraft hit 20 "terror targets" in Gaza Sunday morning, while militants fired at least 20 rockets or mortar rounds at Israel, the army said.

An Israeli strike on the western side of Gaza City killed two Palestinians and wounded five, emergency services said.

Since a previous round of frantic Egyptian diplomacy collapsed on Tuesday, shattering nine days of calm, 88 Palestinians and a four-year-old Israeli boy have been killed in the violence.

At a special cabinet session at the defence ministry in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu repeated his warning of harsh retribution for the death of an Israeli child on Friday in a rocket strike on a kibbutz near the Gaza border.

PM warns Lebanon, Syria

"Hamas is paying, and will continue to pay, a heavy price for the crimes it carries out," he said.

"I call on residents of Gaza to immediately leave any structure from which Hamas carries out terror activity against us. All such sites are a target for us."

At the funeral of Daniel Tragerman on Sunday, his mother Gila said she had seen the lively child as a future leader who could have brought peace.

"You are the love of my life, a perfect child, every mother and father's dream," she said.

Netanyahu also added a veiled warning to neighbouring Lebanon and Syria after overnight rocket fire into Israel.

"There is not and will not be any immunity for anyone who fires at Israeli citizens, and that is true for every sector and every border," he said.

Earlier on Sunday, five rockets fired from Syrian-controlled territory slammed into the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights but caused no casualties, the Israeli army said.

Late Saturday, a rocket fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel, causing damage but no casualties.

Israel has so far not responded to either attack.

In a statement on Saturday, the Egyptian foreign ministry urged "concerned parties" in the Gaza conflict to accept an open-ended truce and resume indirect negotiations in Cairo.

Previous ceasefires with fixed timeframes have failed to give Egyptian mediators shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams enough time to broker a deal acceptable to both.

Israel insists on full safety for millions of citizens who live in daily fear of rocket fire.

Egypt truce talks bid

Gaza's Islamist de facto ruler, Hamas, says any truce must provide for a lifting of Israel's crippling eight-year blockade of the territory and the opening of a seaport and airport.

But on Saturday, Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon told community leaders in the south that Israel now needed to look for a diplomatic solution to the rocket fire, adding that it would be doing so from a position of strength.

"I am convinced the other side in its condition needs a ceasefire more than we do," Yaalon said.

The invitation to new truce talks came after a meeting on Saturday between Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

"What interests us now is putting a stop to the bloodshed," Abbas said.

"As soon as a ceasefire goes into effect, the two sides can sit down and discuss their demands," he said, adding that, as in previous rounds of talks, Hamas would be represented in the Palestinian delegation.

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP that "any proposal offered to the movement will be discussed".

Abbas held two rounds of talks in Qatar on Thursday and Friday with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal before heading to Cairo.

At least 2 105 Palestinians and 68 people on the Israeli side, all but four of them soldiers, have been killed since the conflict erupted nearly seven weeks ago.

The United Nations says 70% of the Palestinian victims were civilians, and that among the dead were 478 children.

Around 460 000 people have fled their homes in Gaza - more than a quarter of the enclave's 1.8 million population.

Enig Ma 2014-08-24 02:25:15 PM
"There is not and will not be any immunity for anyone who fires at Israeli citizens, and that is true for every sector and every border". Loud, clear an unambigious. Ignore at own peril.
Nithaam Moses 2014-08-24 02:36:31 PM
enigma....they slapping u on both asschicks i c lol......
Hauke Liefferink 2014-08-24 02:48:40 PM
2105 vs. 4. Seems like a fair fight. An eye for an eyes...
Scanity1 2014-08-24 03:00:22 PM
Destroy Hamas snd its capability.This is not about the fairness of the fight but a murderous organisation trying to murder as many Israeli civilians as possible.It is not Israel's fault that they have not suceeded in their objective.It sure is not from a lack of trying.
Scanity1 2014-08-24 03:00:31 PM
Destroy Hamas snd its capability.This is not about the fairness of the fight but a murderous organisation trying to murder as many Israeli civilians as possible.It is not Israel's fault that they have not suceeded in their objective.It sure is not from a lack of trying.
Shaun O'Meara 2014-08-24 03:05:56 PM
These repoters are doing what we call selective reporting. I have proof of so called children of both male and female firing AK 47 at Israel soldiers. I'm also able to show you pictures of a young boy around eight years of age firing what looks like a 9mm S&W over a wall at the army while hamas fighters are shouting at him to keep firing. I also have pictures of a child of twelve years old strapped full of explosives. Lastly a child of no more than five years of age on what seems to be his father's shoulders holding a hand grenade. Also pictures of Palestinian soldiers training these children in full military uniform. Why is the UN not doing anything to stop child soldiers and make these officers face a international criminal court. Yet when women and children are killed the weapons are collected by hamas and all you see is "civilians" young terrorist not of free will laying dead in the street or hospitals. You journalists need to show the real truth. Not the rubbish you report on. This is happening in all the Muslim countries and everyone is turning a blind eye. Pathetic fools. Open your eyes to the rot in islam. It is a sick way of life and nothing as they try to portray as a peaceful religion that is made up of hate and child brides to older pedophile men. Wake up people. Is this how you want to live or rather die? If you dont convert to islam you are beheaded. You choose.
Eckhart Piprek 2014-08-24 03:26:46 PM
It can only last as long as the US continues funding and supplying sophisticated weaponry to the Israeli killing machine.
Mohammed Salajee 2014-08-24 03:26:55 PM
uR looks says it all "MURDERER" thirsty for blood & land.Hard rock one day some1 wil strike u & a very long end as was ur friend the "pharoah" Sharon.
Kobus Van der Linde 2014-08-24 03:42:22 PM
AND YOU WONDER WHY THEY CLOSE BORDERS / MAKE BLOCKADES - THIS IS WHY: The Defense Ministry on Sunday decided to close down the Erez border crossing into Gaza after mortar fire seriously injured two people and moderately wounded a third person. The Erez crossing had remained open throughout Operation Protective Edge in order to transport injured Palestinians to Israel for treatment.
Teko Mohaeka 2014-08-24 04:32:10 PM
Why Egypt?Are they UN