Israel continues Gaza strikes; France to hold discussion

January 1st, 2009 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv, Jan 1 (DPA) Israel’s offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip entered its sixth day Thursday with the Israeli air force and navy hitting targets in the salient, as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was set to fly to Paris for discussions on the crisis.An Israeli military spokesman said Thursday morning that the air force and navy had carried out around 20 operations since midnight, hitting, among other targets, the Palestinian Legislative Council building, the Hamas-run ministry of justice, tunnels running under the Gaza-Egyptian border, and a Hamas arms depot.

Militants fired around five missiles and mortars Thursday morning, including Grad missiles which struck the Israeli city of Beersheba. There were no reports of injuries.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said that in Paris Livni would meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Prime Minister Francois Fillon, and would discuss “different ideas about what can be done on the diplomatic level” - but not a French proposal for a 48-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza, which Israel has rejected.

Israeli army ground troops from the engineering and armoured corps, meanwhile, were massing on the Israel-Gaza border, waiting for the order to enter the enclave.

Israel Radio quoted a military official as saying that the ground operation, which is believed imminent, would involve many soldiers, but would be limited in scope.

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