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Middle East

Netanyahu threatens more force against Gaza

media Palestinians launch a rocket towards Israel on Saturday Reuters/Darren Whiteside

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that the Jewish state will respond "with even more force" if rocket fire from Gaza continues. The statement comes after Hamas, which controls the Strip, responded positively to Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s suggestion of a truce.

"If the criminal attacks against Israeli military and civilians continues, Israeli will respond with even more force," Netanyahu told public radio.

Israel has killed at least 18 people in air strikes on the Gaza Strip, after an anti-tank missile fired from the coastal enclave hit a school bus on Thursday seriously wounding a teenager.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Earlier Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri told the AFP news agency that “a truce will be met with a truce” after Barak declared, “If they cease firing, we’ll cease firing.”

Barak has indefinitely postponed a trip to Washington. The violence has been the deadliest since Israel’s 2008-2009 offensive on Gaza, which was prompted by Palestinian rocket attacks.

Hamas had previously announced a unilateral truce but rockets continued to be fired from Gaza, with the Islamic Jihad group claiming responsibility for attacks on Saturday.

Hamas declared a state of emergency forces for its security forces Saturday.

Turkey on Sunday dubbed Israel’s operations “excessive” and disproportionate”.

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