Israeli forces have intensified their aerial offensive on the Gaza Strip targeting Hamas and Islamic militants even as the Palestinians issued conditions for a ceasefire.
Pressing ahead with its major operation, codenamed Protective Edge, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have struck as many as 160 insurgent targets overnight. The targets include a weapons storage facility, training bases and launching infrastructure.
"We are determined to lay a significant blow on Hamas' terror capabilities and infrastructure, eliminate any threat on Israeli sovereignty emanating from the Gaza Strip and restore stability to the southern region," said IDF spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner.
"Terrorists perpetrating the aggression against Israel have a personal price to pay and will bear the consequences of their actions."
Palestinian media have said a senior member of the Islamic Jihad group has been killed in an Israeli strike. At least 20 suspected militants in the Gaza Strip have been killed in the last two offensives.
The Israeli cabinet has also authorised the calling up 40,000 reserve troops in case of an escalation in the conflict. About 1,500 have already been deployed near the Gaza Strip.
As part of its retaliatory attacks, the Hamas launched a barrage of rockets into Israel. Of the 140 rockets fired on Israel within a span of 24 hours, 30 were blocked by the Iron Dome missile interceptor while the remaining landed in places as far as north of Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, the military wing of Hamas - Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades – has issued a statement setting terms for a ceasefire.
Exhorting the Israeli forces to stop the aggression against the Gaza Strip, they have also called for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
According to a video statement filmed from a secret location, the Hamas has urged Israel to adhere to the deal reached after the 2012 confrontation.