Israel steps up assaults in Gaza with shells, airstrikes

2021-05-14 02:06:00 GMT2021-05-14 10:06:00(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

JERUSALEM, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Israel's military unleashed on Thursday night an "unprecedented" assault on the Gaza Strip, the military said.

An Israeli military spokesperson said in a statement that before midnight, its forces struck Gaza with airstrikes and artillery, as rockets from the Palestinian enclave continued to be fired towards Israel.

Israel's state-owned Kan TV news reported that the magnitude of the attack was "unprecedented" since the beginning of the offensive on Monday.

"I've said we will exact a heavy price from Hamas and we are doing it," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement. He did not elaborate on the specific goal of the assault.

"We will continue to do so," Netanyahu warned. "The last word hasn't been said yet and this operation will continue as long as needed."

The move came amid international efforts to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas on the fourth day of fighting in the most severe flare-up of conflicts between the two sides since 2014.

At least 103 Palestinians and eight Israelis have been killed, according to Palestinian and Israeli official figures.