JERUSALEM - Hundreds of rockets have been launched into Israel today by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, killing three people.
By nightfall Thursday, Hamas said it had fired more than 350 rockets into the Jewish state. Israel said some 220 rockets struck the country and another 130 were intercepted by an anti-missile shield. Three rockets targeted the Tel Aviv area.
The fighting is the heaviest in four years. It came after Israel launched a ferocious air assault Wednesday to stop repeated rocket fire from Gaza. The powerful Hamas military chief was killed in that strike, and another 18 Palestinians died over two days.
Israeli warplanes struck dozens of Hamas-linked targets in Gaza on Thursday. After nightfall, several explosions shook Gaza City several minutes apart, a sign the strikes were not letting up.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning of a "significant widening" of the Gaza operation.
There are mounting signs it will be on the ground. At least 12 trucks were seen transporting tanks and armored personnel carriers toward Gaza late Thursday, and a number of buses carrying soldiers arrived. Israeli TV stations say a Gaza incursion is expected on Friday, though military officials say no decision had been made.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak says he has authorized the call-up of reservists, and the army says up to 30,000 additional troops could be drafted.
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