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Israel Calls Up 8,000 More Reservists as Bombing Rages

Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:19:38 +0000

David Silverman/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israel has called an additional 8,000 military reservists Wednesday, indicating that its offensive against Hamas is not winding down.

The new reservists will be joining the 40,000 that have already been called up, with many of them poised along with tanks on Israel's border with Gaza.

This comes as a senior Hamas official announced that the Islamic militant group has formally closed the door on the Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire aimed at ending the conflict with Israel.

International officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, seemed hopeful that the peace deal could still work even after Hamas ignored the cease-fire proposal Tuesday and continued to fire rockets at Israel. Israel responded after a six-hour break with a fresh barrage of aerial and naval attacks at what they called terrorist sites.

The death toll in the nine-day slugfest reached 214, all but one of them Palestinians and many of them civilians and children, according to Gaza health officials. At least 1,550 people have been injured in Gaza since fighting broke out last week, the health officials said.

Tens of thousands of Gazans have fled their homes after Israeli leaflets and robo calls to their homes urged them to evacuate their homes.

“The evacuation is for your own safety,” the leaflets read. “You should not return to the premises until further notice. Whoever disregards these instructions and fails to evacuate immediately, endangers their own lives, as well as those of their families.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, would pay a price for rejecting the cease-fire and launching more rockets at Israel.

"Our answer is fire," he said.

The battle has broken a two-year lull in hostilities between Israel and Hamas and was triggered by the slaying of three Israeli teens and revenge burning death of a Palestinian teen. Angry protests escalated to rocket launches and retaliatory air strikes.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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