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War in Israel: Hamas Dares Israel to Invade After Expanded Israeli Strikes in Gaza Strip

Tensions between Israel and Hamas show no signs of abetting, after Israeli aircraft struck crowded areas in the Gaza Strip and killed a senior militant in a missile strike on Monday, and Hamas' leader dared Israel to invade the Gaza Strip.

Speaking at a news conference in Cairo, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal dared Israel to launch a ground invasion and dismissed efforts to broker a ceasefire agreement."If you wanted to launch it, you would have done it," he said, accusing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of mobilizing the army along the Gaza border as a bluff move, to "dictate its own terms and force us into silence."

Meshal said, “The demand of the people of Gaza is meeting their legimitate demands — for Israel to be restrained from its aggression, assassinations and invasions, and for the siege over Gaza to be ended."

Hamas fighters continue to fire rockets into Israel, including 75 on Monday, among them one that hit an empty school in southern Israel. Schools have been closed since the start of hostilities on Wednesday. Three people have been killed so far in Israel in a rocket strike that hit an apartment house in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi. At least 79 Israelis have been wounded. An Israeli drone strike killed two men on a motocycle, and a father and two sons in their Gaza home.

According to the Hamas Health Ministry, a total of 107 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air strikes. Israel broadened its targets in the sixth day of fighting, firing for the second time on a 15-story building that houses media outlets. Hamas says at least 48 civilians have been killed, and more than 505 wounded. 

In Egypt, President Mohammed Morsi continues to try to broken a ceasefire agreement, thus far to no avail. He says he's hopeful an agreement can be reached, but talks seem to have hit a wall. Hamas wants Israel to end its blockade on the Gaza Strip in exchange for halting rocket fire, something Israel is unlikely to agree to.

A poll published in Haaretz daily  showed widespread support in Israel for the bombing. According to the poll, 84 percent of the public supports the operation, and 12 percent are opposed. Just 30 percent of the public supports a ground invasion of Gaza.

Stay tuned for further updates.

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