'The organization is going to pay for its aggression. It is literally holding us hostage with its rockets,' Lerner said. 'The country is not willing for this situation to continue.'
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called from the West Bank on the international community and the United Nations to 'provide international protection for our people.' He said in a televised statement late Tuesday that Hamas leaders in Gaza want to restore calm.
'I have been in contact with the regional and international parties in the last few days, particularly Hamas leaders in Gaza, and everyone I've talked to expressed his willingness to restore the truce and stop the escalation,' Abbas said. He called the Israeli offensive on Gaza an 'orchestrated and brutal aggression.'
Air raid sirens were sounded across Israel last night as the country's armed forces stepped up their offensive in the Gaza Strip. A series of explosions hit Jerusalem as apparent rocket attacks were carried out by Hamas which has seen its territory in Gaza pounded by airstrikes throughout the day.
On Tuesday night the group said it had launched rocket attacks against three Israeli cities - Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa - but authorities said there had been no casualties. Israeli officials said a rocket had landed in Hadera,100km (60 miles) from Gaza - further into the country than had previously been reached - and threatened to invade if the attacks did not stop.
Its military have called the massive display of force in the air Operation Protective Edge, and are calling up reservists for a potential land invasion of parts of the Gaza Strip, a senior officer said. Up to 40,000 would be called into active duty, while tanks are being moved to the border with Gaza.
Gaza wakes up to the devastation caused by 160 overnight airstrikes as Israel launches its biggest offensive in two years
Israel launches 'Operation Protective Edge' and strikes targets in Gaza after Hamas rocket attacks were stepped up
Air raid sirens sounded across Israel as Hamas said it was targeting Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa
People evacuated Israel's Mediterranean beaches, running for shelter in nearby hotels
Israeli military bombs 50 sites in Gaza, including homes, in air strikes and naval attacks as part of new offensive
Troops have also been mobilised for possible ground invasion aimed at stopping recent barrage of rocket attacks
Attacks by Israel come after cabinet approved 'hardening' of stance against Hamas as tanks mass on border
Nearly 300 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel in recent weeks, including 80 projectiles on Monday
Tensions mounting after killing of Palestinian boy, 16, in suspected revenge attack for deaths of three Israeli youths
By LEON WATSON and CHRIS PLEASANCE and JAMES RUSH and STEPHANIE LINNING
Daily Mail (UK)
PUBLISHED: 02:39 EST, 7 July 2014 | UPDATED: 05:07 EST, 9 July 2014