PHOTOS: Israel military hammers Gaza as part of Operation Pillar of Defense

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Israeli soldiers rest by their armoured personnel carriers (APC) stationned on the Israel-Gaza border on November 15, 2012. Israel will take 'whatever action is necessary' to defend its citizens from Palestinian rocket attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as the military pressed a massive operation in Gaza.

Credit:

Jack Guez

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel sent a "clear message" to Hamas through the killing of its top military commander in Gaza and that it was ready to expand its operation — dubbed "Pillar of Defense" — in Gaza if necessary.

A military spokeswoman said the strike that killed Ahmad Jabari was only "the beginning" of an operation to target militant groups in the strip.

Hamas assualts have in recent days  included a direct hit on an Israeli tank and more than 110 missiles aimed at urban centers, according to GlobalPost's Noga Tarnopolsky.

Israel has hit back, with Army tanks shelled border areas of Gaza in south and the Israeli navy shelled a Hamas security position from the sea, Reuters reported

The Israeli air force also struck at selected targets.

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    A Palestinian man looks at the destruction after Israeli air strikes in Gaza City on November 19, 2012. Israeli air strikes on Sunday killed 31 Palestinians in the bloodiest day so far of its air campaign on the Gaza Strip, as diplomatic efforts to broker a truce intensified.

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    Mohamed Abed

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    Israeli soldiers take cover as an Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome defence missile system.

    Credit:

    Jack Guez

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    Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli air raid in Gaza City on November 17, 2012.

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    Mohamed Abed

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    An Israeli woman looks at Israeli soldiers maneuvering their armoured personnel carriers (APC) stationned on the Israel-Gaza border on November 15, 2012.

    Credit:

    Jack Guez

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    Israeli soldiers rest by their armoured personnel carriers (APC) stationned on the Israel-Gaza border on November 15, 2012. Israel will take 'whatever action is necessary' to defend its citizens from Palestinian rocket attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said as the military pressed a massive operation in Gaza.

    Credit:

    Jack Guez

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    KHAN YUNIS, Gaza Strip— Family members shout in grief as they carry the body of two-year-old Palestinian Walid Abadleh during his funeral. Abadleh was killed in the latest Israeli airstrike on November 15, 2012.

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    Said Khatib

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    BEER-SHEVA, Israel — An Israeli soldier lies on the ground as missiles are fired from an Iron Dome anti-missile station on November 15, 2012. The Iron Dome was activated to intercept incoming rockets launched from Gaza.

    Credit:

    Ilia Yefimovich

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    Palestinian medics wheel a wounded boy into the al-shifa hospital in Gaza City following an Israeli air strike on November 14, 2012.

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    MAHMUD HAMS

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    Palestinian youths evacuate an elderly man following an Israeli air strike on November 14, 2012 in Gaza City.

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    MOHAMMED ABED

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    Palestinian medics carry a wounded baby into the al-shifa hospital in Gaza City following an Israeli air strike on November 14, 2012.

    Credit:

    MAHMUD HAMS

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    Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza City, on November 14, 2012. Israel killed a top Hamas military commander in a targeted strike in Gaza , prompting outrage from militants who said the Jewish state had opened "the gates of hell."

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    HOSAM SALEM

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    Palestinians try to extinguish fire following an Israeli air strike on November 14, 2012 in Gaza City. A top Hamas commander was among seven people killed in more than 20 Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, as Israel began an operation targeting militant groups.

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    MOHAMMED ABED

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    Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) address the media at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv on November 14, 2012.

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    JACK GUEZ

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    Israelis watch Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on TV in a bomb shelter on November 14, 2012 in Netivot, Israel. I

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    Uriel Sinai

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    Palestinians extinguish fire from the car of Ahmaed Jaabari, head of the military wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, after it was hit by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City on November 14, 2012.

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    MAHMUD HAMS

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    Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, on November 14, 2012.

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    SAID KHATIB

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    Palestinian children watch on as a spokesperson for the Abu Ali Mustafa wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) addresses a press conference in Gaza City November 13, 2012. The PFLP alongside armed wings from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) took responsibility for firing 11 rockets at southern Israel on November 12.

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    MARCO LONGARI