The Straits Times
Published on Nov 18, 2012

Israel ready to 'significantly expand' Gaza operation: PM


JERUSALEM (AFP) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel is ready to "significantly expand" its operation against militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip as it entered its fifth day.

"We are extracting a heavy price from Hamas and the terror organisations," Mr Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. "The army is prepared to significantly expand the operation."

Mr Netanyahu said he was holding ongoing talks with world leaders, "and we appreciate their understanding of Israel's right to self defence." "The operation in the Gaza Strip is continuing, and we are preparing to expand it," he said.

His remarks came as thousands of Israeli troops backed by armour massed along the border, fuelling fears that the Jewish state is poised to expand its relentless aerial bombing campaign into a ground operation.