Israeli warplanes have carried out a massive airstrike on Hamas security compounds inside the Gaza Strip, killing at least 210 and wounding hundreds others.
At least 210 people have been killed and hundreds other Palestinians have been wounded in the Israeli blitz, a Press TV correspondent reported from the Gaza Strip.
Video footages showed the bodies of dead people including men, women and children on Gaza streets.
Hamas radio reported that Gaza police chief Tawfiq Jabber was among the dead.
Israel F16 bombers and apache helicopters carried out at least 30 simultaneous raids on at least 30 separate targets in Gaza City.
Israeli tanks are said to be moving closer to the impoverished region which has been under a strict Israeli-imposed blockade.
Israeli authorities have announced that they would continue the attacks.
"This is only just the beginning of an operation launched after a security cabinet decision. It could take time. We have not fixed a timeline and we will act according to the situation on the ground," Israeli Military spokesman Avi Benayahu told army radio on Saturday.
The strikes have caused widespread panic and confusion among the Gaza residents who have refused to withdraw their support form the Hamas resistance movement.
Hamas does not recognize Israel as a legitimate state.
A Hamas spokesman said Israel will pay a heavy price for the attacks.
Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum told our correspondent that Tel Aviv carried out the strikes after receiving green light from its allies and certain regional countries.
Barhoum described the raids as 'collective punishment' of Palestinians.
Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas in West Bank said in a statement that he "condemns this aggression" , according to an aide, Nabil Abu Rdeneh.
"The operation will go on and be intensified as long as necessary," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at a televised news conference on Saturday.
He made the remarks after Israeli F16 bombers and apache helicopters pounded at least 30 separate targets across the Gaza Strip earlier in the day.
The air raids have left at least 210 people dead and 300 others wounded. The death toll is expected to go up "because of new Israeli raids", according to AFP.
"There is a time for cease-fires and a time to fight, and now is the time to fight," Barak said. "For months the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and security forces have been preparing for the operation that began today."
Gaza residents told Press TV that the Israeli gunboats have approached the coastal strip and the helicopters are still seen flying over the coastal region.
Tel Aviv had long threatened to launch a major attack on the strip, claiming that the punitive measures brought against the populated area would be aimed at halting Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.
The regime placed the Gaza Strip under a blockade after the democratically-elected Palestinian government, Hamas, took control of the coastal area in mid-June 2007.
The Saturday onslaught came after a six-month truce between Israel and the Hamas movement expired on December 19.
Palestinian groups say they would consider a longer ceasefire if Israel met Hamas demands, cease all military attacks on Gaza, and lifts the embargo on the strip.
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