Over 100 killed in Gaza as rockets fall on Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — With the official Palestinian count of
the dead passing 100, and rockets fired by militants striking Israel
from the Gaza Strip and from Lebanon, Israel’s prime minister on Friday
brushed off a question about cease-fire efforts.
There is no end in sight to Israel’s effort to halt militant rocket fire, Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu said.
"I will end it when our goals are realized," he said. "And the overriding goal is to
restore the peace and quiet."
says it launched the offensive Tuesday in response to weeks of rocket
fire from Gaza. At least 21 Palestinians were killed Friday, pushing the
overall death toll to 106, including dozens of civilians, according to
the Health Ministry in Gaza.
Palestinian militants have fired more than 600 rockets at Israel.
rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a gas station and set it ablaze
earlier Friday in southern Israel, wounding three people, one
seriously, and the army said the condition of a soldier wounded by
rocket shrapnel on Thursday had worsened. But there have been no deaths
on the Israeli side, in large part because of a new rocket-defense
system that has intercepted at least 129 incoming projectiles.
Friday, the Lebanese military said militants fired three rockets into
northern Israel. The Israeli military responded with artillery fire.
allies have backed the country’s right to self-defense, but they have
called for restraint. And the top U.N. human rights official said the
air campaign may violate international laws prohibiting the targeting of
"We have received deeply disturbing reports that many
of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result
of strikes on homes," said Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for
human rights.
Netanyahu said the Israeli airstrikes are aimed at
military targets. He blamed Hamas for causing civilian casualties by
hiding in residential areas and criticized the group for targeting
Israeli population centers.
Israel has massed thousands of troops
along the border in preparation for a possible ground invasion.
Netanyahu was evasive when asked about the odds of a ground operation,
saying only: "We are weighing every possibility."
Associated Press writer Najib Jobain in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, contributed to this report.