The IDF is mostly striking empty buildings now. They are warning the residents in advance to get out. The current phase of this operation seems to be drawing to a close. What is the next step for Israel? They can either launch a ground invasion into Gaza or take the diplomatic path. My money is on diplomacy. I do not think the the Israeli's want the negative publicity from a ground invasion. They would surely take more casualties and civilian deaths would rise.
Israel blasts Hamas targets, diplomacy gains steam
By IBRAHIM BARZAK and JOSEF FEDERMAN, Associated Press Writers Ibrahim Barzak And Josef Federman, Associated Press Writers – 1 hr 52 mins ago
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli warplanes and gunboats blasted more than two dozen Hamas targets Saturday, including weapons storage facilities, training centers and leaders' homes as Israel's offensive against Gaza's Islamic militant rulers entered a second week.
There were tentative signs that the current phase of fighting may be nearing an end. Most of the airstrikes targeted empty buildings and abandoned sites, suggesting Israel may be running out of targets.
Ground troops massed on the border, waiting for a signal to invade Gaza, but international cease-fire efforts were also gaining momentum.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is visiting the region next week, and President George W. Bush and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon both spoke in favor of an internationally monitored truce.
Israel launched the offensive on Dec. 27 in response to intensifying rocket fire by Hamas militants in Gaza. The operation has killed more than 430 Palestinians, including dozens of civilians, according to Palestinian and U.N. counts. Four Israelis have also been killed, and rocket attacks on southern Israel persist.
In the latest attacks, the Israeli army struck the homes of two Hamas operatives, saying the buildings were used to store weapons and plan attacks. Hamas outposts, training camps and rocket launching sites also were targeted, it said. Full story here.
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