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JERUSALEM - Israel launched an offensive against Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, bombing some 50 targets in a campaign meant to end Palestinian rocket fire. Nine people suffered shrapnel injuries. Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said Israel was preparing for the possibility of sending ground forces into Gaza as part of the campaign, which it has dubbed "Operation Protective Edge."
Hamas' armed wing threatened an "earthquake" in response to Israel's attacks. In a statement, the group denounced Israel's bombing of houses as "exceeding all red lines" and threatened to shoot rockets at longer distances. Lerner said Gaza militants had fired more than 80 rockets at Israel on Monday and military officials said more than 200 rockets had been shot at Israel in the past month, an enormous increase in shootings. The surge in violence has raged since the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli youths last month in the occupied West Bank and a Palestinian teen last week.
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