At least 19 dead in new round of Israeli strikes

( Mohammed Deif’s wife and seven-month-old son were killed in one of 80 Israeli airstrikes which Tel Aviv says have targeted “terror sites.” Three other  The Hamas military chief is widely believed to be masterminding the Islamist group’s next moves from underground bunkers.   He has been targeted in air strikes at least four times since the mid-1990s. Israel blames him for the deaths of dozens of its citizens in suicide bombings.   Israeli police minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said Israel will “continue to hit the heads of Hamas.”

Palestinians have launched more than 100 rockets – mostly towards southern Israel.  Some were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense shield and early reports said no Israeli had been hurt.

The latest round of tit-for tat strikes has shattered what was a relatively calm period of ten days.  Israeli negotiators walked out of truce talks in Cairo Tuesday, accusing Hamas of breaking the truce with rocket fire eight hours before it was to have expired. 

Palestinian rocket fire towards Tel Aviv and Jerusalem late Tuesday showed that Hamas was still capable of reaching two heavily populated cities despite heavy Israeli bombardments.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the breach of the ceasefire, urging the sides not to allow matters to escalate.

More than 2,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the five weeks of conflict. The United Nations reports that some 425,000 people have been displaced.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have also been killed.