Jerusalem: Israeli fighter jets on Saturday struck massively all over the Gaza Strip in an unprecedented operation targeting Hamas complexes and security compounds, killing at least 155 people and wounding hundreds of others, medics said.
Forty major installations of the hardline Islamic Hamas group, spread across the Gaza Strip, including the police headquarters were hit by the fighter jets which swooped down in waves triggering widespread panic in the coastal territory and chaos at the hospitals.
The attacks are in retaliation for senseless rocket attacks carried out by Hamas over the weeks and "will continue, will be expanded, and will deepen if necessary," a statement by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.
"The strikes were based on precise intelligence collected during the recent months," it said.
The strikes come just days after the Israeli cabinet approved the raids to counter ongoing Palestinian rocket fire against communes in the western Negev desert.
Haaretz daily quoted Palestinian medical sources as saying that at least 155 people had been killed in the strikes, which began at around 11:30 am.
More than 200 people had also been wounded in the series of Israel air strikes, the Israeli daily said.
In a counter statement, Hamas vowed it strike back in revenge by launching new rocket attacks and sending suicide bombers to Israel.
"Hamas will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood," said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, speaking on a Gaza radio station. The worst causalities were reported from the police headquarters and the dead included the Gaza police chief Maj Gen Tawfiq Jaber, witnesses told TV station.