JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel is ready to "significantly expand" its operation in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip as it entered its fifth day.
"The army is prepared to significantly expand the operation," Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. "The soldiers are ready for any activity that could take place."
His remarks came as thousands of Israeli troops and hardware gathered along the border, fuelling concerns that the Jewish state was poised to expand its relentless aerial bombing campaign into a ground operation.
The Israeli army sealed off the main roads around Gaza late on Friday and shortly afterwards, the cabinet authorised the recruitment of up to 75,000 reservists, prompting a flurry of diplomatic efforts to broker a truce to head off any escalation.