Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel's aerial bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip was aimed at deterring Hamas, but did not rule out conquering the enclave's Islamist rulers.
'There are only two ways that you can deal with them (Hamas): You can either conquer them, and that's always an open possibility, or you can deter them, and we are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say we don't rule out anything,' Netanyahu told a group a foreign ambassadors in Tel Aviv.
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza has killed 219 and injured 1,530 Palestinians since Israel started its attacks on the strip 10 days ago, according to the Gaza health ministry.
The airstrikes and heavy shelling of the densely populated strip has also destroyed tens of commercial and residential towers, leaving hundreds of Palestinians homeless.
Meanwhile, Hamas and other Palestinian factions continued to fire rockets from Gaza toward Israeli cities and settlements in retaliation to Israeli attacks on Palestinians and Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. The Palestinian rocket attacks have left 12 dead and tens injured.
Israel has rejected all regional and international efforts to broker a ceasefire.