Israel says Gaza assault 'war to the bitter end'

December 29, 2008 12:17:42 PM PST
Israel obliterated symbols of Hamas power on the third day of what the defense minister described Monday as a "war to the bitter end," striking next to the Hamas premier's home, and devastating a security compound and a university building. Tzipi Livni said her country "tried everything in order to avoid this military operation," but that Israel would not live under attack by Hamas.

Livni said, "Israel is looking to give its citizens a decent life, the right to live in peace and quiet like any other citizens in the world."

The foreign minister, interviewed Monday on CBS's "The Early Show," said she wishes Israel could live in peace, "but this is not the situation unfortunately."

The Bush administration has blamed the renewed violence on Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. The United States said Hamas broke a cease-fire by firing rockets and mortars deep into Israeli territory. The Arab world, however, has reacted with rage to the aggressive Israeli counterattacks, which has killed and injured hundreds.