Iraq has called on energy-rich Arab states to use oil as a weapon to counter the US and Israel, as Tel Aviv steps up its military operation against the Gaza Strip. "Iraq will invite (Arab) ministers to use the weapon of oil, with the aim of asserting real pressure on the United States and whoever stands with Israel," Iraq’s Arab League representative, Qais al-Azzawy, told reporters in Cairo on Friday. "The economic weapon is the strongest one to be put into effect now, to assure standing by the Palestinian people, in light of there being no military power that can stand in the face of Israel at the present time," he added.
At least 25 Palestinians, including a senior Hamas commander, have been killed and over 250 others injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since Wednesday when the Israeli army launched the so-called "Operation Pillar of Defense” against the Palestinian territory.The Israeli Army says it has hit more than 600 targets in Gaza during the past three days. Palestinian fighters have also fired hundreds of rockets into Israel in response to the deadly attacks. Residents of the besieged Gaza Strip say they are getting text messages warning of military escalation as reports suggest that Israeli military forces are preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza. Following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that the military was preparing for a “significant widening” of its attacks against the blockaded coastal strip, the Tel Aviv regime has called up 75,000 army reservists, preparing 16,000 for a possible ground invasion of Gaza. On Thursday, dozens of military trucks were seen transporting tanks and armored personnel carriers toward Gaza. Many buses carrying soldiers also headed toward the border area. Israeli TV stations said a Gaza operation was expected on Friday. TE/HGH/SS