Israel, Gaza at the Brink of War?

Posted on November 15, 2012


Gaza City (CNN) — Rockets and shells crisscrossed the skies over southern Israel and Gaza on Thursday as Palestinian militants continued rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and Israel pounded what it called terror sites.

Israel reported three people killed. Hamas said 13 Palestinians were killed, but gave conflicting information as to how many of them were Hamas militants.

At least 245 rockets from Gaza have been fired into Israel since “Operation Pillar of Defense” began Wednesday, the Israeli military said. Israel’s Iron Dome defense system has intercepted more than 80, the Israel Defense Forces said.

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One rocket struck an open area near Rishon LeZion, an Israeli city with more than 200,000 residents, the IDF said. It is just south of Tel Aviv.

Also, air sirens went off inside and outside the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. The building was evacuated briefly, and employees were allowed back in when the sirens stopped. An explosion was heard far off in the distance.

Israel has targeted more than 200 “terror sites” in Gaza, “severely damaging the capabilities of Palestinian terrorist organizations,” the IDF said. The military said it targeted scores of “medium and long range rocket launch and infrastructure sites across the Gaza Strip.”

Sources with Hamas, which controls the government in Gaza, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad gave similar figures, saying that more than 140 strikes have hit Gaza and that scores of rockets and shells have been fired into Israel.

At least three Israelis were killed and four were wounded when a rocket struck an apartment building in the town of Kiryat Malakhi on Thursday, an Israeli police spokesman said. “Good morning to our friends in America,” the IDF tweeted. “While you were sleeping, 3 Israelis were killed when a rocket hit their house.”

Israeli military spokeswoman Avital Leibovich tweeted a photo that she said was a baby wounded from a rocket attack in Israel. The baby’s face is blurred, but she appears to be spattered with blood.

Thirteen people, including two children, were killed in airstrikes in Gaza on Thursday, said Dr. Asraf el-Qdra of Medical Aid for Palestinians. Of the casualties, nine were Hamas militants, a Hamas source told CNN.

But Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan told CNN the 13 dead included five children. He identified only two as Hamas militants.

Palestinian officials said more than 120 people have been wounded since the Israeli strikes began this week in Gaza. Israel has reported several people wounded, including another three soldiers injured Thursday morning by rockets from Gaza.

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