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Tel Aviv hit by rockets; tension across Middle East

Friday November 16, 2012 11:23:16 AM, Agencies

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Gaza City/Tel Aviv: Tension escalates Thursday across the Middle East as Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group which controls the Gaza Strip, continue to exchange fire amid the worst outbreak of violence since the Israeli assault on the territory nearly four years ago.

Three Israelis died in the northern town of Kiryat Malachi on Thursday after a rocket fired from Gaza hit an apartment building, AL Jazeera reported.

 

Israeli sources said two rockets hit Tel Aviv - one landed in the sea while another missile landed in an uninhabited area of Israel's commercial centre.

Air raid sirens sent residents running for shelter in Tel Aviv, a Mediterranean city that has not been hit by a rocket since the 1991 Gulf War.

Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based Palestinian group, said that it had fired one of the rockets that hit Tel Aviv.

 

On the other hand, at least 19 Palestinians, including two children, have been killed and more than 150 others wounded as of Thursday in fighting which began with an aerial attack that killed Ahmad Jabari, Hamas military commander who was accused by Israel for overseeing attacks against civilians.

Late on Thursday, Israel began moving troops towards the Gaza Strip and Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, authorised the call-up of 30,000 reservists for a possible ground invasion.

At least a dozen lorries carrying tanks and armoured vehicles were seen moving towards the border area, while buses ferried soldiers.

While southern Israeli areas near Gaza have long coped with rocket fire, the attacks on the Tel Aviv area illustrated the significant capabilities that Hamas has developed.

Palestinian fighters had previously hit Rishon Lezion before but never reached Tel Aviv, roughly 70km north of the Gaza Strip.

Binyamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister hit back on Hamas leadrship and justifies airstrikes on Gaza and referred to the Israeli attacks on Gaza as "surgical".

"It is important to understand one simple point: there is no moral symmetry between the terrorists in Gaza and Israel," he said on Thursday

"They are committing double war crimes: they fire at Israeli civilians and hide behind Palestinian civilians", he added.

 

The sudden conflict pours oil on the fire of a Middle East already tense with two years of revolution and an out-of-control civil war in Syria.

 

Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian president, spoke to US President Barack Obama and Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general, over phone and discussed the Gaza escalation with them.

Taher Nuno, Hamas government spokesperson, said that Egypt would send a delegation headed by Hesham Kandil, Egyptian prime minister, to Gaza on Friday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called Israel's bombing campaign against the Gaza Strip an act of savagery against the Palestinians.

"Another savage aggression against the Gaza Strip has begun," Chavez told a cabinet meeting on Thursday televised by state-run TV.

"Once again, the state of Israel is bombing the Gaza Strip", he said.

 

 
 





 


 

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Picture of the Day

President Pranab Mukherjee at the National Education Day 2012 function to commemorate the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, in New Delhi on November 11, 2012.

(Photo: Sanjiv Misra)

 

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