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Israel intensifies Gaza airstrikes; Morsi warns of consequences

Palestinians retaliate with rockets; some reach Jerusalem, Tel Aviv

Saturday November 17, 2012 08:56:14 AM, Agencies

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Death toll mounts, scores injured as Israeli airstrike on Gaza continues

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Israeli forces launch fresh airstrikes on Gaza

Gaza/Cairo: Even as the Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, warned Israel against the continuation of its military operation in Gaza, saying it will have to pay "a heavy price", Israel Friday intensified its air strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip taking the death toll to 30.

"The number of martyrs has risen to 30, with another 280 people injured, with the death of Ayman Rafiq Selim from his injuries," Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said late on Friday, AFP reported.
 

Earlier on Friday evening, Qudra said that one Palestinian was killed and two others injured in an Israeli airstrike on a car in Gaza, shortly after Israeli attacks killed four Gazans in the central district of Maghazi.

"One citizen was martyred and two others seriously injured in an Israeli strike on a car in Deir al-Balah," he said.

"Three citizens were martyred in a strike in Maghazi camp and their bodies were taken to Shuhada al-Aqsa Hospital," Qudra stated, adding that a fourth man later succumbed to injuries he received in the same airstrike.
 

'Rockets  near Jerusalem'

Earlier on Friday, Palestinian resistance fighters fired more rockets into Israel, some of them targeting the Kerem Shalom kibbutz in southern Israel.
 

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip has struck an uninhabited area outside of Jerusalem, causing no damage or injuries, the Israeli army has said, shortly after air raid sirens wailed across the city.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the rocket landed on Friday in an open area near Gush Ezion, which includes several Jewish settlements and Arab villages in the occupied West Bank southeast of the city.

The unprecedented attack came as Israel pounded the Palestinian Gaza Strip for a third day in fighting that has killed 28 Palestinians and three Israelis.

The armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement confirmed it had fired a Qassam rocket towards Jerusalem.

An attack on Israel's self-declared capital marks a major escalation by Gaza fighters, both for its symbolism and its distance from the Palestinian territory.

Located roughly 75km away from the Gaza border, Jerusalem had been thought to be beyond the range of Gaza rocket squads.

Fighters had already launched rockets at Tel Aviv, another first, on Thursday and Friday.

The Israeli government on Friday night gave a green light to recruit up to 75,000 reservists, a possible sign that Israel was preparing for a ground offensive in Gaza.

The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. It does not necessarily mean that all 75,000 will be called up, though.

 

'Price to pay'

In a scathing attack, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi warned Israel against the continuation of its military operation in Gaza, saying it will have to pay "a heavy price".

"Gaza will not remain alone as it was," he tweeted on his Twitter page, according to the al-Masry al-Yaoum newspaper, adding that that the aggressors "know they will pay a heavy price if they continue their aggression."

"I don't want to take unusual steps, but if I see that the homeland is in danger, I won't hesitate", he added.

"The blood spilled over there will not get the other side peace and will serve as a curse on them. It will incite all the people of the region against them."

"Egypt doesn't want to fight and constantly calls for peace, but real peace is not just for one side at the expense of another side, so that one side enjoys the good life while the others suffer from attacks and ongoing killing," Morsi said.

 

'US support to Israel'

Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, called Barack Obama, the US president, on Friday, with the two men discussing options for "de-escalating" the situation, the White House said.

Obama "reiterated US support for Israel's right to defend itself, and expressed regret over the loss of Israeli and Palestinian civilian lives," according to a US statement on the call.

 

The Israeli military frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the actions are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured.

Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

The apartheid regime of Israel denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs that pay proper wages, and adequate healthcare and education.
 


 

 
 





 


 

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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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