Rockets from the Gaza Strip have begun targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Reuters reports, with the attacks marking the first such strikes on the two cities in decades. There were no casualties or damage.
Meanwhile, another report from Reuters indicates that Israeli aircraft bombarded the heavily populated Gaza Strip on Thursday night in response to rockets that have been firing on southern Israel this week.
Here's the latest news on the escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinian militants.
* Rockets were last fired into Jerusalem in 1970, while Saddam Hussein's Iraq fired at Tel Aviv in 1991.
* Hamas, the ruling government in the Gaza Strip, and Islamic Jihad are responsible for launching the rockets.
* Rockets from Gaza have killed three Israelis, while 19 Palestinians have died from Israeli counter strikes, according to another Reuters report. Six of the Palestinians killed were children.
* Israel has begun drafting 16,000 reserve troops, which may signal a full-scale invasion of the strip. In the previous Gaza war of 2008-2009, 1,400 Palestinians were killed over a three-week period. Thirteen Israelis were killed as well.
* Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has been trying to promote Egypt as a mediator between the two parties. The Muslim Brotherhood, the party Mursi was affiliated with before his election to the presidency, is considered the spiritual mentors of Hamas. However, Egypt under Mursi has agreed to respect the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
* State Department spokesperson Mark C. Toner told a press briefing on Thursday that "we want to see, obviously, a de-escalation of the violence. We need to see the violence to stop. We need to see Hamas stop its rocket attacks on Israel so we can end the violence."
* White House Press Secretary Jay Carney addressed a press gaggle as well, saying that "we strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence," and noted that President Obama had spoken with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mursi on Wednesday.
* The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said that all parties involved in the violence should protect citizens, citing the deaths of the Israelis who died in their apartment, the Palestinian children including a baby, and a pregnant woman and other civilians in Gaza.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.
- Politics & Government
- Unrest, Conflicts & War
- Gaza Strip