Sunday, December 21, 2014


News

Israel Vows To Defend Itself Over Rocket Attacks

People clean up debris in an apartment damaged after a rocket, fired from Gaza, landed in the southern city of Kiryat Malachi on November 15.
People clean up debris in an apartment damaged after a rocket, fired from Gaza, landed in the southern city of Kiryat Malachi on November 15.
By RFE/RL
Israel has warned it will take whatever action is necessary to defend its citizens as the military stepped up an operation in response to multiple Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on November 15 after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip killed three Israeli civilians in a town some 25 kilometers from the border.

"No government would tolerate a situation where nearly a fifth of its people live under a constant barrage of rockets and missile fire, and Israel will not tolerate this situation. This is why my government has instructed the Israeli Defense Forces to conduct surgical strikes against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza," Netanyahu said.

They were the first Israeli fatalities since November 14, when the military launched the operation into the Palestinian enclave which is controlled by the Islamist militant movement Hamas.

Israel's air, land, and sea bombardments have killed at least 13 Palestinians, including a number of children since November 14.

Netanyahu accused Hamas of using children as human shields for its rocket batteries, but said Israel will do everything to avoid civilian deaths.

Later on November 15, Palestinian militants fired two rockets toward Tel Aviv, the first attack targeting Israel's biggest city in two decades. There were no casualties from the rockets, one of which landed in the sea, the other south of the city.

Egypt Protests

Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced that he had authorized the army to draft reserve forces. The army said as many as 30,000 troops could be drafted.

Egypt's Islamist President Muhammad Morsi said in televised remarks that Israel's "aggression" was "unacceptable."

Morsi said Cairo has protested to Israel through dipomatic channels.

"Our position yesterday was clear, and we expressed our position by withdrawing the Egyptian ambassador from Israel and recalled the Israeli ambassador to deliver to him a message through the Foreign Ministry on our position on the aggression against Gaza," Morsi said.

Morsi's spokesman told state television that Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil will visit Gaza on November 16 in a show of support for the Palestinians.

In Washington, deputy State Department spokesman Mark Toner told journalists the U.S. is urging Egypt to use its influence in the region to deescalate the situation.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said there was "no justification" for the rocket attacks by Palestinian militants.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP