Uncertainty in Israel as rockets and Gaza fighting continue
A rocket lands in Israel (Photo: AP)
Friday closed on a note of uncertainty after three days of fighting in Gaza and sustained rocket fire from Hamas reaching as far north as Tel Aviv. The IDF has confirmed that a rocket fired from Gaza has struck outside Jerusalem.
At least 16,000 army reservists have been drafted, raising speculation about a possible ground offensive. Some 340 rockets were fired by terrorists operating inside the Gaza Strip across the border between Wednesday, when Operation Pillar of Defence began, and Friday afternoon. On Friday alone, the Iron Dome protective system intercepted 86 of them, many aimed at civilian populations in towns and cities included Ashdod and Beersheva.
Three Israeli soldiers were wounded as a rocket landed in the South of the country, following the deaths of three people, including a pregnant woman, in Kiryat Malachi.
At least three rockets reached Tel Aviv or the coast next to it, although no damage or injuries were reported. The mayor of Tel Aviv opened up bomb shelters in the city to all residents.
In Gaza, Israel halted operations during the visit of the Egyptian Prime Minister to the area. According to AP, at least 19 Palestinian adults and children, including terrorists, have been killed since the fighting began.
The Israeli military says it has hit more than 340 targets in airstrikes during the action, among them underground missile stores and tunnels used for smuggling weapons.
Thousands have joined anti-Israel protests in Cairo and Tehran.
In comments posted on his Twitter page, Israeli President Shimon Peres said: "Those who preach to us about morality should offer an alternative way to stop the rocket fire from Hamas.
"Our aim is not to start a war and we are all hopeful that the operation doesn't last a moment longer than necessary."