Israeli aircraft strike Gaza sites

JERUSALEM Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:11pm EST

1 of 3. Israelis look at the damage to a house after a rocket fired by militants in Gaza landed in the southern town of Netivot November 12, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli aircraft struck three times in Gaza in the early hours of Tuesday morning, hitting a weapons storage facility and two rocket launching sites used by militants, the military said in a statement.

As a growing crisis in the Gaza Strip moved into a fifth day, the Israeli army said it had scored direct hits on the targets. No casualties were reported in the strikes which caused loud explosions.

Israel warned that it would hit hard at Palestinian militants who launch rockets into the Jewish state.

The militants indicated late on Monday that they were ready for a truce but there was no immediate response from Israel.

Leaders of Hamas, the Islamist faction that controls Gaza, met with Islamic Jihad and other groups and said they would respond according to the way Israel acted - a formulation used in previous flare-ups to offer a ceasefire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to convene a forum of nine senior ministers later on Tuesday to decide a course of action. Israel Radio said Netanyahu had met Defence Minister Ehud Barak and military chief Lieutenant General Benny Gantz on Monday night to present possible attack scenarios.

Tensions rose sharply on Saturday when four Israeli soldiers patrolling the Israel-Gaza border were wounded. Israel responded with tank fire and air strikes and killed six Palestinians, including four civilians, and at least 40 have been wounded.

The Israeli military said Palestinians had fired 12 rockets on Monday, and some 119 had been launched since Saturday.

A Palestinian official, who declined to be named, said Egypt had been trying to broker a ceasefire and although no formal truce was in place, Hamas understood the need for calm.

Monday's rocket launches were claimed by smaller groups, including a radical Salafi organization that rejects Hamas's authority.

Israel has shown little appetite for a new Gaza war, which could strain relations with the new Islamist-rooted government in neighboring Egypt. The countries made peace in 1979.

But Netanyahu may be reluctant to seem weak ahead of a January 22 election that opinion polls currently predict he will win.

(Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza. Writing by Ori Lewis; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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Comments (3)
McBob08 wrote:
Typical Israeli response; Gaza criminals; unrepresentative of the people in general hurt a couple of Israelis, the Israelis bomb Gaza, killing civilians. How long can this abuse of Gaza citizens continue before the UN finally slaps serious sanctions in Israel? People tripped over themselves to do something about the Apartheid in South Africa 30 years ago, but they won’t even lift a finger to stop the Israelis from using Apartheid tactics against the Palestinians.

It was wrong in South Africa; it’s wrong in Palestine!

Nov 12, 2012 9:58pm EST  --  Report as abuse
BurnerJack wrote:
McBob08, I’ve got a GREAT idea! Stop launching attacks on Israel and deny Israel the ‘excuse’ to retaliate. Do that and maybe, just maybe, peace might just breakout, ungulfing the region… News flash: Israel is more than capable to locate and eviserate those that attack it. Attacking a superior force without sufficient defences is the very definition of “terminaly stupid”. Too bad those that just want to live in peace have to live with the threat of collateral damage because of such stupidity.

Nov 12, 2012 10:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Madhawk wrote:
Mc bob… What part of 119 rockets launched don’t you understand?
Sounds to me like Gaza is very lucky that the Israelis are for some reason being very tolerant.
I wouldn’t expect that to last. Israel has the right to protect it’s self just as any other nation.
As for the cease fire… anyone who reads knows the only reason Hamas wants a cease fire. It’s like the little kid on the playground at school calling a time out when he’s about to get his butt kicked.

Nov 13, 2012 12:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
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