Israel's military begins calling up 16,000 reservists

JERUSALEM Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:41am EST

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JERUSALEM Nov 16 (Reuters) - Israel has started drafting 16,000 reserve troops, the military said on Friday, in a sign that violence could escalate further with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

Israel's two-day assault on Gaza has largely been from the air, but officials have said a ground incursion could be necessary to stem rocket fire into southern Israel.

Israel's army would be heavily dependent on reservists to fight any prolonged war. The military has received a green light to call in up to 30,000 reserve troops.

The Israeli air strikes have so far killed 19 Palestinians, including seven militants and 12 civilians, among them six children and a pregnant woman. A Hamas rocket killed three Israelis in the town of Kiryat Malachi on Thursday morning.

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