* Egyptian PM's brought truce feelers
* Temporary ceasefire broken immediately
* Signs of preparations for possible invasion
* Tel Aviv shaken by new rocket scare
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller
GAZA/JERUSALEM, Nov 16 Israeli ministers were on
Friday asked to endorse the call-up of up to 75,000 reservists
after Palestinian militants nearly hit Jerusalem with a rocket
for the first time in decades and fired at Tel Aviv for a second
The rocket attacks were a challenge to Israel's Gaza
offensive and came just hours after Egypt's prime minister,
denouncing what he described as Israeli aggression, visited the
enclave and said Cairo was prepared to mediate.
Israel's armed forces announced that a highway leading to
the Gaza Strip and two roads bordering the enclave would be
off-limits to civilian traffic until further notice.
Tanks and self-propelled guns were seen near the border area
on Friday, and the military said it had already called 16,000
reservists to active duty.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened senior cabinet
ministers in Tel Aviv after the rockets struck to decide on
widening the Gaza campaign.
Political sources said ministers were asked to approve the
mobilisation of up to 75,000 reservists, in what could be
preparation for a possible ground operation.
No decision was immediately announced and some commentators
speculated in the Israeli media the move could be psychological
warfare against Gaza's Hamas rulers. A quota of 30,000
reservists had been set earlier.
Israel began bombing Gaza on Wednesday with an attack that
killed the Hamas military chief. It says its campaign is in
response to Hamas missiles fired on its territory. Hamas stepped
up rocket attacks in response.
Israeli police said a rocket fired from Gaza landed in the
Jerusalem area, outside the city, on Friday.
It was the first Palestinian rocket since 1970 to reach the
vicinity of the holy city, which Israel claims as its capital,
and was likely to spur an escalation in its three-day old air
war against militants in Gaza.
Rockets nearly hit Tel Aviv on Thursday for the first time
since Saddam Hussein's Iraq fired them during the 1991 Gulf War.
An air raid siren rang out on Friday when the commercial centre
was targeted again. Motorists crouched next to cars, many with
their hands protecting their heads, while pedestrians scurried
for cover in building stairwells.
The Jerusalem and Tel Aviv strikes have so far caused no
casualties or damage, but could be political poison for
Netanyahu, a conservative favoured to win re-election in January
on the strength of his ability to guarantee security.
"The Israel Defence Forces will continue to hit Hamas hard
and are prepared to broaden the action inside Gaza," Netanyahu
said before the rocket attacks on the two cities.
Asked about Israel massing forces for a possible Gaza
invasion, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: "The Israelis
should be aware of the grave results of such a raid and they
should bring their body bags."
Officials in Gaza said 28 Palestinians had been killed in
the enclave since Israel began the air offensive with the
declared aim of stemming surges of rocket strikes that have
disrupted life in southern Israeli towns.
The Palestinian dead include 12 militants and 16 civilians,
among them eight children and a pregnant woman. Three Israelis
were killed by a rocket on Thursday. A Hamas source said the
Israeli air force launched an attack on the house of Hamas's
commander for southern Gaza which resulted in the death of two
civilians, one a child.
A solidarity visit to Gaza by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham
Kandil, whose Islamist government is allied with Hamas but also
party to a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, had appeared to open a
tiny window to emergency peace diplomacy.
Kandil said: "Egypt will spare no effort ... to stop the
aggression and to achieve a truce."
But a three-hour truce that Israel declared for the duration
of Kandil's visit never took hold. Israel said 66 rockets
launched from the Gaza Strip hit its territory on Friday and a
further 99 were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile
Israel denied Palestinian assertions that its aircraft
struck while Kandil was in the enclave.
Israel Radio's military affairs correspondent said the
army's Homefront Command had told municipal officials to make
civil defence preparations for the possibility that fighting
could drag on for seven weeks. An Israeli military spokeswoman
declined to comment on the report.
The Gaza conflagration has stoked the flames of a Middle
East already ablaze with two years of Arab revolution and a
civil war in Syria that threatens to leap across borders.
It is the biggest test yet for Egypt's new President Mohamed
Mursi, a veteran Islamist politician from the Muslim Brotherhood
who was elected this year after last year's protests ousted
military autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood are spiritual mentors of Hamas,
yet Mursi has also pledged to respect Cairo's 1979 peace treaty
with Israel, seen in the West as the cornerstone of regional
security. Egypt and Israel both receive billions of dollars in
U.S. military aid to underwrite their treaty.
Mursi has vocally denounced the Israeli military action
while promoting Egypt as a mediator, a mission that his prime
minister's visit was intended to further.
A Palestinian official close to Egypt's mediators told
Reuters Kandil's visit "was the beginning of a process to
explore the possibility of reaching a truce. It is early to
speak of any details or of how things will evolve".
Hamas fighters are no match for the Israeli military. The
last Gaza war, involving a three-week long Israeli air blitz and
ground invasion over the New Year period of 2008-2009, killed
more than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians. Thirteen
Tunisia's foreign minister was due to visit Gaza on Saturday
"to provide all political support for Gaza" the spokesman for
the Tunisian president, Moncef Marzouki, said in a statement.
The United States asked countries that have contact with
Hamas to urge the Islamist movement to stop its rocket attacks.
Hamas refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist. By
contrast, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who rules in the
nearby West Bank, does recognise Israel, but peace talks between
the two sides have been frozen since 2010.
Abbas's supporters say they will push ahead with a plan to
have Palestine declared an "observer state" rather than a mere
"entity" at the United Nations later this month.