Gaza rockets prompt new Israel mobilisation

2012-11-16 19:09

Jerusalem - Gaza militants fired rockets at both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on Friday aiming for the Jewish state's political and commercial hearts, prompting Israel to call up thousands more reservists in readiness for a potential ground war.

The military wing of the Islamist Hamas movement which rules Gaza said it fired the rocket at Jerusalem, the first to strike the outskirts of the Holy City in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It marked a major escalation by the territory's Hamas rulers in the face of a deadly pounding since Wednesday by Israeli aircraft that has killed 23 Gazans and sparked outrage across the Arab and Islamic world.

Neither rocket caused any casualties or damage, police said, but they sowed panic in both the Jewish state's main population centres setting off warning sirens and sending people scurrying to shelters.

One hit a Jewish settlement bloc in the occupied West Bank just south of Jerusalem which is home to many commuters.

"A rocket fired from Gaza hit an open area outside of Jerusalem, causing no injuries or damage," an army spokesperson told AFP.

Police said it hit in the Gush Etzion bloc of settlements that stretches south of Jerusalem past Bethlehem from just 5km beyond the city limits.

A second rocket crashed into sea off Tel Aviv "some 200m" from the beachfront US embassy, sending beachgoers fleeing, an eyewitness told AFP.

The two rockets were the farthest Gaza militants have ever fired into Israel, exceeding even the 60km achieved by a rocket that hit the sea off Jaffa, just south of Tel Aviv, on Thursday.

As the rockets hit, the first of 16 000 reservists already called up by the Israeli army were joining their units but in their wake Defence Minister Ehud Barak ordered thousands more to turn up for duty.

"The defence minister has this evening ordered the mobilisation of new reserve forces," his spokesperson Josh Hantman told AFP as warnings intensified of a looming ground offensive to root out the rocket launchers that now have most of Israel's population in their sights.

An AFP correspondent on the Israeli side of the Gaza border reported seeing tanks massed along the frontier, and a steady stream of reservists arriving for duty.

Speaking before the latest rocket fire, senior cabinet minister Moshe Yaalon warned that Israel was already poised for a major ground offensive like that which it launched in December 2008-January 2009.

"We are preparing all the military options, including the possibility that forces will be ready to enter Gaza in the event that the firing doesn't stop," he said.

As ground troops massed, there was no let up in the Israeli air offensive on Gaza.

Can't be tolerated

A child was among the two latest victims reported by the territory's emergency services, who were both brought in to Gaza City's Shifa hospital as Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil toured the wards on an unprecedented solidarity visit to the Hamas-ruled territory.

Israel denied its aircraft had killed the pair but Qandil leant forward and kissed the dead body of 4-year-old Mohammed Yasser voicing outrage at his loss.

"What I saw today in Gaza, at the hospital, with the martyrs, cannot be met with silence," the Egyptian premier said.

"This tragedy cannot be tolerated, and the whole world bears the responsibility to stop the aggression."

Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi hammered home the message of support soon after his prime minister ended the lightning visit.

"Egypt will not leave Gaza on its own... What is happening is a blatant aggression against humanity," Morsi said.

The overthrow early last year of veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, a staunch supporter of Egypt's three-decade-old peace treaty with Israel, has cast a chill over the already lukewarm relationship between the two neighbours.

Morsi, who like Hamas has his roots in the Muslim Brotherhood, has moved to establish closer relations with the Gaza authorities.

World governments concerned about the upsurge of violence had appealed to Egyptian leaders to use their influence with Hamas to prevent any fresh downward spiral.

US deputy state department spokesperson Mark Toner said he hoped the Egyptian prime minister would deliver a message to halt the rocket fire.

President Vladimir Putin told Morsi in a telephone call that Russia supported Egypt's efforts to halt the upsurge in violence since Israel killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jaabari in an air strike on Gaza City on Wednesday.

But as Qandil arrived, Hamas announced it had fired a new salvo of rockets at the Jewish state despite Israel's offer of a temporary truce for the brief visit.

  • lee.brand.73 - 2012-11-16 19:14

    You want to kick the rottweiler, dont cry when it rips you apart.

      watchman.smith - 2012-11-16 20:40

      The Iranian Ayatollahs are behind this Hamas attack on Israel fully sponsoring it. It is known a lot of the arsenal from Libya ended up in the hands of Hamas, hence the long range missiles that are reaching Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. At the end of it all the Palestinians will come off second best, but I don’t see this as the end of it for Israel and could be the beginning of what is known as Jacob’s Trouble, in other words the tribulation. We can see generally that the whole world is in an absolute mess and there is only one person that can rescue it. JESUS!

      watchman.smith - 2012-11-16 21:05

      People it is not just 250 rockets that have been fired at Israel, this has been going on for months now. Thousands of rockets have been fired by Hamas into Israel from Gaza for several months now. It's about time Israel took action. Do you think for one moment that none of the major European countries would sit back and take the same flack that Israel has been taking? I think not! I think they would have sorted them out much earlier.

      alisha.abad.7 - 2012-11-17 09:43

      Blablabla. And the Israelis have been stealing more and more Muslim land to extend their borders. I wish a third force nuked Jerusalem so nobody could fight over a stupid mountain ever again. Allow it to be radioactive for the next 10,000 years.

  • obadia.segwape - 2012-11-16 19:22

    why are these guys fighting.since i was born they have been fighting and i am now 32 years old and they are stil at it why

      arnold.dumas.54 - 2012-11-16 19:52

      32 Years? More like 3200 years! Go buy yourself a Bible and do some reading.

      watchman.smith - 2012-11-16 20:57

      Because it was prophecied to happen thousands of years ago obadia and will be through Israel that God will show His glory to the world.

      andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-11-17 10:05

      Because the Arabs and Muslims hate the Israelis more than they love their own children!

  • toofaan.monsoon - 2012-11-16 19:34

    I don't support either party, but from what I can see, Hamas has no chance. Continuing this course of action will result in massive casualties. If we truly advocate peace, we should be calling on them to stop. Face it, Israel will win any war at this stage. Even against a combined force of Egypt and Iran. The odds are stacked in Israels favour. Take the emotion and pride out of it please. The only sensible option is for Hamas to stand down.

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-11-16 21:02

      puppets with bombs strapped to their chests mostly does not have the brain capacity to understand what you are advocating...

      caroza.b - 2012-11-17 01:23

      The odds are stacked in Israel's favour because the US props them up militarily in spite of their non-stop flouting of international law. Their occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza is completely illegal and they assault and kill Palestinian civilians non-stop in the occupied territories. In a sane world they would have been stopped decades ago - and before the Demented Theocrat Brigade shout me down, a very tough line from the international community would ensure the safety of Israelis as well as Palestinians. As it is, we're going to have an ungodly slaughterhouse again. I wish this govt had the balls to send their embassy packing - fat chance.

      mikel.kiparski - 2012-11-17 10:49

      there is only one way of beating the an educated man needs no land.

  • mammone.tau.5 - 2012-11-16 19:39

    Why cant all this fighting stop? Its such a shame that the civilians are always caught up in this mess. Just imagine waiting to die 24 7. Wish I was not born in 1986 :-(... Its really Exhausting hearing what humans do to each other on Daily basis.. People, only Love and Compassion can solve this. How hard can that be??

      amunra.jakes - 2012-11-17 10:28

      Because peace and Islam cannot coexist in the same space or time. Where islam goes death and hardship follows.

  • jurgen.eksteen - 2012-11-16 19:56

    Oh just imagine what will happen if one of those rockets aimed at Jerusalem blew up the Dome of the Rock/Al Aqsa mosque ... not to mention the scheiss sturm that will follow if the Wailing Wall was destroyed.

  • prophetessbernadette.howard.3 - 2012-11-16 19:56

    Don't fool with Israel.You do so at your own peril.

  • bevan.dejager - 2012-11-16 19:58

    Israel has no choice but to defend itself! These stupid Hamas Idiots keep firing rockets into Israel. They have brought this upon themselves!

      razz.tazz.9 - 2012-11-16 20:31

      @Bevan...this is not a rugby topic. You clearly do not possess the knowledge wants happening with this conflict. Remember, the most quite people are many a times clever, so keep quite.

      audrey.sabag - 2012-11-16 21:15

      @razz.tazz.9. Are you retarded? That is the only conclusion I can come up with, considering your retarded statement. If you would like to insult someone, at least make sure your statement makes sense and then, that you can actually spell correctly. Go back and read what you have written... quite, indeed.

  • johnny.potatoes61 - 2012-11-16 19:59

    Stop the violence ffs. Why can't these people just sit down and talk like civilised adults?

      mike.down.5492 - 2012-11-16 20:46

      Read the Hamas charter and you will understand

  • jurgen.eksteen - 2012-11-16 20:00

    Oh just imagine what will happen if one of those rockets aimed at Jerusalem blew up the Dome of the Rock/Al Aqsa mosque ... not to mention the scheiss sturm that will follow if the Wailing Wall was destroyed. - 2012-11-16 21:39

      Ameen Ameen Ameen

  • jurgen.eksteen - 2012-11-16 20:00

    Oh just imagine what will happen if one of those rockets aimed at Jerusalem blew up the Dome of the Rock/Al Aqsa mosque ... not to mention the scheiss sturm that will follow if the Wailing Wall was destroyed.

      jurgen.eksteen - 2012-11-16 20:37

      LOL ... I just love how News24's Adroid App screws up by posting my post numerous times.

  • keith.staniford - 2012-11-16 20:13

    Gaza militants my foot, Palestinian terorists more like, I think they will shortly realise the folly of their actions.

      audrey.sabag - 2012-11-16 21:17

      Keith, they call them Gaza militants, as Palestine does not actually nor has it ever, existed... so they got it half way right.

      alimayet - 2012-11-17 11:33

      Aparteid ISRAEL and Terriorist Israel

  • Gorden Park - 2012-11-16 20:16

    Simple solution stop attacking and then you should not have a problem. Israel should give due warning to Gaza city for the innocent civilians to leave and then should level gaza city hopefully with all the scum still in it.

      mike.down.5492 - 2012-11-16 20:47

      They did give warning it's was all over the international news.

      cameronrh1 - 2012-11-16 21:05

      @Gorden they have, they dropped leavelets and called residents in areas they are gonna target.

      john.bucknall.1 - 2012-11-17 05:32

      Rolene, see you're still copying and pasting your propaganda on every article. Why do you call yourself Rolene when your real name is "Al-Islam Deenul Haq" ashamed hey, or just spineless like the Palestinians? Shooting rockets from behind the woman and children. Level the playing field wipe out Gaza now! Tired of reading about Mozzie radicals already. F'em!

  • tlou.andries.58 - 2012-11-16 20:19

    I think both their Ministers/Presidents must b in the ring nd kill each other not killing innocent ppl/kids who doesnt no nothing.May God protect them.

  • mark.uys.5 - 2012-11-16 20:25

    A new age of super powers, Iran, Puttin's Russia, be cautious Bolsheviec Isreal.... lol Hail Tsar Bomba

  • Sean Wasserman - 2012-11-16 20:38

    For people to sit down and talk, they have to be rational. Hamas is not rational.

  • yisaacson - 2012-11-16 20:58

    Just remember- Hamas is the democratically elected government of Gaza, not just a terrorist movement. As such, the rocket attacks are not just terrorist attacks, they are a conventional war by the Gazans against Israeli civilians , supported by the majority of Gazans. Israeli has a right and duty to respond accordingly, and that means Gazan civilians will die too. and thats not Israels fault. and that also means that Hamas has ruined the Palestinians chances of Israel ever leaving the "West Bank", as no Israeli will even consider allowing Hamas to stockpile rockets there as well and constantly bombard the rest of the country with them. so blame Hamas for the permanency of the so called "occupation." If it wasnt for them, Palestinians would have a viable state by now, living in peace with Israel, and prospering economically.

  • spiekeries - 2012-11-16 21:36

    Razz, I see you fully support your fellow coward terrorist brothers, birds of the same feathers ne

  • bilal.ebrahimnicholson - 2012-11-17 11:00

    To the aggressive Jews of S.A , go join your cousins in the promised land and leave your properties to the rightful owners of South Africa( Native Africans who roamed the land long before your ancestors set foot here) . Or is their claim to the land just as flimsy as your claim to 'Israel'

  • shuaib.jhetamhoosen - 2012-11-17 11:23

    Zionism = Nazism israeli leaders = nazi leaders amazing that we have "South Africans" who surpport the apartheid state of israel, oh sorry forgot you israeli surpporters benefitted from apartheid hence your surpport for israel same way you surpported the filthy apartheid regime.

      spiekeries - 2012-11-17 12:50

      No dude, we support strong legitimate governments, not cowardly terrorists that hide between woman and children.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-17 22:13

      Two groups of people resented and opposed the creation of an Israeli homeland for the Jewish people after the horrors of World War II, notwithstanding that the amount of land was a tiny, minuscule slither relative to their vast lands, and Jewish people had inhabited that land for millennia. Guess which groups that was, and is. Violent Muslims and White Supremacists. Two peas in the same pod. You're in the pod with them.

      shuaib.jhetamhoosen - 2012-11-18 09:50

      It so sad to see how the zionist regime has managed to brainwash educated people in believing that israel is a legitmate state.

  • bilo.ebi - 2012-11-17 11:29


  • bilo.ebi - 2012-11-17 11:40

    To all the racist Jews that consider themselves superior to the rest of humanity: Go to the promised land and leave your properties in S.A to the rightful African owners who roamed the land before your ancestors settled here .

      spiekeries - 2012-11-17 12:52

      Sorry dude, we are going nowhere, and how can we leave our properties to someone who roamed the land and could not create that said properties themselves, how can they be the rightful owners huh? Idiot

      bilo.ebi - 2012-11-17 13:10

      @stien..... Thanks for confirming that you are a racist and unable to comprehend simple logic. If u not going anywhere because Africans cant \create\ and prove their ownership of property, what bout your jewish(Kazakhs that converted) cousins in Israels proof of ownership?

      spiekeries - 2012-11-17 16:21

      My my but your lack of education is so apparent, but keep on making comments, you entertain me dude

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-17 22:13

      Two groups of people resented and opposed the creation of an Israeli homeland for the Jewish people after the horrors of World War II, notwithstanding that the amount of land was a tiny, minuscule slither relative to their vast lands, and Jewish people had inhabited that land for millennia. Guess which groups that was, and is. Violent Muslims and White Supremacists.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-17 22:14

      Bilo, are you going to give your land back to Khoi San who were on it before your ancestors arrived?

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