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Hamas Fires Rockets at Jerusalem; Israel Readies Troops and Tanks at Gaza Border

November 16, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
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JEFFREY BROWN: There was no letup today in the battle between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules Gaza.

Airstrikes echoed across Gaza, and rockets landed near Tel Aviv and, for the first time, near Jerusalem. The combined death toll reached 30, 27 Palestinians and three Israelis.

We begin with a report from John Ray of Independent Television News in Gaza.

JOHN RAY: A sleepless night in Gaza gave way to another morning of missiles. Israel promised a lull in its assault, a chance for words to speak louder than bombs.

But on neither side was there a cease-fire. And if the Egyptian prime minister came armed with a peace plan, he kept it to himself. This was far more a display of Muslim Brotherhood with Hamas. Hisham Qandil called Gaza a tragedy and Israel the aggressor.

The tragedy is deeply personal, and it unfolds at the GazaCityHospital, where they rush the dead and the injured, boys like Yeheah, just 10 years old. “I was buying bread for my mother,” he says, “when the rocket came.”

Dooah, a girl of 14, was hit my shrapnel on her way to a wedding. “All I remember is the flash of red light,” she tells me.

Israel insists it is striking targets that are carefully selected. This was the Ministry of the Interior, obliterated. Israel is reducing the symbols of Hamas rule to so much twisted metal and smoldering rubble, but they have not yet stopped the rockets. And while the missiles continue to fly, any chance of a cease-fire that sticks seems slim.

Nor is there a monopoly on suffering. More Palestinian rockets hit home today, while sirens rung out in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, extending what Israel calls a reign of terror far beyond the Gaza border.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Israel: There is one basic difference between us and our enemies. They deliberately target civilians and deliberately hide behind civilians, and we do everything in our power to minimize civilian casualties while we exercise our legitimate right of self-defense.

JOHN RAY: Israel’s called up 16,000 reserve troops. The border looks like the marshaling point for an invasion. Sometime, an order must come to pull back or advance.