Ceasefire Collapses in Gaza Clash

Palestinians aim rockets at Tel Aviv for first time

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 16, 2012 2:58 AM CST | Updated Nov 16, 2012 7:47 AM CST

(Newser) – A brief, planned ceasefire failed to materialize in Gaza today, as death continued to rain down on the strip. Israel had offered to hold its offensive to accommodate a visit from Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil, provided Hamas held its fire as well. But Hamas said it would keep firing, and one Israeli defense minister complained that 50 rockets had flown in from Gaza during Kandil's visit, CNN reports. A Hamas-run TV station reported that Israel had kept firing as well, but Israel says it took a break for at least two hours.

  • In Palestine the death toll has risen to 21, including 13 civilians, Reuters reports. Among those civilians were seven children and a pregnant teenager. Israel's death toll held steady at 3, despite the hundreds of rockets fired into Israel.
  • But Hamas did up the ante by firing rockets near Tel Aviv for the first time. Air-raid sirens sounded (the last time they did so was during the Gulf War) and civilians ran for cover, though the missiles exploded harmlessly, with one going into the sea. "There will be a price for that escalation," Ehud Barak vowed, according to the New York Times.
  • Israel has now hit 250 Gaza targets, while taking further steps toward a ground invasion, calling up 16,000 reservists, the Wall Street Journal reports. It's also steadily sending troops and armored vehicles to the border, notes CNN—between 1,500 and 2,000 are already there, one official said.
  • Israel claims the attacks have weakened Hamas' military capabilities and caused its attacks to lighten, but Hamas denied that, saying it had hit multiple Israeli targets today.
  • Kandil emerged from his meeting with Hamas expressing solidarity, saying the new Egyptian regime would be more active in helping the Palestinians. "The time has changed," he said. "No longer the Israeli occupation will be able to carry out their attacks against the Palestinians without being held responsible. That time is far bygone."
  • For its part, the Obama administration says it's seeking help from Arab countries in calling on Hamas to relent. "The onus rests squarely on Hamas ... to stop its rocket attacks," says a State Department spokesman.
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is planning diplomatic visits to Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo within days.

CORRECTS SPELLING OF THE TYPE OF VEHICLE - An Israeli solider rides on top an armored personnel carrier close to the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel,Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Israel's prime minister...   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
CORRECTS SPELLING OF THE TYPE OF VEHICLE - A woman photographs Israeli soldiers on top an armored personnel carrier close to the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel,Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Israel's prime...   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
British police officers, left, try to contain pro-Palestinian protesters as they hold a rally against Israel's operations in the Gaza Strip, outside the road leading to the Israeli Embassy, in London,Thursday,...   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Israeli soldiers take cover as an air raid siren warns of incoming rockets before the funeral of Aaron Smadja, one of the three Israelis killed by a rocket fired from Gaza, at a cemetery in the southern...   (AP Photo / Tsafrir Abayov)
Palestinians gather around the bodies of Hamas militants, from top, cousins Hisham Al-Galban, 27, and Wael Al-Galban, 27, and Habis Msameh, 27, at the morgue in Nasser hospital in the southern Gaza Strip...   (AP Photo/Hatem Omar)
Smoke rises following an Israeli attack on Gaza City, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.   (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
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