Gaza missiles fired at Tel Aviv ~ link ~ Palestinian militants have targeted Israel's commercial capital Tel Aviv with missiles fired from the Gaza Strip amid escalating violence in the region.
The attacks have been targeting Gaza since Wednesday.
The retaliatory fire from the coastal strip has struck the heart of Tel Aviv. On Thursday, the Israeli Army said a projectile fired from Gaza struck Rishon LeTzion, some 15 kilometers (nine miles) southeast of Tel Aviv, but there were no injuries or damage.
The Israeli Minister for Military Affairs, Ehud Barak has given the green light for the military to call up 30,000 reservists.
The return fire has sounded off air raid sirens across the occupied territories for the first time in nearly two decades.
Earlier in the day, the democratically-elected Palestinian Prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh vowed revenge on Israel, saying Palestinians will keep up resistance despite the deadly attacks.
The Israeli military frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the acts of aggression are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed or injured.
“If the Israeli aggression continues, it is clear that the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades and Hamas will attack the Israelis, the Israeli soldiers and the Israeli decision-makers,” Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said at a press conference in Gaza on Thursday.
He added, “We will launch our rockets just like rain. Rains of rockets will pour down on them.”
Meanwhile, another Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said they would not consider a truce with Israel for now.
"We will not be exposed to further tricks by the occupation. We consider talk of a truce at this time an attempt to provide more cover for the continuation of the escalation on Gaza," he said.
Abu Zuhri was responding to earlier remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Tel Aviv will take whatever action necessary against Gaza Strip.
The new wave of Israeli aggression on Gaza has claimed at least 17 lives since Wednesday. Ahmed al-Ja'abari, the popular and influential head of the Hamas military wing, the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades, was assassinated in an Israeli attack on his car on Wednesday.
Gaza has been blockaded since 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.
The apartheid regime of Israel denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs that pay proper wages, and adequate healthcare and education.
"Further escalation of violence would be impermissible," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters in Moscow on Thursday.
“The disproportionate strikes in Gaza Strip are totally unacceptable, especially when there are civilian casualties," he added.
"Moscow is deeply concerned with what is going on in Gaza Strip and calls for the bloodshed to end," Lukashevich noted.
The Kremlin also said on Thursday that President Vladimir Putin was following the Gaza situation, and was worried about the violence there.
"President Putin receives online information from all our relevant services in charge of these and, of course, he is concerned with it," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
On Thursday, three Palestinians were killed in the latest round of the airstrikes in the southern city of Khan Yunis while two others were killed in the northern region of the coastal enclave. Ten people were killed during the violence on Wednesday and more than 100 others sustained injuries.
Also on Thursday, three Israelis were killed when Palestinian rockets hit a house in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi.
The Tel Aviv regime has given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the ministers for military and foreign affairs the authority to decide on expanding the offensive against Gaza.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over the “deteriorating situation” and the “new cycle of bloodshed” in the besieged Palestinian territory.
On Wednesday, during a telephone conversation with Netanyahu, Ban said that he was concerned about the situation in the region and the “targeted killing by Israel of a Hamas military operative in Gaza.”
However, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice defended the Israeli offensive against Palestinians at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the same day.
Israel has launched a brutal campaign of aggression against the people of the Gaza strip. According to human rights activist Adie Mormech at the scene, hospitals in Gaza are overloaded. Young children and infants are already among the dead. In response, a barrage of rockets from the Palestinian side has hit Israeli settlement areas. The Pentagon has stated that they will stand by their Israeli partners.
Press TV has interviewed Saeb Shaath, author and Middle East expert, from Belfast about the acts of aggression targeting Gaza. He is joined by two additional guests on Press TV’s News Analysis, Mormech, who has joined the program from the Gaza Strip, and Lawrence Korb with the Center for American Progress progressive public policy research and advocacy organization, from New York City.
The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Please explain to us what you think is the reason for the timing, which has come at this time looking at course at Barak Obama being reelected. Do you think Israel informs Barak Obama of what is to occur in the Gaza Strip of which they forewarned 24 hours back that they were going to at some point attack the Gaza Strip?
Shaath: Let me express it in this way... If we notice today’s attack and assassination in Gaza it is obliged to be an attack on all Arabs and all Muslims worldwide and if you are going to react to that God help us what is going to happen and who the next target will be.
Since Obama has been elected the second time we shall not be fooled by Romney and pschy-wars with Netanyahu or not. The plan will play in America between Democrats and Republicans, they’ve got both Parties. Both Parties are partners in the crime with the Zionists assassinating and killing the Palestinians.
The Israelis won’t dare to attack Gaza in that way and carry these sorts of war crimes against a besieged area without the green light of the United States of America, Obama personally.
So, today the assassinations and killing of people, some of them babies and children; Ahmed al-Jabari the leader of the military wing of Hamas was one of them.
This is all a reaction to when the resistance reacted to the planned attack the previous week on Gaza last Saturday and the killing of a child there last Thursday.
So when the resistance reacted targeting a military vehicle with it’s new anti-tank missile coordinates the Zionists confirmed that four of its senior officers were badly injured... Then, the other part of the resistance Islamic Jihad launched a new sophisticated rocket at them - that scared them.
Do not forget who has the highest security arsenal in the region and weaponry made in the United States of America attacking the civilians of Gaza and Palestinians everywhere.
So the timing of this if we look at the picture a little bit wider Israel since September has been engaged in war games at the Golan Heights bringing more brigades into the area.
Today just a couple of hours before the assassination Barak said - Ehud Barak the Israeli Defense Minister said that the summoned delegates of the Golan Heights in the Zionist State are totally under the control of the Free Syrian Army at this time.
So, they are working there, the Zionists, hand in hand with the Syrian gangs to create a buffer zone and the message sent to Gaza and a second to Syria that they are in the future not to interfere. This is also a message to... Beirut, to the resistance. At the end of the day, Iran has to hear this message in order to understand what is coming.