Rocket Lands Near Jerusalem as Gaza Fighting Intensifies

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 16 2012 11:31 AM

Rocket Lands Near Jerusalem as Gaza Fighting Intensifies

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A picture taken from the southern Israeli Gaza border shows smoke billowing from a spot targeted by an Israeli air strike inside the Gaza strip on November 16, 2012

Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

A failed temporary cease-fire and a rocket landing near Jerusalem marked day three of the escalating action between the Gaza Strip and Israel on Friday, following the assassination of Hamas's military commander at the start of Israel's "Operation Pillar of Defense."

Hamas confirmed to Reuters that they'd launched a rocket at Jerusalem on Friday. There were no injuries reported. As the BBC notes, this is apparently the first time militants in Gaza have launched rockets at Jerusalem. Tel Aviv was also targeted on Friday, also with no injuries.

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The rocket launch near Jerusalem is a pretty big deal, as Al Jazeera's Nisreen el Shamayleh explains:

"Now that all Israeli eyes were on Tel Aviv, people are even more shocked to know that rockets from Gaza can reach Jerusalem. The concern before was about the Israelis in the southern Israeli communities, close to Gaza, because that’s where rockets were able to reach. Tel Aviv and Jersualem were not a concern. Now it is shocking news for the army."

Adding to speculation that fighting is only going to get worse after the targeting of two major cities? Israel has drafted 16,000 reserve troops after the government approved a draft of up to 30,000.

Meanwhile, an attempt to broker a three-hour ceasefire in Gaza for a visit by Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil failed as both sides promptly blamed the other for a failure to keep the (very temporary) peace in Gaza. Egypt, now run by an Islamist government seen as much ideologically closer to Hamas than the outsted Egyptian regime was, is seen as wanting to play a larger role in resolving the current conflict, as the Los Angeles Times explains.

At least 19 Palestinians have died since Wednesday's operation began, a mix of military and civilian deaths including a pregnant woman and six children. Three Israelis were killed Thursday when a Hamas rocket hit an apartment building in Kiryat Malachi, Reuters reports.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.