Israel warns of ground attack on Gaza Strip
Egypt's premier urged world leaders Friday to stop Israeli "aggression" on Gaza as he visited the Hamas-run enclave and the Jewish state warned of a possible ground offensive.world Updated: Nov 17, 2012 01:10 IST
Egypt's premier urged world leaders Friday to stop Israeli "aggression" on Gaza as he visited the Hamas-run enclave and the Jewish state warned of a possible ground offensive.
A truce agreed during the brief visit by Prime Minister Hisham Qandil quickly dissolved in violence as what Palestinian security sources said was an Israeli air strike hit northern Gaza, killing two.
Gaza militants, too, fired rockets at both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on Friday, prompting Israel to call up thousands more reservists in readiness for a potential ground war. Israel accused Hamas of violating the agreement but it denied carrying out any strikes.
"We have not attacked in the past two hours, in addition there have been over 60 rocket launches in the same period of time," an army spokesman said, as Hamas militants from the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades admitted having fired more than 40 rockets over the border.
Qandil entered the bomb-scarred territory via the Rafah crossing early morning, decrying an Israeli assault on Gaza since Wednesday which has sent tensions soaring across West Asia.
Speaking at Gaza City's Shifa hospital after seeing the bodies of those killed in Friday's reported air strike, Qandil vowed to intensify Cairo's efforts to secure a truce and end Israel's "aggression" in Gaza.
Israel and Hamas have observed an informal truce for the past four years. But in recent weeks, the calm unravelled in a bout of rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.
The fighting began on Wednesday after Israel killed Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari in an airstrike, then attacked dozens of rocket launchers. The offensive follows weeks of rocket fire out of Gaza.