Palestinian Rocket Strikes Near Kindergarten; Israel Hits at Gaza Targets
Jimmy Carter was unavailable for comment.
Israel’s air force struck at least eight different targets in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, wounding six people, and Palestinians fired a rocket into Israel that hit near a kindergarten, injuring two.
The situation is “fragile and explosive,” Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, the Israeli military’s chief of staff, told a parliamentary committee yesterday, according to the army website. Israel has stepped up operations in Gaza in response to “terrorists’ decision to intensify their activity,” Ashkenazi said.
About 15 mortar shells and rockets have hit Israel since Monday, the army said. The upturn in violence came as Israeli- Palestinian peace negotiations remained stalled and reconciliation talks between the Islamic Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority that runs the West Bank are frozen.
Hamas “is saying we are still here,” said Gerald Steinberg, a political scientist at Bar Ilan University outside Tel Aviv, adding that he expected “low-level escalation over the next few weeks” and nothing more than that.
Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union, refuses to recognize or negotiate with Israel. The Islamic movement seized control of Gaza in 2007 after winning parliamentary elections a year earlier, ending a partnership government with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party.
Since the beginning of 2010, more than 200 rockets and mortar shells have been fired into Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.