US Seeks 'De-escalation' in Gaza Fight After Rocket Barrage; Another Senior Terror Leader Killed
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JERUSALEM, Israel – The Israeli military's "Operation Shield and Arrow" to stop the terror group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) entered its third day Thursday, and while there is talk of a cease-fire, so far, the fighting continues.
Israel eliminated another top PIJ operative, Ali Ghali, a senior commander of the group's rocket launching force.
Within the past 24 hours, Palestinian terrorists have fired more than 500 missiles into southern Israel, hitting areas as far away as Tel Aviv.
The rocket barrages have sent more than a million Israelis running into bomb shelters, or forced them to lie on the street for protection.
Israeli Defense Forces video showed Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepting many of the rockets fired by Islamic Jihad. The IDF says the system has succeeded more than 90 percent of the time.
Some rockets, however, have landed, and they caused damage in several areas, including the coastal city of Asheklon. More than 30 Israelis have been treated for rocket-related injuries.
Another video shows how a number of Palestinian rockets have misfired and landed within Gaza, killing several Palestinians, including a 10-year-old girl.
Since the beginning of Operation Shield and Arrow, more than 100 rockets have fallen short of their targets and landed in the Gaza Strip.
More than 30 Palestinians have died in the fighting, most of them Islamic Jihad terrorists.
While Israel has been accused of "indiscriminately" targeting civilians, IDF video shows an airstrike being aborted after children were identified nearby.
Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, spokesman for the Israeli military, said, "We’re not looking for war. We are focused on our targets and we’ll do everything we need to protect our civilians."
While speaking with advisors, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautioned that there may be a long campaign ahead.
"My instruction is that we are ready for the possibility of an expanded campaign and harsh strikes, taking place now and in the future. Overall, I think we have the upper hand, but it’s clear you are at the line (border), and I appreciate your support and resilience," he said.
U.S. officials are playing a role in the background. U.S. Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides tweeted Thursday that the U.S. "is concerned about the continuing rocket launches today. We stand by Israel's right to defend itself, working towards a quick de-escalation."
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