Pressure For Truce Grows, But Israel And Hamas Continue Firing
The deadly back-and-forth between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip continues. There have been more Israeli air strikes on Hamas targets today and more rockets fired from Gaza toward southern Israel.
Israeli forces targeted some 80 locations overnight, including rocket launch sites, police stations and smuggling tunnels, NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Gaza City. The death toll in Gaza now stands at more than 80 (some news outlets put the toll at more than 90). They include 12 members of one family, Anthony reports, who were killed by a strike aimed at a Hamas operative. Hundreds more have been wounded Gaza.
Hamas rocket fire has killed at least three Israelis in the past week.
On Morning Edition, Anthony spoke with host Renee Montagne. As he said,the two sides dispute who started the latest fighting, which has been going on for about six days. Correspondent Sheera Frankel reported from Israel about the Iron Dome anti-missile system that nation's defense forces are using to knock down many of the rockets fired from Gaza.
Meanwhile, "international pressure for a truce [has] intensified," as Reuters reports:
"United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was due to arrive in Cairo to weigh in on ceasefire efforts led by Egypt, which borders both Israel and Gaza and whose Muslim Brotherhood-rooted government has been hosting leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a smaller armed faction in the Palestinian enclave.
"Israeli media said a delegation from Israel had also been to Cairo for the truce talks. A spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government declined comment on the matter."
But The Guardian writes that "the war in Gaza appears to be in a grim holding pattern, poised before the alternatives of a ceasefire or a ground offensive by Israeli tanks and troops. ... Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said some progress had been made at ceasefire talks in Cairo, but a truce was not imminent. ... A senior Israeli official in Jerusalem told the Haaretz newspaper that Israel did not expect a breakthrough."
Haaretz, which is live-blogging, adds that "Palestinian news agency Ma'an reports that Hamas chief Khaled Meshal, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah and Egyptian intelligence officials are meeting in Cairo in an effort to reach an agreement on a cease-fire in Gaza. According to Egyptian media reports, Egyptian intelligence chief Raafat Shehata presented Israel's response to Hamas' demands for a cease-fire."