Both Sides 'Ready To Escalate' As Israel And Hamas Fire Away

NPR icon by Mark Memmott
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Though there was talk about a possible ceasefire today while Egypt's prime minister was visiting Gaza, more rockets were fired at Israel from Hamas-controlled territory and Israel has responded with an airstrike on the home of a Hamas commander in southern Gaza, The Guardian reports.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn, who is in Gaza City, said earlier on Morning Edition that neither side seems willing at this time to de-escalate. Instead, he told host Steve Inskeep, "they're both ready to escalate." Israeli officials have said they are "ready to initiate a ground operation in Gaza" if they decide it's needed.

According to The Associated Press, as of early today at least 19 people — "militants and civilians" — had been killed in Gaza during this week's flare up. There have been three deaths reported in Israel. About 450 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel. A few have reached as far as the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

Both the Israeli Defense Force and the Alqassam Brigades in Gaza continue to post on Twitter about what they're doing. The militant force is claiming it launched "a long range missile towards the #Israeli #Kneset Building in Jerusalem." The IDF says "67 rockets fired from Gaza hit #Israel today (335 since Nov. 14). Iron Dome intercepted 55 rockets today."

While in Gaza, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil "denounced Israel's attacks on the Palestinian territory and said Cairo would try to secure a ceasefire," Reuters reports. "Egypt will spare no effort ... to stop the aggression and to achieve a truce," Kandil said.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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