As Israel-Gaza border conflict intensified with salvos of rockets and missiles being launched across the border, US President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged both the sides to act sensibly and not in a revengeful spirit.
A day after Israel ratcheted up air and sea offensive in the Gaza Strip, targeting 160 Hamas sites overnight, hundreds of rockets were fired towards southern Israel by Hamas militants in response, with many targeted towards the city of Jerusalem as well.
Israeli Army said that the Hamas militants were firing the long range M302 rockets (with a range of 90-150km) that could ‘strike most of Israel’.
Gaza is said to possess dozens of M302 rockets in its arsenal.
The fresh escalation in the border conflict came as Israel launched an offensive code-named Operation Protective Edge and declared that it was determined to stop firing from Gaza militants to defend its citizens who live under constant threat of rockets.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had earlier suggested acting with a “cool head” over the situation, sounded determined late Tuesday night when he justified expanded operations against Gaza.
“No other country lives under such a threat, and no country would accept such a threat,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
“We have therefore significantly expanded our operations against Hamas and the other terrorist organisations in Gaza.”
However, US President Barack Obama has urged both the sides to show caution and act sensibly instead of retaliating, in order to protect the innocents.
Writing in a German weekly named Die Zeit, Obama wrote, “At this time of danger, everyone involved must protect the innocent and act in a sensible and measured way, not with revenge and retaliation”.
In the article that will be published on Thursday, Obama said that both sides will have to accept risks for peace, reported the Reuters. Israeli Defence Forces wrote on Twitter that some 150 rockets were fired by the Palestinian militants in last 24 hours, with dozens of Hamas “rockets reaching as far as 62 miles into the heart of #Israel in the span of 1 hr”.
The government has clamped emergency in southern Israel and schools within 40 Km of Gaza have been closed. Residents have been told to stay indoors.
The retaliatory firing from Gaza came after Israeli strikes killed more than 20 Palestinians yesterday.
Tuesday was one of the deadliest days in the conflict since 2012 as 28 Palestinians were killed and some 150 injured, reports cited medics.