GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel is moving a step closer to a possible ground offensive in Gaza, calling up 16,000 reservists.
This, on a day that saw Hamas rocket squads display their expanded reach -- taking aim at Jerusalem for the first time, after earlier targeting Tel Aviv. Air raid sirens sounded today in both cities.
Over the past three days, Israel has pounded suspected rocket launching sites and other Hamas targets in Gaza with scores of airstrikes, while Hamas has fired more than 450 rockets toward Israel. Hamas says the rockets aimed at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv today were made in Gaza, and have a range of about 50 miles.
At least 23 Palestinians, including 12 militants and six children, have been reported killed in the fighting, along with three Israelis.
Israel's military says no decision has been made on whether to send in ground troops, or how long the Israeli offensive will last. Along the border, Israeli tanks, armored vehicles and military bulldozers are parked in rows.
The violence is putting further strains on Israeli relations with Egypt. The Islamist government in Cairo sent the country's prime minister to Gaza to show solidarity, and he called today for an end to the Israeli offensive. Thousands protested the Israeli action today in Egypt's two largest cities.
236-r-08-(Sound of men and women shouting, as they jostled with Israeli police after Friday prayers in the old sector of Jerusalem)--Sound of men and women shouting as they jostled with Israeli police after Friday prayers in the old city of Jerusalem. The confrontation occurred after Israeli police limited the people permitted to enter the prayers due to security concerns over the ongoing fighting between Gaza and Israel. (16 Nov 2012)
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224-a-07-(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, from official Israeli press video)-"citizens against terrorism"-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country will carefully, but forcefully, respond to Hamas aggression. COURTESY: Israeli Government Press Office ((mandatory on-air credit)) (16 Nov 2012)
<<CUT *224 (11/16/12)>> 00:07 "citizens against terrorism"
222-c-20-(Aron Heller, AP correspondent)-"attacks into Israel"-AP correspondent Aron Heller reports that rockets aimed at Jerusalem apparently claimed no casualties. (16 Nov 2012)
<<CUT *222 (11/16/12)>> 00:20 "attacks into Israel"
GRAPHICSBANK: Explosion following an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, on texture, partial graphic (16 Nov 2012)
APPHOTO BA120: Palestinians carry the body of Mohammed Salman during his funeral in Beit Lahia, north Gaza, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. According to relatives, Tahrer Salman and Mohammed Salman and were killed after an Israeli airstrike hit the yard of their house. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) (16 Nov 2012)
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APPHOTO JRL141: Palestinians inspect the rubble of the destroyed house of Hamas militant Mohammad Abu Shmala, following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012.(AP Photo/Eyad Baba) (16 Nov 2012)
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APPHOTO JRL151: Israeli soldiers with armored vehicles gather in a staging ground near the border with Gaza Strip, southern Israel, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. Fierce clashes between Israeli forces and Gaza militants are continuing for the third day.(AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov) (16 Nov 2012)
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