News / Middle East

Israel Moves Reinforcements to Gaza Border

  • Israeli military bulldozers are seen near the Israeli border with northern Gaza Strip July 3, 2014.
  • An Israeli police explosives expert displays for the media the remains of a neutralised rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza after it landed in a house in the southern town of Sderot, July 3, 2014.
  • Avihai Jorno inspects the damage to his home after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza landed in the southern town of Sderot, July 3, 2014.
  • A Palestinian inspects a crater police said was caused by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, July 3, 2014.
  • A Palestinian checks the damages of a Hamas training camp following an Israeli air strike on it early morning in Gaza City, July 3, 2014.
  • A Palestinian holds a Molotov cocktail during clashes with Israeli border police in Jerusalem, July 2, 2014.
  • A fire-fighting aircraft works over a forest fire raging near the Israeli village of Aminadav, near Jerusalem, July 2, 2014.
  • Palestinians hurl stones during clashes with Israeli police in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, July 2, 2014.
  • A Palestinian kicks a tire after setting it on fire during clashes with Israeli police in Shuafat, an Arab suburb of Jerusalem, July 2, 2014.
  • A Palestinian argues with Israeli border police in Jerusalem, July 2, 2014.
Israel - Palestinian Clashes
VOA News

The Israeli army is moving troop reinforcements toward the border with Gaza after an increase in rocket fire from the Palestinian territory.

Israeli jets struck targets in Gaza Thursday while militants continued sending rockets into southern Israel. The violence comes amid mounting tension over the killing of an Arab teenager in east Jerusalem in a suspected revenge killing after three Israeli teens were murdered.

The Israeli military said its jets targeted 15 "Hamas terror sites" in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials say 10 civilians were wounded. Among them was Ahmad al-Hatoum.


"My wife was preparing [the morning meal during Ramadan], when we suddenly heard a big explosion. I felt the fire inside my house come towards me and my daughters," he said. "We ran outside the house and found our damaged car, as you can see it, and all the houses around were damaged. It is completely damaged."

Israeli officials say the strikes were in response to over 20 rockets fired at Israel since Wednesday. Most of the rockets were intercepted, but at least two struck houses in the border town of Sderot. No injuries were reported.

Residents anxious

Sderot resident Avihai Giorno said his family is on edge.

"It's impossible not to start each day with fear. And the children, even though I tell them not to be afraid, when it reaches you it changes everything, the whole situation," Giorno said.

Meanwhile, Israeli authorities continue investigating the death of 17-year-old Mohammed Abu Khudair, who was kidnapped and whose body was found in a Jerusalem forest on Wednesday.   

Palestinian officials blame Israeli settlers for the alleged attack, saying it is revenge for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens who were buried this week. Israel blames that attack on Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. It denies the charge.

Netanyahu, US condemn murder

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu tried to calm the situation Thursday saying he "unequivocally" condemned the killing of the Palestinian teenager.  He said "murder, riots, incitement, vigilantism, they have no place in our democracy.''

Palestinian protesters Wednesday threw stones at Israeli riot police, who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets. The situation was calm on Thursday, but more protests were expected when Khudair is buried.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the murder of Abu Khudair "heinous" and urged both Israeli and Palestinian authorities to prevent tensions from escalating.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the crime is "sickening." He said there are "no words to convey adequately our condolences."

UN condemns violence flare-up

The U.N. human rights chief condemned both Palestinians and Israelis for the  flare up of violence across the Israel-Gaza border.

 "From a human rights point of view, I utterly condemn these rocket attacks and more especially I condemn Israel's excessive acts of retaliation,'' U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told journalists in Vienna on Thursday.

 "I am extremely concerned by what's happening,'' she added on the sidelines of a conference.

 She also condemned both the killing of three Israeli teens and the killing of a Palestinian teen, whose body was found in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

 "This level of retaliation is excessive and this is what is spawned when governments do not respect the rule of law, when governments themselves resort to excessive forms of retaliation,'' Pillay said.

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Comment Sorting
by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
July 04, 2014 7:42 PM
I challenge anyone on VOA, If you are convince that the land of Israel belongs to the so call Palestinians, Please do your personal study. According to the Koran, Sura 5:20-21,Sura 17:104, Prophet Mohammed stated in the Koran that the Land belongs to the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. All through the Koran, it speaks about the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL. The Koran was written before MAY 15, 1948, So the Koran is not speaking of the 1948 Israelite, The Koran has already made it clear that before MAY 15, 1948, there were a nation called Israel, and a people called Israelite or Jews. Because of these truth in the Koran, we will support Israel and stand for the truth until our death. The truth must be told. When you and I were not even born, History speaks of the Jews and the land. And if you went to school, back in those every teachers speak on this topic Israel, except you are living in denied. Israel has the right to the claim of that land, and they have the right to build in their ancient home land. God Bless Israel,we stand with you, we support you

by: Steve Grumman from: Arizona
July 04, 2014 12:06 AM
Until Israel realizes and acts to restrict and reduce the number of settlements, the irritation between Palestinians and Israelis will continue.

by: Mell from: US
July 03, 2014 7:55 PM
For every one Israely killed, one thousand Palestinians killed.

Disgusting. No wonder so many has no sympathy to Israel excuses to kill palestines.

by: charlie from: California
July 03, 2014 12:59 PM
I think it's time that the folks in Samaria and Galilee and Gaza become Israeli citizens. Israel has controlled their lives since the 67 war. No need for peace talks or the PLO. With half a million Jews living interspersed among two million non-citizen Muslims in the un-annexed part of Israel there is no room for a second or third state. There is only one real state there and half its people are not yet citizens of it even though they were born in it.

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
July 03, 2014 11:46 AM
Israel is a sovereign State, and she has all right to defend and protect itself. Before the kidnapping and murdering of the three Jewish teens, rockets were constantly fired into Israel daily. The news media are not reporting the right information. Violence is increasing daily not because of the three teens, this has been going on, and Hamas is responsible for every violence. Just three days ago has fired rocket into Israeli factory, burning it down to the floor, the sole purpose of the Arabs is to destroy Israel. No country will just sit there for another country to just fired rockets into their country daily, she will have to react to stop those rockets from firing into their country.

The UN is a joke, they need to stand up to Abbas for all those rockets coming into Israel. Israel has not fire a single rocket into Gaza without retaliation. Israel is reacting to their action. We strongly condemn the Palestinians for inciting all these violence. The UN needs to point finger at Hamas not Israel. Israel have to use excessive force against Hamas, what the UN chief thinks? Are they taking the lives of the Jewish people for a play? Hamas fired rocket into Israel indiscriminately, they don't care about Israel civilians, so why should Israel cares about theirs? Listen here, we supporting Israel, Israel has all right to defend itself. All that nonsense Russia was doing, flying their F-16 jets around the US coast, if they were to fire rocket into the US, so help us all, the US was going retaliate with a very strong and clear message with an excessive force. And we all will support the US for doing so. God bless Israel

by: Not Again from: Canada
July 03, 2014 10:31 AM
The report is misleading, the escalation of projectile firing, from Gaza, has been ongoing for the past 5+ months, with multiple salvos fired in one day about 5 weeks ago, long before the kidnappings and murder of the three Israeli teens, and now the Arab teen.
The suspected murderers of the three Jewish teens have been identified, they are known Hamas terrorist operatives. The kidnapper(s) /murderer(s) of the Arab teen has/have not been identified. Several hundreth projectiles were fired against Israeli civilian targets well before the kidnapping of the four male innocent teens (3Israeli/1 Arab); in addition, one Israeli female teen was murdered, ~three weeks before the latest male teens were murdered. It is all an appalling situation.

by: W. Darden from: Canada
July 03, 2014 10:04 AM
well, we all hope that this time israel will deliver a devastating blow to Arab terrorism... from Gaza to the "west bank." but under Obama, no one is sure what Israel is doing... the whole world seems unsure of the enemy anymore... someone needs to remind them that the enemy of civilization is a vile Arab Islam... in all of its varieties... from Iraq to Afghanistan, Egypt to Africa, China to Europe... is there anything Muslims do not want to destroy and kill ??

by: Daniel
July 03, 2014 6:57 AM
"mounting tension over the killing of an Arab teenager" - because the prior killing of three Israeli teenagers has nothing to do with it.

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