It has been a morning of heavy rocket fire from Gaza into Israel on Friday that has Israel’s military on the edge of a ground invasion into Gaza as President Obama asks Egypt’s leaders to intervene to prevent violence between Israel and Hamas from escalating further.
At this hour Hamas is continuing to launch rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel where a rocket landed in Jerusalem for the first time since 1970. CNN has reported that a ground war is imminent since Gaza is continuing to fire rockets at civilians in Israel.
A White House statement backed Israel’s right to self-defense and condemned Hamas’ rocket fire from Gaza into Israel saying it is Egypt’s central role to preserve regional security.
According to the New York Times, the Israeli military say their forces are, “on standby” and “ready to enter should it be decided that a ground operation is necessary.”
Col. Amir Baram, the commander of the Israel Defense Forces briefed his forces after traveling to the Gaza border in preparation for a ground war invasion of Gaza.
“We are already 48 hours into an operation that we knew would have to happen,” Baram told his soldiers. “We have spoken about it during training, exercises and conferences. There is no doubt that we have to operate. This is why we enlisted, and why we have trained.”
So far 19 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed after a surprise attack on Wednesday when Israel launched a pinpoint missile attack targeting Ahmed Jabari, 46, the head of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip as he was driving along a residential road when the missile blew up his car in a ball of flames.
Click here to learn more about Jabari’s assassination.
Israel released a statement defending their actions saying, “The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership,” the Israeli military said.
The air offensive against the Gaza Strip by Israel is reportedly the most dramatic since the winter of 2008-09 when a three-week Israel invasion claimed the lives of over 1,000 Palestinians and the loss of 13 Israelis after a six-month ceasefire between Israel and Hamas had expired and in response to rockets fired into Israeli towns and villages by Hamas and other militant groups based in Gaza.
Video – ABC’s Christiane Amanpour reports from inside the region amid growing fear of an all-out war.