Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have entered their fourth day. The latest bombardment has caused the deaths of three Palestinians, according to Palestinian medics.
Confirmed fatalities climbed to 21 in Gaza Strip, with a further 65 injured.
“The operations would continue as long as necessary,” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. The conflict renewed after the assassination of Palestinian militant, Zuhair al Qaissi by Israeli security forces.
Israeli officers have stated that more than 240 rockets have been fired from the Gaza strip into Israeli territories since Friday. As militants from Gaza are firing Quassam and Katyusha rockets to Israeli territories, schools in several towns in Southern Israel are temporarily closed.
The conflict elicited differing responses from across the globe: The Arab League named the Israeli air attacks a “massacre”, while the United States called Palestinian missile launches a “cowardly act”. It is believed that Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) are responsible for rocket attacks into Israeli territories. The Israeli government believes that responsibility belongs to Hamas as it controls the Gaza strip.
At least 25 missiles were fired on southern Israel from the Gaza strip on Monday. Israel’s anti-rocket system ‘Iron Dome’ stopped most of the missiles launched, approximately 90 percent, according to Israeli officials. As a precaution, 500,000 Israelis have been relocated to shelters for their own protection.
Netanyahu said: “I must point out that the Iron Dome system has proven itself very well.” Currently Israel has three Iron Dome batteries and it is estimated that Israel will have nine by 2013.
Hamas president Mahmoud Abbas called on Israel to stop its “aggressive acts.” Abbas held emergency talks with Egypt and the European Union. The leader of Hamas militant group Ismail Haniyeh announced that Egypt is working to establish a ceasefire to put an end to the conflict.
As the exchange of fire continues the US, Russia, UN and EU will meet today in New York to discuss how to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
US secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the foreign minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be in the meeting.
Main Image: Marius Arnesen
Sources: Reuters, BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN