Day Three of Israeli Attack on Gaza: At least 28 killed, 290 injured in Gaza; Missile hits West Bank settlement; Israeli television reports 75,000 reservists being drafted

Palestinian Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya (on the right) and Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil hold the body of a Palestinian baby boy who was killed in an Israeli air strike on November 16, 2012 during a visit to the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City (AFP Photo / Manmud Hams)

The Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, first set off when the Israeli air force decisively broke a tacit cease-fire and assassinated the leader of Hamas’ military wing, continues into its third day. A rocket hit the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion earlier today; no casualties were reported as a result of the hit.

An Israeli air strike killed “Hamas Central Command chief Ahmad Abu Jalal,” the Times of Israel confirms.

The latest death toll, according to Ma’an News, is up to 28 Palestinians. Reports put out by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) document that at least ten of those deaths were of civilians. “The civilian victims include 6 children and a woman. Additionally, 257 Palestinians, including 253 civilians, have been wounded – this number includes 62 children and 42 women,” according to the PCHR. That number is likely to rise as human rights workers collect more evidence on the ground.

The Israeli death toll from rocket fire remains at 3, though more Israelis were wounded over night. A second rocket reportedly was fired near Tel Aviv. “The IDF stated that no rocket impact was located in Tel Aviv, but local residents reported hearing an explosion following the siren. No injuries or damage were reported,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

The Egyptian prime minister visited Gaza earlier today. He went to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City and said: “This tragedy cannot pass in silence and the world should take responsibility in stopping this aggression…Egypt will spare no effort … to stop the aggression and to achieve a truce.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged that Israel would cease firing from the sky while Egypt’s prime minister visited Gaza. But CBS reports that “Israel said its air force bombed the house of a Hamas commander in the Gaza Strip after militants fired more than a dozen rockets toward southern Israel, trampling hopes for a three hour ceasefire during a brief visit by Egypt’s premier to the tiny stretch of land.”

All of this is occurring ”as troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers massed near the Palestinian territory, signaling a ground invasion might be growing near,” according to the Associated Press. There are reports from Israeli television Channel 2 that 75,000 Israeli reservists are being drafted. For comparison, just over 9,200 were drafted before Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, and 60,000 were drafted for the Lebanon war in 2006. YNet is reporting the Israeli Home Front Command is telling authorities in south and central Israel to prepare for 7 weeks of fighting.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a non-binding resolution expressing support for Israel’s “inherent right to act in self-defense.” The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that “the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in a statement praised ‘the leadership of Senators Gillibrand and Kirk, and the extraordinary show of support by the Senate for Israel’s struggle against terrorist attacks on its citizens.'” 

Mondoweiss has been closely following the escalation in the Gaza Strip. See these links for more of our coverage:

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