Air raid sirens blared in Tel Aviv Thursday as Palestinian terrorists expanded the range of their rockets fired at civilian Israeli communities. One rocket landed near the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion.
Meanwhile, three Israelis were killed while fleeing to cover from Hamas rockets in southern Israel's Kiryat Malachi, and many more injured, as the conflict between the Jewish state and the Palestinian terrorist organization heats up. Hamas has launched over 250 rockets into Israel since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, while the Israelis carried out more than 200 surgical strikes on bombers and Gaza's terror infrastructure.
"There is no moral symmetry between Israel and the terrorists in Gaza... Hamas deliberately targets children and they deliberately place their rockets next to their children," said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling Hamas' actions a "double war crime." Israel Defense Forces posted pictures showing how rocket launchers are in place close to mosques and playgrounds.
Among those killed by Palestinian rocket fire was a pregnant rabbi's wife. Her children were wounded in the attack and her husband remains in critical condition.
The conflict shows no signs of slowing down.
Hamas rejected a call for a truce, claiming that it was "an attempt to provide more cover for the continuation of the escalation on Gaza." The Tel Aviv air raid warnings mark the deepest missile penetrations into Israel from Gaza. The Knesset also issued an "order nine" – an emergency call-up of reservists.
Despite widespread sympathy for the Palestinians in the Arab world, street and even government reactions in the region were rather muted. The governments of Iran, Syria, and Lebanon, all of which have extensive links to anti-Israel terrorist organizations, attacked the Jewish state while praising Gaza. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi condemned Israel for "unacceptable aggression" and causing "instability" in the region, and withdrew the Egyptian ambassador from the country.
Officials in the United States, Germany and England stood by Israel, acknowledging its right to respond to incessant rocket fire toward its civilian communities. "There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel …," a State Department statement said. "Hamas claims to have the best interests of the Palestinian people at heart, yet it continues to engage in violence that is counterproductive to the Palestinian cause. Attacking Israel on a near daily basis does nothing to help Palestinians in Gaza or to move the Palestinian people any closer to achieving self determination."