Hamas Fires Rockets At Tel Aviv; Israel Continues Strikes On Gaza
KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
We're going to turn now to NPR's Emily Harrison in Gaza. And Emily, what did you hear at 9 p.m.?
EMILY HARRIS: Well, at first I should say I can't hear everything that goes on the Gaza Strip. I'm in Gaza City in the middle of the strip. But a little after 9 p.m., I actually heard the whoosh of outgoing rockets. And I was texting with Daniel in Tel Aviv at the time and I told him we'd both seen that threat that he mentioned posted on the Alakazam website. And he texted back the sirens were going off and then shortly after that, I heard a series of booms here that were apparently Israeli attacks. And this is a good reminder that Tel Aviv is only 50 miles or so away from the Gaza Strip. And Hamas and Israel are neighbors, essentially - albeit neighbors that largely communicate through attacks.
MCEVERS: And what targets did Israel hit in Gaza today with those airstrikes?
HARRIS: Well, tonight after these 9 p.m. rockets, Israel says it hit the rocket launcher that was used to fire the rockets in that attack. It's not clear at this point what else might have been hit. But the attacks continued beyond that time period. Earlier today, Israel says it hit a mosque in Gaza, where weapons were stored, according to the military. Also the Israeli military says it hit four militants that were involved in rocket attacks. According to the Palestinians, two nephews of the former Hamas prime minister in Gaza were among the people killed today. Also a facility for handicapped people, here in Gaza, was reportedly hits and two young women there were killed. The Israeli military says they're looking into that incident.
MCEVERS: Is there any sense that there are cease-fire efforts going on?
HARRIS: A little bit. It's good beginning to sound like there are some efforts. It's not clear if or when they would really blossom. And what each side might need to feel it's accomplished, before they could sign off on a cease-fire agreement. As Daniel mentioned, European and U.S. diplomats are expressing serious concern. Egypt has been a key broker between Hamas and Israel in the past. But there's a different government there now than the one that was more sympathetic to Hamas and brokered a cease-fire after the 2012 conflict between Israel and Hamas. The Egyptian president, el-Sisi's office put out a statement today saying that Egypt is in close contact with both Israelis and Palestinians to quote "halt the violence and military operations that stem from stubbornness and intransigence."
MCEVERS: And we're seeing reports that Israel is now warning people to evacuate from northern Gaza. What does that mean?
HARRIS: Well, among Palestinians who've received those warnings, there's a fear that that means that a ground invasion is imminent. The Israeli military tells NPR that it doesn't mean that a ground invasion is necessarily coming, but that the military believes there is a concentration of Hamas operatives in that area. And they intend to step up attacks.
MCEVERS: That's NPR's Emily Harris on the line from Gaza City. Emily, thanks so much.
HARRIS: Thanks Kelly.
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