Israeli border police officers detain a Palestinian demonstrator during clashes after a protest against Israel's military operation in Gaza, Jerusalem's Old City.Credit:ReutersIsraeli ministers were yesterday asked to endorse the call-up of up to 75,000 reservists after Palestinian militants nearly hit Jerusalem with a rocket for the first time in decades and fired at Tel Aviv for a second day.
The rocket attacks were a challenge to Israel’s Gaza offensive and came just hours after Egypt’s prime minister, denouncing what he described as Israeli aggression, visited the enclave and said Cairo was prepared to mediate.
Israel’s armed forces announced that a highway leading to the Gaza Strip and two roads bordering the enclave would be off-limits to civilian traffic until further notice.
Tanks and self-propelled guns were seen near the border area yesterday, and the military said it had already called 16,000 reservists to active duty.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened senior cabinet ministers in Tel Aviv after the rockets struck to decide on widening the Gaza campaign. Political sources said ministers were asked to approve the mobilisation of up to 75,000 reservists, in what could be preparation for a possible ground operation. No decision was immediately announced and some commentators speculated in the Israeli media the move could be psychological warfare against Gaza’s Hamas rulers. A quota of 30,000 reservists had been set earlier. Israel began bombing Gaza on Wednesday with an attack that killed the Hamas military chief. It says its campaign is in response to Hamas missiles fired on its territory. Hamas stepped up rocket attacks in response. Israeli police said a rocket fired from Gaza landed in the Jerusalem area, outside the city, yesterday.