Israel drafts in more troops as violence builds

ISRAEL last night called in reserve troops after two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip targeted Tel Aviv amid escalating violence in the region.

The attack by Palestinian militants is the first on Israel’s commercial capital in over two decades, and defence minister Ehud Barak insisted they would pay a price for firing the missiles.

“This escalation will exact a price that the other side will have to pay,” he warned last night as he approved the call-up of 30,000 reserve troops.

Tel Aviv had until recently been thought to be out of missile range for Gaza’s militant groups, and yesterday’s rockets marked the first attempted attack on the region since the 1991 Gulf War.

Eighteen Palestinians have been killed in Israeli operations against militants in Gaza since Wednesday afternoon, when an Israeli air strike killed the military leader of Hamas, the militant group that controls the territory, in his car in Gaza City.

The Hamas Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, condemned what he called Israel’s “ferocious assault” against the territory.

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil will travel to Gaza today in a show of support for the people.