TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Mideast on verge of escalation

Daily Photo Galleries

By McClatchy Newspapers
Thursday, July 3, 2014, 8:30 p.m.
 

JERUSALEM — Israel faced the prospect of escalation on two fronts on Thursday as the repercussions of the kidnapping and slaying of three Israeli teens in the West Bank threatened to ignite a broader conflagration.

Israeli forces were bolstered around the Gaza Strip to confront rocket volleys from the territory. In East Jerusalem, Palestinian street protests triggered by the apparent revenge killing of an Arab youth flared anew.

The military buildup around Gaza occurred after three weeks of simmering cross-border tensions stoked by the abduction and killing of the Jewish teenagers.

An Israeli crackdown in the West Bank on the militant Islamist group Hamas, which Israel blamed for the kidnapping and slayings of the three Jewish teenagers, has been accompanied by a stepped-up cycle of rocket salvos and Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

While Hamas and Israel have signaled they do not seek an escalation, commentators warned that the situation could spin out of control.

The reinforcement of infantry, armor and artillery units near the Gaza Strip was defensive and did not signal an imminent military campaign, said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman.

“We are not going on some sort of offensive,” Lerner said. “We are trying to send a message to Hamas: Take control and stop the launching of rockets at Israel.”

Most of the rocket firing has been attributed to radical factions defying Hamas, which controls the coastal enclave and has sought to rein in the attacks.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Coal corruption scandal saps enthusiasm for eastern Ukraine rebels
  2. Smasher yields 1st look at new particles
  3. 3 Americans, Briton killed in Jerusalem synagogue attack
  4. Job unlikely to be easy for new U.S. ambassador to Russia
  5. Kerry in overdrive to secure nuke pact
  6. Homes of Palestinians linked to attacks targeted by Israel
  7. United Arab Emirates brands Muslim Brotherhood terrorists
  8. Moscow on slippery slope with Ukraine fighting, Merkel warns
  9. Egypt making slow progress on genital mutilation
  10. Russia, Ukraine trade buildup allegations
  11. Should Westerners who joined ISIS be barred from return?
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.