Mideast on verge of escalation
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.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.