Operation Pillar of Defense
Rafah Border Crossing, Israel (CNN) -- Strikes flew across the Gaza border in rapid succession Thursday, as Israel responded to an onslaught of militant rocket attacks by targeting "terror sites."
The sudden increase in violence has raised fears of a widening conflict that could lead to an Israeli ground assault.
At least 196 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel "since Operation Pillar of Defense began yesterday," the Israeli military said. In response, the Israel Defense Forces said, it has targeted "156 terror sites."
Sources with Hamas, which controls the government in Gaza, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad gave similar figures, saying more than 140 strikes have hit Gaza and that more than 160 rockets and shells have been fired into Israel.
At least three Israelis were killed and four were wounded when a rocket struck an apartment building in the town of Kiryat Malakhi on Thursday, an Israeli police spokesman said. Thirteen people, including two children, were reportedly killed in airstrikes in Gaza on Thursday, said Dr. Asraf el-Qdra of Medical Aid for Palestinians. Of the casualties, nine were Hamas militants, he said. More than 120 people have been wounded since the Israeli strikes began this week in Gaza, the officials said.
The violence comes after months of rocket attacks on southern Israel by Palestinian militants, Israel said.
The U.N. Security Council held an emergency closed-door session late Wednesday about the crisis.
International diplomats hope to stave off a repeat of Israel's widely condemned 2008 assault that saw its forces go into Gaza after a similar spate of rocket attacks by Palestinian militants.
I am terrified at the thought of how this could escalate. Our thoughts go out to Batya and her family during this time.
Here is a link that might be useful: CNN