Hamas targets Jerusalem in major escalation
By IBRAHIM BARZAK and JOSEF FEDERMAN Associated Press
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinian militants took aim at Jerusalem for the first time Friday, launching a rocket attack on the holy city in a major escalation of hostilities as Israel pressed forward with a relentless campaign of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.
Israel called up thousands of reservists and massed troops along the border with Gaza, signaling a ground invasion of the densely populated seaside strip could be imminent. The attack on Jerusalem, along with an earlier strike on the metropolis of Tel Aviv, raised the likelihood that Israel would soon move in.
Israel launched its military campaign Wednesday after days of heavy rocket fire from Gaza by assassinating the military chief of the territory's ruling Hamas militant group. Since then it has carried out hundreds of airstrikes on weapons-storage facilities and underground rocket-launching sites.
Hamas, an Iranian-backed group committed to Israel's destruction, was badly bruised during its last full-fledged confrontation with Israel four years ago that ended with an informal truce, although rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes on militant operations continued sporadically.