Here are the latest developments in the Gaza tensions:
- PALESTINIANS BREAK TRUCE: “The Israel Air Forces’ Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted a Grad-type rocket launched toward the southern city of Be’er Sheva on Wednesday, despite a truce reached between Israel and Gaza militants earlier this week, while a second projectile landed in an open field in the vicinity of the town of Ofakim,” reports Haaretz. “It was not the first time since the Egyt-mediated ceasefire that rockets were fired at Israel’s south, a Grad-type Katyusha rocket also hitting a residential area in the southern town of Netivot late Tuesday. One person was lightly wounded.”
- ISRAEL SEES ROCKET ATTACK AS “MINI-DRILL” OF COMING WAR WITH IRAN: “Israel has emerged from the past few days of fighting with Palestinians in Gaza more confident that its advanced missile shield and civil defenses can perform well in any war with Iran,” reports Reuters. “Describing how the flare-up in violence had provided an impromptu opportunity to test out Israel’s defenses, one Israeli official said on Tuesday it gave useful indicators for any potential conflict with Tehran: ‘In a sense, this was a mini-drill,’ the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.”
- NETANYAHU CANCELS TRIP TO EUROPE: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cancelled his planned visit to Paris and Madrid, which was on Wednesday, due to the ‘security situation in southern Israel,’ despite the renewed calm in the Gaza Strip,” the Israeli media is also reporting. “Attempts at coordinating the visits to France and Spain began after Netanyahu return to Israel from the AIPAC conference in Washington. Israeli embassies in Paris and Madrid were asked to inquire whether the Élysée Palace and Spain’s prime minister’s office would allow Netanyahu to visit on March 21 and 22….Israeli embassies began making initial contact and received positive responses. Both the French and the Spanish stated that Sarkozy and Rajoy were very interested in meeting Netanyahu.”
- TURKISH LEADER SAYS ISRAEL MUST STOP “MASSACRE” OF PALESTINIANS IN GAZA BUT DOESN’T DENOUNCE ROCKET ATTACKS: “Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan severely criticized Israel’s recent airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip, saying in a speech on Tuesday that the attacks represented a ‘massacre’ of the coastal enclave’s residents,” reports Haaretz.
- U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL REFUSES TO CONDEMN ROCKET ATTACKS AGAINST ISRAEL: See letter of protest the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. delivered to the Secretary General.
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