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More Than 180 Projectiles Fired From Gaza Into Israel, As Specter Of War Grows

More than 180 projectiles were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel overnight, injuring nearly twenty people including a woman who remains in critical condition. Sirens began blaring across Israeli communities at around 21:00 local time, with rocket barrages continuing into Thursday morning. In response, the Israel Defense Forces struck over 100 Hamas military targets in Gaza, and reportedly deployed additional Iron Dome anti-missile batteries in case the terror group further raises the stakes by launching longer-range rockets towards central cities such as Tel Aviv. The major flare-up comes as a United Nations- and Egyptian-mediated diplomatic push to forge a long-term Israel-Hamas ceasefire appears to have hit a stumbling block. To this end, Hamas issued a statement last night explaining that, “We are delivering on our promise. The resistance accepted the responsibility to even the playing field with the enemy and it is succeeding in doing so.” Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and other senior military officials at the army’s Tel Aviv headquarters following the initial rocket barrage. The question is whether the latest violence constitutes the “storm before the calm,” a final show of “resistance” by Gaza’s rulers before they agree to a truce with the “enemy;” or if the exchange marks the starting point of the fourth war between the two sides in the past decade.