RJULY 9, 2014 Photo Mourners carried the bodies of a man who was a member of the Fatah movement and his six sons, all of whom were killed in an Israeli airstrike, during a funeral in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. Credit Thomas Coex/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Continue reading the main storyShare This Page EMAIL FACEBOOK TWITTER SAVE MORE JERUSALEM — The military and political confrontation between Hamas and Israel showed no signs of abating Wednesday, with Gaza militants launching more rockets into Israeli territory and the military responding with further airstrikes. The Health Ministry in Gaza said the death toll there stood at 53 since Saturday and 45 since Monday, the beginning of Israel’s intensified aerial assaults that its military is calling Operation Protective Edge. Eighteen children and nine women were among the dead, the Health Ministry in Gaza said. No Israelis have been reported killed. Continue reading the main story RELATED COVERAGE Israelis took cover on the central highway in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.Air Sirens Puncture Life in Affluent Tel Aviv SuburbsJULY 9, 2014 Gaza City after an Israeli attack on Tuesday. Warplanes struck 150 sites that Israeli officials said harbored Islamist fighters.Israel and Hamas Trade Attacks as Tension RisesJULY 8, 2014 video Video: ‘Cutting the Grass’ of Hamas’s MilitancyJULY 8, 2014 video Video: Cockpit Footage of Israeli AirstrikesJULY 9, 2014 At least five rockets were shot down over Tel Aviv early Wednesday, the Israeli Army said, after a barrage of longer-range rockets late Tuesday night hit near major cities like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, most of them falling harmlessly. One Syrian-made M-302 rocket hit near Hadera, about 70 miles from Gaza, according to an Israeli Army spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, who said that Palestinians in Gaza had “tens” more like it. Photo Sirens sounded in Ashdod, Israel. Credit Avi Roccah/European Pressphoto Agency In March, Israel intercepted a ship in the southern Red Sea, 1,000 miles from Israel, that contained a shipment of M-302s, which were said then to have a range of 100 miles. The Israelis asserted the weapons were bound for Gaza and attributed the shipment to Iran, a supporter of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a militant group that has also fired advanced rockets. Iran and the militants denied the Israeli assertions. The Israelis also said Wednesday that they had targeted a senior Islamic Jihad rocket commander, Abdullah Diyfallah, in an airstrike. Another airstrike, which hit a motorcycle in Beit Lahiya, killed Rafiq al-Kafarneh, 30, and seriously wounded another person, according to medics at Kamal Adwan Hospital. At least 29 Palestinians have died since the airstrikes began late Monday night, including, according to some reports, eight children under the age of 16. Israel said it hit about 160 targets overnight, including what it called 118 concealed rocket-launching sites, weapons storage facilities, 10 tunnels, six official Hamas facilities and 10 Hamas military command positions. Since Operation Protective Edge began, the army said, it has gone after about 440 targets. Israel is also calling up reservists to replace those on duty in the West Bank, to free them for a possible ground invasion of Gaza. The government has authorized the military to call up as many as 40,000 reservists. In Gaza on Wednesday, the mood among residents was grim. “The situation is very difficult,” said Abu Tamer Ajour, speaking on a quiet, nearly deserted Fehmi Bik street in Gaza City. “This aggression came at a very bad time, with no salaries, zero economy, no crossings” into Egypt, he said. “But victory will be for the Gaza people and our resistance.” He said that “Gaza cannot endure more escalation, but this is a battle that was imposed on us,” arguing that Israel “always strikes in Gaza and then says we respond to the rockets, but they strike us with and without rockets.” Another resident, Riad Fawzi, pointed to an empty market, with shops closed on Fehmi Bik street, which is normally bustling during the current Ramadan holiday. “The situation is very bad,” he said, “but I don’t expect the conflict will last for long.” He said that “the Jews are not interested in more escalation,” because “we are used to this thing, but they can’t endure the same way we endure.” Continue reading the main story Locations hit or targeted since Sunday by … Tel Aviv Rishon Letzion Palestinian rockets Israeli airstrikes Gedera Jerusalem Ashod Mediterranean Sea ISRAEL Beit Lahiya Beit Hanoun Sderot Gaza City WEST BANK GAZA Netivot Khan Yunis Rafah Beersheba 10 MILES The New York Times Sources: Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Israeli Defense Forces Like many ordinary Gazans, he said he hoped the current fighting would end in an agreement to bring peace and quiet, which would allow better living conditions. “Without a peace deal it will be useless; things will get worse again after a year or two,” he said. “We want a lifting of the siege and a truce and peace with them so our children and we can live.” The show of military strength on both sides illustrated the fragile state of Israeli-Palestinian relations, starting with the collapse of American-sponsored peace talks, the attempts by rival Palestinian factions to form a unity government, the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers and the subsequent kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager. Continue reading the main story RECENT COMMENTS XY 11 minutes ago As I get older, the less I believe what anyone says on any side in this conflict. All the major players are insane, liars or delusional,… Christian Haesemeyer 11 minutes ago I read until “and the [Israeli] military responding” and went back to reading my copy of Pravda for some objective reporting. Mike Halpern 11 minutes ago “Seth from Israel: “One of the more unpleasant responses here is that Israel’s attacks on Hamas produces inappropriate civilian deaths…. SEE ALL COMMENTS WRITE A COMMENT Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his subordinates have emphasized that their goal was to restore quiet to southern Israel, where rockets fired from Gaza had been increasing. But Mr. Netanyahu’s government was also under pressure to conduct a more extensive operation, including ground troops, to destroy a military infrastructure in Gaza rebuilt since Israel’s last campaign there, in 2012. For its part, Hamas is under pressure from more radical groups in Gaza to show that it could stand up to Israel. An antagonistic military-backed government in Egypt has moved to seal the border with Gaza, sharply reducing Hamas’s tax receipts, and the group also has little to show for its coalition with Fatah, a rival faction that dominates the Palestinian Authority. Now, Hamas appears to have fallen back on its main principle of armed resistance to Israel. This latest confrontation has roots in the kidnapping and murder last month of the three Israeli teenagers by men in the West Bank who Israel alleges belong to Hamas. That was followed by the kidnapping and murder of the Palestinian teenager, Muhammad Abu Khdeir, reportedly by members of an anti-Arab group of supporters of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team known as La Familia. Micky Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, and a lawyer for two of the suspects said Tuesday that they did not know if that was true and that the investigation was continuing. The kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teenagers led to a crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, which in turn appeared to push Hamas to respond from Gaza, which it controls. Palestinian anger over the Israeli airstrikes on Gaza carried over on Wednesday to the United Nations, where the ambassador from the Palestinian Authority, Riyad Mansour, told reporters at a news conference that he had been demanding an emergency meeting of the Security Council to address what he called “this collective punishment taking place against our people.” CONTINUE READING THE MAIN STORY 686 COMMENTS He accused Israel of deliberately bombing Gaza as part of its attempt to fracture the reconciliation government backed by Hamas. Israel has rejected that government and demanded that the Palestinian Authority renounce ties with Hamas, which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. Ron Prosor, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, sought to rebut Mr. Mansour’s accusations in a separate news conference, asserting that Israel was acting purely in self-defense. Mr. Prosor said the Israeli forces had sought to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza, and he accused Hamas operatives of instructing civilians to remain in areas targeted for Israeli bombings. “No country would accept the threats that Israel faces,” Mr. Prosor said. Fares Akram contributed reporting from Gaza, and Rick Gladstone from New York. NEXT IN MIDDLE EAST

RJULY 9, 2014 Photo Mourners carried the bodies of a man who was a member…