Despite Calls for ‘Maximum Restraint,’ Fighting Intensifies in Gaza

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Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza City on November 14.

Following an air strike that killed Hamas military leader Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabar on Wednesday, on Thursday Hamas fired dozens of rockets into southern Israel, and the nation launched more air strikes into the Gaza Strip, saying it was targeting 100 terror sites. The fighting in Gaza is the most intense it's been since the three-week war there in the winter of 2008 to 2009, raising fears that the fighting could escalate into a larger conflict in the Middle East. On Wednesday night the United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting, which India's Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, the council president this month, said was meant to "help de-escalate the situation and impress upon the parties to exercise maximum restraint." However, after the 90-minute closed door session, no resolution had been reached. Meanwhile, Israeli police say three people died when a Palestinian rocket hit an apartment building in Kiryat Malachi on Thursday morning, and thirteen people have died in the Israeli air strikes.

The odd live tweeting from the official account of the Israel Defense Forces continued, with messages featuring YouTube videos of the assaults, links to blog posts explaining its efforts to avoid civilians, and even a memelike description of the latest casualties.

In addition to the air strikes, the Israeli Defense Forces are threatening to launch a ground invasion of Gaza. The fighting has already strained relations with Egypt, which recalled its ambassador from Israel, and the situation could lead Egypt to review its peace treaty with Israel. On Wednesday night President Obama spoke with Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a statement the White House reiterated its support for Israel, saying the president urged Netanyahu to avoid civilian casualties, and "the two agreed that Hamas needs to stop its attacks on Israel to allow the situation to de-escalate."