Hamas militants launched more rockets toward Tel Aviv and other cities amid Israel's continuing air and naval bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Friday. Egypt's Prime Minister also paid a brief visit to Gaza City and its Shifa hospital to express solidarity with the Palestinians.
Israel is amassing troops and tanks on the Gaza border in anticipation of a possible ground offensive. Israeli officials are not saying it is imminent but also stressing the option remains on the table.
Yesterday on the program, we talked with Israel's ambassador to the United States. And today, we'll hear from a leader of Hamas, Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad. I asked him why Hamas had launched a rocket attack on Jerusalem, which is after all one of Islam's holiest cities.
GHAZI HAMAD: Look, now there is open war now that Israel targeting on regions and all cities in Gaza. So maybe the equation is that if Gaza is not there, Tel Aviv will not be safe and Jerusalem will not be safe.
Thousands of demonstrators went back onto the streets of Amman and other Jordanian cities on Friday. The protests were sparked by fuel price hikes, but some are now calling for the downfall of King Abdullah, a key U.S. ally in the region.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified on Capitol Hill on Friday. In his first appearance since he resigned from the CIA over an extramarital affair, Petraeus, briefed members of Congress on the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The secret session focused, according to members of Congress, on how the attack began and whether the Obama administration mischaracterized events.
Palestinian militants fire a rocket from the northern Gaza Strip toward southern Israel on Thursday. For the past decade, Palestinians in Gaza have been shooting short-range rockets into southern Israel. But Palestinians fired a much longer range rocket that landed just outside Jerusalem on Friday, a move seen as a major escalation.
Credit Ilia Yefimovich / Getty Images
Israel's anti-rocket system, known as Iron Dome, is shown in action on Thursday, Nov. 15, near Beer Sheva, in southern Israel. The system is designed to shoot down incoming rockets launched by Palestinians in the nearby Gaza Strip.
Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:26 am
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip have fired thousands of rockets into southern Israel over the past decade. Yet the one that landed harmlessly in an empty field south of Jerusalem on Friday could be as significant as all of the rockets that came before.
With that lone launch, the Palestinians demonstrated for the first time that they now have the capability to send a weapon the roughly 50 miles from the Gaza border north to Jerusalem.
Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:26 am
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, the Barbershop guys are going to weigh in on the news of the week. We're particularly interested in the guys' perspective on the relationship scandal that forced the resignation of the CIA director, General David Petraeus.
Even though there were talks of a ceasefire to coincide with the visit of the Egyptian prime minister to Gaza, today, the fighting has instead escalated.
Avital Leibovich, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces confirmed that for the first time, rockets fired from Gaza hit an area outside Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, who leads the West Bank, said that the "escalation is at its peak," both in Gaza and out of Gaza.
Israel's neighbor Jordan had largely avoided the unrest sparked by the Arab Spring until now. Jordan's king has outlasted protests that have been much smaller than in other nations, but a government move to raise fuel prices sparked fresh protests and even calls for King Abdullah to step down. A protester who died in a clash with police has become a symbol of protesters' fury. NPR's Leila Fadel has the story.
Originally published on Sun November 18, 2012 7:25 am
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
As Israel and Hamas continue launching attacks, residents of the Israeli city of Tel Aviv and communities to its south remain on alert for missile strikes. Sheera Frenkel reports that many fear the current round of violence is nowhere close to being over.
People hold pictures of Savita Halappanavar during a vigil outside Belfast City Hall, Northern Ireland, on Thursday. Halappanavar died Oct. 28 in Galway, Ireland, just days after she was denied an abortion.
Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 4:07 pm
The death of an Indian woman is prompting Ireland to examine the conditions under which abortions can be permitted in the country.
Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old dentist, died last month after she began to miscarry her 17-week-old fetus. Doctors denied her an abortion, a procedure that is illegal in the predominantly Catholic country, because the fetus had a heartbeat. The story gained traction this week after Halappanavar's husband took her body back to India for cremation and went public with the events that led to her death.
We're going to follow those Palestinian rockets that Anthony was talking about from Gaza into the fields, streets and homes of Israel. Israeli police have confirmed that rockets hit central Israel today, close to Tel Aviv, for the first time. Sheera Frenkel reports from one southern city where three civilians were killed today in their apartment.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
I'm Melissa Block. And we begin this hour with new fighting in an old conflict. Israeli war planes struck targets across the Gaza Strip today, while Hamas militants and their allies fired rockets at several Israeli towns. One rocket landed on the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv. Three Israeli civilians were killed in one attack and at least 19 Palestinians are known to have been killed in Gaza, with many more injured.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish. Three congressional hearings, two of them closed to the public, focused today on the September 11th attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed in those attacks, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. As NPR's David Welna reports, the only open hearing today on Benghazi turned into a political slugfest.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Violence in Syria continues to escalate. Every day thousands of refugee flee into Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, but for the first time in months, there's an opportunity to form a government in exile that could open room for diplomacy.
Wang Heying, 64, supports the new Communist leaders, even if she can barely name them. She says government policies have led street lamps, bigger houses and a TV in every home.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Villagers in Dongjiangai, in eastern China's Jiangsu province, watch the presentation of the Communist Party's new leadership on national TV Thursday. They say they support the new leaders because of the improvements government policies have brought to their village.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Dongjianggai, a farming village, lies about 200 miles northwest of Shanghai.
An elderly couple is winnowing rice in the front yard of their home in the tiny village of Dongjianggai, about 200 miles northwest of Shanghai. They've just watched China's incoming leaders — including Xi Jinping, the new general secretary of the Communist Party — appear for the first time on national TV.
"We don't know them," the husband, Wu Beiling, says. "Xi Jinping was just unveiled. I'm not very familiar with the rest of the members."
Moaz al-Khatib, a Muslim cleric, is the leader of the newly formed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition. The opposition is working to build support inside Syria through Facebook and other social media.
An Israeli soldier lies on the ground as missiles are fired from an Iron Dome anti-missile station on Thursday near the city of Beer Sheva, Israel. The Iron Dome was activated to intercept incoming rockets launched from Gaza.
Credit Mahmud Hams / AFP/Getty Images
Palestinians inspect a destroyed building in an area targeted by an Israeli air strike in Gaza City earlier today.
Anthony Kuhn talks with Linda Wertheimer on 'Morning Editon'
Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. Firing Continues:
"Intensive fire" has continued through the day across the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip, correspondent Linda Gradstein, who is in Jerusalem, tells our Newscast Desk.
Hamas has now fired more than 130 rockets toward southern Israel and the Israeli military continues to fire at targets in Gaza. Palestinian officials report at least 13 deaths on their side of the border. The death toll in Israel remains at three.
White House spokesman Jay Carney today told reporters that:
This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Early today, Israel resumed its attacks on Gaza. The Israeli action is in response to rocket strikes by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
WERTHEIMER: Yesterday, the top military commander of Hamas was killed in an airstrike by Israel's defense forces. This is the heaviest fighting in the Palestinian territory, in years. Joining us now, from Gaza City, is NPR's Anthony Kuhn. Good morning, Anthony.
Ryan Crocker was formerly a U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, as well as Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. He worries diplomats will be pressured to avoid risks, and retreat from doing their jobs. He spoke with Steve Inskeep before a large audience of diplomats and others at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C.
Though new Chinese leader Xi Jinping "didn't once mention Marxism or Mao Zedong" today as he stepped into his new role, the make-up of the "gang of seven" that he now heads "will disappoint those hoping for sweeping reform," NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing.
Anti-austerity protests in Italy were coordinated with those in other southern European countries. Italian demonstrators reveal growing anger at Prime Minister Mario Monti, who was hailed as the man who could lead Italy out of its crisis just a year ago.
Anti-austerity demonstrations took place across southern Europe today, from Portugal to Greece. Large crowds voiced anger over budget cuts imposed by their governments or by multinational financial institutions. This is the first time that austerity protests have been coordinated across European borders.