Supervising News Editor Lateef Mungin -- 404-827-1401
Gaza-Israel-Strike (will update)
For six days, Israel has carried out a large-scale air offensive on targets in Gaza -- aiming to halt destructive and sometimes deadly rocket launches from that Palestinian territory. Monday saw more carnage, more heated words, and more damage on both sides, as well as Israel's continued preparations to invade Gaza and an intense diplomatic effort to prevent further bloodshed.
The intelligence community -- not the White House, State Department or Justice Department -- was responsible for the substantive changes made to the talking points distributed for government officials who spoke publicly about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, the spokesman for the director of national intelligence said Monday.
PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED STORIES
For six days, Israel has carried out a large-scale air offensive in Gaza, aiming to halt destructive and sometimes deadly rocket launches emanating from the Palestinian territory. Monday saw more carnage, more heated words and more damage on both sides. And there was also more movement toward a possible intensification of the conflict as Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, said Israel had completed its planning for a ground invasion of Gaza.
On Monday, the team of grave diggers at Shaikh Radwan Cemetery prepared 15 graves, their busiest morning yet. And they're preparing for more. One of the slots was for 5-year-old Yusif Al-Dalou. He and eight members of his family were killed Sunday in an Israeli airstrike on their home. Their bodies were carried through the street to the sound of gunfire under Hamas banners to the cemetery.
It's become a daily routine for Israelis living near Gaza: a casual conversation interrupted by an air-raid siren, then a furious rush to find cover, and finally -- if all goes well -- a flash in the sky indicating an incoming rocket has been intercepted. While Israelis are protected by the relatively new Iron Dome missile interceptor system, it hasn't abated the fear that one of the dozens of rockets fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza into Israel in recent days will strike nearby.
In the digital age, war isn't contained to the ground. The Israeli government on Sunday said it has been hit with more than 44 million cyberattacks since it began aerial strikes on Gaza last week. Anonymous, the hacker collective, claimed responsibility for taking down some sites and leaking passwords because of what it calls Israel's "barbaric, brutal and despicable treatment" of Palestinians.
Israel and Hamas: How the conflict reignited
The situation in Gaza is prompting telephone diplomacy in the Obama administration. From Southeast Asia, on his first international trip since his re-election, President Obama has talked several times by telephone with two of the central players: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, traveling with the president, has been even busier.
United States, Israeli and Egyptian officials have long suspected that Iran is using Sudan to smuggle weapons and equipment to Hamas, using a circuitous route by air into Khartoum or by ship into Port Sudan. Then the weapons start a long road trip through eastern Sudan, across the Egyptian border and up through the Sinai Peninsula to Gaza.
Thousands of Israeli troops with tanks and armored vehicles are poised on Gaza's borders ready to move in if Israel believes there is no chance for a cease-fire in its conflict with Hamas. But Israel, which continued to press its air offensive against Gaza militants for a sixth day on Monday, is said to be well aware that a ground invasion would carry broad risks.