Minnesotans weigh in on Middle East conflict - New York News

Minnesotans weigh in on Middle East conflict

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For the third day in a row, Israelis ran for cover from rockets fired by Palestinian militants in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

More than 150 attacks were launched, and for the first time in the current conflict, air raid sirens were heard in Jerusalem, where two rockets reportedly landed in two empty fields.

"This is an organized, systematic terror campaign to terrorize the entire population," David Siegel, the consul general of Israel, based in the U.S. "Right now we have almost 5 million Israelis in bomb shelters."

Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza reached at least 24, as Israel continued air strikes targeting rocket launching sites and Hamas militants.

On the ground, Israel has already mobilized some 16,000 troops.

Although there was talk of a brief cease-fire during a visit to Gaza on Friday by the Egyptian president, the violence continued with each side blaming the other for not honoring the truce.

Egypt, meanwhile, left no doubt who it supports in the conflict.

"I say to Israel, Egypt is completely different from Egypt of yesterday, we will never leave Gaza on its own," said Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi.

A world away in St. Paul, a couple dozen peace activists rallied for an immediate end to what they called "Israel's aggression in Gaza."

"The Palestinians in Gaza are fed up with people killing them," said Maher Rai, a Palestinian American living in Minnesota. "Putting them in cages, in prison, They are fighting for their freedom. It's a self-defense idea."

But local Jewish leaders insist it's Israel who is defending itself from indiscriminate shelling my militants in Gaza.

"You can look at Hamas as the part of death," said Steve Hunegs, who is with the Jewish Community Relations Council. "Here are people who fire from mosques, from hospitals and school at cities in Israel where Muslims, Christians and Jews live."

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