U.S. Evacuates 120 Military Personnel From Israel As Violence Escalates


The United States has evacuated 120 military personnel from Israel as fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians continues to escalate. The Pentagon said the personnel were in Israel to discuss future training exercises between the United States and the Israeli Defense Force.

"This particular planning conference was already scheduled to wrap up this week, but we did accelerate the departures of these individuals in full coordination with our Israeli counterparts," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

The personnel are now in Germany. Kirby did not provide details about the joint exercises.

The violence picked up last week over the potential eviction of Palestinians who live in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The fighting has left at least 119 Palestinians, including 31 children, and eight Israelis, including one child dead. At least 830 Palestinians and hundreds of Israelis have been injured by rocket attacks.

Israel sent ground troops to the border with Gaza early Friday morning, as they launched over 160 strikes aimed at destroying a vast network of tunnels that are used by Hamas. There were initial reports that ground troops entered the Gaza Strip, but the IDF said the decision to send the troops across the border has not been made.

"They attacked us on our holiday, they attacked our capital, they sent missiles to our city, they pay a heavy price for it," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. "It's not over yet. We will do everything to restore security to our city and our citizens."

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