JERUSALEM — The Israeli military rushed additional forces to its southern border with the Gaza Strip on Thursday, vowing to halt a growing wave of rocket fire from the Palestinian territory, while new clashes erupted in east Jerusalem in response to the death of an Arab boy who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli extremists.
Israel said the show of force on the Gaza border was a defense measure. But persistent rocket fire raised the prospects of a tough Israeli response, with the military saying more than 40 rockets or mortar shells were fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza on Thursday.
Tensions have been high since three Israeli teenagers were abducted in the West Bank on June 12.
The situation deteriorated further on Wednesday after the burned body of a Palestinian youth was found in a forest after he was seized near his home in east Jerusalem. The Palestinians accused Israeli extremists of killing the teen.
Following an especially intense barrage of rocket fire, artillery and ground forces were sent to the border area early Thursday, defense officials said.