Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a statement to the foreign media in Tel Aviv on Nov. 15.
The long-running cross-border conflict escalated on Nov. 14, when Israel killed the military chief of Hamas, the Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Israel also launched strikes inside Gaza in response to Hamas firing rockets on its territory, particularly in the south, and Hamas stepped up its rocket attacks, which included firing on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Here is a list of key players in this conflict:
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces are Israel's military force, responsible for the airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. The IDF said it is targeting Hamas’ rocket launch sites and other weapons storage facilities. An Israeli airstrike on Nov. 14 killed Ahmed Jabari, the most senior commander of Hamas' military wing, the Ezzidine Al-Qassam Brigades.
On Nov. 16, the IDF said more than 16,000 reservists had been mobilized. On Nov. 16, Israel's cabinet authorized the mobilization of up to 75,000 reserve troops for the Gaza campaign.
Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu is an Israeli leader and the current prime minister of Israel. He is favored to win re-election in January. On Nov. 15, Netanyahu indicated plans for a "significant widening" of military strikes in Gaza.
Abir Sultan / EPA file
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak looks on during the opening of the Knesset plenum in Jerusalem, Israel, on Oct. 15.
Ehud Barak is Israel's minister of defense. Following Gaza's strikes aimed at Tel Aviv, Barak said on Nov. 15: "This escalation will exact a price that the other side will have to pay." On Nov. 16, Israeli officials said Barak will seek cabinet approval for funds that could provide Israel with three new Iron Dome rocket interceptors.
Hamas is the Islamist political party and militant group that has been governing the Gaza Strip separately from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority since 2007. It emerged as the Palestinian wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, and its stated goal is to "liberate" Palestinian territories from the Israeli occupation. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist. Hamas' military commander, Ahmed Jabari, was killed Nov. 14 in an Israeli airstrike.
Hamas Office via Reuters, file
Ahmed Jabari, top commander of Hamas' military.
Ahmed Jabari was a Hamas military leader. He was killed in a surgical airstrike on Nov. 14 as part of a larger Israeli offensive in Gaza. Jabari was the most senior commander of Hamas' military wing, the Ezzidine Al-Qassam Brigades. Jabari had survived numerous assassination attempts in the past and had served close to a decade in an Israeli jail, according to NBC's Ayman Mohyeldin. He was widely considered the second most important figure within Hamas' overall structure after Khaled Mishaal, the head of the organization’s political bureau. Jabari was instrumental in negotiations about the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Mohyeldin said. Jabari was rarely seen in public and even more seldom filmed, but he was seen accompanying Shalit to the border crossing with Egypt ahead of his handover.
Asmaa Waguih / Reuters, file
Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Kandil talks during an interview with Reuters in Cairo on Sept. 9.
Hesham Kandil is the prime minister of Egypt. Politically independent, he was appointed by President Mohamed Morsi on July 24 to Egypt's new Islamist government. On Nov. 16, Kandil visited the Gaza Strip to show support for Palestinians in the cross-border conflict with Israel.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi assumed office on June 30. A member of Hamas' parent movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi said on Nov. 16: "I say with all confidence Egypt will not leave Gaza on its own." The Islamist politician was elected this year after 2011 protests ousted military leader Hosni Mubarak.
Egyptian Presidency via Reuters
Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi at the presidential palace in Cairo on Nov. 14.
The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic movement founded in Egypt. The Brotherhood won the Egyptian elections this summer. One of its members, Mohamed Morsi, became Egypt's first president after the 2011 revolution, which was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood and led to the ouster of autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak. Hamas, the Islamist political party and militant group that has been governing the Gaza Strip, is a wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Reuters contributed to this report.