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Mideast Crisis Between Israel and Gaza Continues to Escalate

David Silverman/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- The back-and-forth aerial bombardment in the Mideast has taken a heavier toll on one side. 

The death toll in Gaza has now risen to at least 100 people, with approximately half said to be women and children.  Hundreds more have been severely wounded. 

No Israeli lives have been lost in the current crisis.

At least 150 rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel Thursday, and the Israeli military fired back with many more missiles.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said Thursday that the threat of an Israeli ground offensive is preventable only if Hamas stops firing rockets into Israel.

In a televised statement after a Cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “While the campaign has gone as planned, further stages yet await us.” He described what was to come as “tough” and “complex.”

“We have struck hard at Hamas and the terrorists, and as long as the campaign continues we will strike at them harder,” Netanyahu said.

President Obama spoke with Netanyahu on Thursday and reaffirmed the United States' condemnation of Hamas rocket fire into Israeli cities.

The White House said Obama expressed concern about further escalation of violence and told the Israeli leader the U.S. remained “prepared to facilitate a cessation of hostilities” between Israel and the Palestinians.

Obama also expressed condolences to the people of Israel for the deaths of three teenagers last month.

The current crisis erupted in the wake of the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teens and the killing of a Palestinian teen in apparent retaliation.

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