Middle East Violence Sparks Protests in LA

The conflict between Israel and Hamas militants continues in Gaza.

By Kim Baldonado and Bill French
|  Thursday, Nov 15, 2012  |  Updated 11:53 PM PDT
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The Israeli Consulate in West Los Angeles became the local hub for protest in the latest Mideast conflict. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Nov. 15, 2012

Kim Baldonado and Sean Browning

The Israeli Consulate in West Los Angeles became the local hub for protest in the latest Mideast conflict. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Nov. 15, 2012

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Middle East Violence Sparks Protests in LA

Crowds gathered outside the Israeli Consulate in West LA Thursday, protesting the Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip. Protesters were loud and passionate, yet peaceful. Whit Johnson reports from West LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on November 15, 2012.
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As the worst violence in recent years continued to rage between Israel and Palestine, demonstrators sympathetic to both sides of the conflict gathered Thursday night near the Israeli Consulate on Wilshire Boulevard.

Protestors sympathetic to Palestinians in Gaza chanted, "Free, free Palestine."

"The Palestinians are retaliating by sending rockets," said Tawfieq Mousa. "They're defending themselves like Israel is defending themselves."

But across the street, demonstrators sympathetic to Israel's security from Hamas rocket attacks had a different view.

"We gave them the whole of Gaza and all it did was bring their rockets closer and the last few weeks and months we've seen what that has brought.," said Moshe Parry.

The two sides along Wilshire Boulevard were kept apart by the Los Angeles Police Department. Overseas, there were no such barriers, and by late Thursday, the conflict was still intense, NBC News reports.

Palestinians fired more than 250 rockets toward Israel on Thursday, including attacks that hit Tel Aviv, where warning sirens could be heard. Israel's anti-rocket system destroyed most of the rockets, but three Israeli civilians were killed.

Israel launched at least 200 air attacks against Palestinian targets, mainly stockpiles of rockets, but there were at least 19 civilian casualties, including at least one infant.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not rule out a ground assault.

"Israel will do whatever is necessary to defend itself," he said Thursday.

Israeli troops were seen moving toward the Gaza border area and the government approved mobilizing up to 30,000 reservists for a possible ground invasion.

If there were any diplomatic efforts to stop the escalating violence, they were not readily apparent late Thursday.

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