GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY
Smoke rises after an Israeli air strike in northern Gaza July 8, 2014. At least 16 people were killed in strikes across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, Palestinian officials said, as Israel threatened a lengthy offensive against Islamist militants whose rocket fire reached as far as Tel Aviv. REUTERS/Amir Cohen (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY) - RTR3XO7I Amir Cohen/Reuters
A delegation of Canadian MPs and senators was forced into a bomb shelter in Jerusalem late Tuesday after a series of long-range missiles were launched from Gaza at targets in Israel.
Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal MPs Yvonne Jones and Gerry Byrne are among the parliamentary delegation in Israel as guests of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. The other MPs are B.C. Conservative Bob Zimmer, B.C. New Democrat JasbirSandhu, and Manitoba Conservative Ted Falk.
Senators Daniel Lang and Salma Ataullahjan were also on the trip, according to CIJA.
In an email to CBC News, Jones said she was unable to do an interview but added it's evident tensions have heightened in the region in recent days.
"It seems the conflict is heated up a little more today but we are assured that we are safe," she wrote.
"Earlier this evening, while visiting the Museum of David, the sirens did sound indicating a bomb or missile, and we were lead by security officers to underground safety in what they indicated (was) a bomb shelter. We were there for only 10 to 15 minutes when we were told it was safe to exit."
Jones said the delegation returned to their hotel where they were given instructions on what to do over night if there was another incident.
"We have been assured by all around us that this area of Israel, and ourselves, are not under any threat and (we) should not worry about safety," she said. "We intend to carry on with our schedule at this stage, evaluating the tension on the ground here."
The rocket attacks and Israeli counterstrikes have intensified in recent weeks as tensions have soared over the killing of three Israeli teenagers and the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian teenager by three Jewish suspects.
The military said more than 120 rockets hit Israel over the past two days, a dramatic spike after nearly two years of relative quiet that followed a previous Israeli campaign to root out Gaza rocket launchers.
Israel responded with dozens of airstrikes throughout Gaza, targeting the homes of several Hamas operatives allegedly involved in rocket fire.
Jones said they've also been briefed on the recent incidents that have caused an escalation in the conflict.
"(This is) a beautiful, holy and sacred land that bears the bruises of historic turmoil," she wrote. "We have so much to be thankful for in Canada; peace of our people and civility of our neighbours being amongst the greatest."
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