On Wednesday, Israel launched an attack on Gaza in retaliation for Palestinian rocket strikes, leading to the death of the top military commander of Hamas. Israel has threatened to invade the area, although a truce has been negotiated by Egypt.

Retired ambassador Mark Johnson, director of the Montana World Affairs Council in Missoula, says the new eruption of violence could lead to an escalation that might involve other players in the Middle East.

Johnson says he does not believe the violence will affect oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, but whenever there is increased tension in the Middle East, the price of oil increases nonetheless.

Johnson says the next 24 to 48 hours are vital to whether or not war may break out in the area.

Mark Johnson Montana World Affairs Council.