Friday, 10 August 2018

Israel's attack on Gaza

"Step Back From The Brink" UN Warns As Major War Looms After Overnight Gaza Airstrikes

10 August, 2018

In the third serious flare-up of violence in the last month, a major escalation began between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza overnight, which involved approximately 180 projectiles fired towards Israeli territory, and more than 150 Israeli airstrikes on targets inside Gaza, according to statements by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Overnight strikes on Gaza. Image source: AFP/Getty 

A number of smaller scale and sporadic tit-for-tat incidents led to the start of the late Wednesday night massive exchange of rockets. These escalating incidents began Monday when an Israeli tank fired on a northern Gaza Hamas border post, killing two Hamas members. Israel claimed Hamas had fired on Israeli positions first, while a Hamas statement said the fighters had merely been involved in a military exercise and not an act of aggression against Israeli soldiers. 

Another Israeli tank attack followed on Wednesday in response to what the IDF described as shots fired at civilian workers constructing an underground barrier on the Israeli side of the border wall. After sunset, the first significant barrage of rocket and mortar fire was unleashed from Gaza on southern Israel, sending civilians in the town of Sderot and other close southern settlements running for shelters while alarms across the region sounded. 

Reports citing Israeli sources say of about 180 projectiles launched from Gaza overnight, the Iron Dome defense system intercepted over 30, while most hit open fields. However, official statements also noted strikes on playgrounds, houses, cars, and factories. 

IDF fighter jets targeted over 20 terror sites in military compounds and in a Hamas training camp. Among the sites targeted were a weapons manufacturing and storage facility, a complex used for the Hamas naval force and a military compound used for rocket-launching experiments,” the IDF said Thursday morning.

The BBC reports up to seven Israeli civilians wounded by the rocket and mortar fire, with Palestinian health officials confirming the death of a pregnant Palestinian woman and a toddler. The AFP identified the victims as 23-year old Enas Khammash and her 18-month-old daughter Bayan, killed in the Jafarawi area of central Gaza.

During the daylight hours early Thursday it appears that rockets and airstrikes have ceased, however, warning sirens have continued to sound in various Israeli communities across the south of the country.

An IDF statement said the overnight strikes successfully targeted "over 140 of Hamas' strategic military sites." 
BREAKING: Sirens sounded in the city of Be'er Sheva and the Lakhish Regional Council

At least one Hamas militant has been reported killed in the fighting, and this is likely not the end of this current round of violence. 

Indeed on Thursday a senior Israeli army official warned that a full-blown confrontation is coming in the Gaza Strip while further suggesting the government is prepared to begin evacuations of settlements along the coast and in southern Israel. 

We are rapidly nearing a confrontation,” the IDF senior officer said as cited by the Times of Israel. "Hamas is making serious mistakes, and we may have to make it clear after four years that this path doesn’t yield any results for it and isn’t worth it."

A separate Israeli military official said in an ominous sign of an escalating Israel-Gaza war to comeThe current round of violence “is definitely not over."
Meanwhile, a special United Nations envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, condemned the voilence, saying in a statement, “I am deeply alarmed by the recent escalation of violence between Gaza and Israel, and particularly by today’s multiple rockets fired towards communities in southern Israel.”

Mladenov urged all sides to step "back from the brink" and restore calm.

Israeli shelling in Gaza kills toddler and pregnant mother (video)

Al-Masdar News,
10 August, 2018

BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:45 P.M.) – Israeli shelling killed a pregnant woman and her 18-month-old daughter in the Jafarawi area of Gaza on Wednesday night, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

Blood stains on walls, destroyed belongings and holes from shelling were seen in the house where Enas Khammash, 23, and her daughter Bayan were killed.

Ibraheam Abu-Amra, who rented the house to the family, said that Enas’s husband was injured in the attack and is currently in the hospital.

Israeli side claimed it struck ‘Hamas terror sites’ in Gaza ‘in response’ to attacks launched at Israel from the strip.

Video credit: Ruptly

From the zionist press

Israel’s cabinet decides against a new Gaza campaign to halt Hamas rocket aggression

After 250 rockets from Gaza hit Israeli locations, one a heavy Grad, Israel’s security cabinet meeting Thursday, Aug. 9, directed the IDF to continue to pursue “powerful action against terrorist forces.” This was tantamount to a decision against a major Israeli military campaign against Hamas at this time, while instead carrying on with tit-for-tat air strikes as before, and leaving the targeted communities to their despair. Some 19 people were injured in the last two days. Hamas is therefore still allowed to call the shots, exactly as it has done in the last four months, while inflicting in Israel diverse brands of terror. It is still up to Hamas to decide whether to stop shooting rockets at Israel or continue the barrage ongoing for two days, as well as determining the level of its retaliation for Israeli reprisals.

Therefore, after an Israel air strike demolished the five-story Hamas internal security building in the Gaza City’s Rimal district – in return for the first Grad fired on Beersheba, a major city in southern Israel, in four years, Hamas is expected to ratchet up its rocket fire on Israeli civilian locations in the coming hours and days. Israel forewarned residents of the Rimal district of the bombardment. The building was therefore empty of Hamas officials, a repeat of the “knock on roof” tactic the Israeli Air Force used in the past to avert collateral civilian casualties in counter-terror attacks.

This practice is an element in the IDF-Hamas duel which has its own strange rules. In the heat of Wednesday’s rocket barrage, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkot stated that the IDF “is better prepared than it has been in the past decades.” Prepared for what? No answer was forthcoming from the cabinet the next day. In the general’s judgment, Hamas has still not broken those unwritten rules. He therefore persuaded the prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to hold back from approving a full-scale campaign to halt Hamas’ nagging violence once and for all.

Realizing that this stance will offend the popular will, in the sight of the suffering of the targeted population of southwestern Israel, both have not been seen or heard in public for some days. Meanwhile, they are hoping against hope that something may come of the long term truce mediation effort conducted by the UN emissary and Egypt, although realistic chances of this are practically nil.

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