Sunday, August 21, 2011

21-Aug-11: There's a Gaza ceasefire. No there's not.

Iron Dome anti-missile battery near Ashkelon
(click to enlarge) [Source]
Associated Press, in a syndicated story published an hour ago, says authoritatively:
"Gaza militants agreed to a cease-fire with Israel to stop spiking violence, a Hamas official said Sunday, after a deadly attack on Israelis near the Egypt-Israel border set off a three-day round of Israeli airstrikes and rocket barrages from Gaza."
The ceasefire is said to have taken effect at 9 this evening, Israel time. It's now 10:20pm, and in the past hour (says YNet) the terrorist bombing of southern Israel has continued unabated. [For what it's worth, Haaretz says the Gazans meant 9:00pm according to their clocks. Unlike Israel, they do not have daylight saving time. We'll see.]

Four Gazan terrorist rocket launchings, all of them pointed at anything Israeli, have taken place since 9. Two were flung in the general direction of the hard-hit coastal city of Ashkelon, with one being intercepted and destroyed in midair by the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system. One landed in the Hof Ashkelon region. A fourth Qassam exploded in an open space in the Shaar Hanegev region around 10pm. In addition, three mortar shells were fired into the Eshkol region during the same hour, and at 10:15 pm the Color Red missile alarm was heard in the streets of Sderot (we still do not know the outcome).

Haaretz tonight is quoting Israeli sources who say Israel's low-key strikes on Gaza in the past 24 hours were "an intentional move aimed at allowing Egypt to mediate a cease-fire, as well as out of fear for the defense and diplomatic relationship with Egypt". We wonder how well the pregnant wife of Yossi Shushan who was killed Saturday night in one of the GRAD rocket attacks on Beer Sheba appreciates the strategy.

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