Saturday, November 10, 2012

10-Nov-12 [UPDATED]: Incoming missiles from Gaza seek civilian targets right across southern Israel tonight

The south is dramatically heating up tonight. In the past half-hour (it's now 9 pm Saturday night), Tzeva Adom warnings have been blaring out in the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gedera, Yavne, Kiryat Malachi and Beit Gamliel, as well as in the Sha'ar Hanegev (direct hit on a communal building), Eshkol, Lachish and Sdot Negev regions. There are unconfirmed reports of a car taking a direct hit. We have one report of the Iron Dome anti-missile system having successfully brought down one rocket - generally a sign that it was on a trajectory to hit a population center. Still too early to know what kind of damage has been done.

From several sources, principally Times of Israel, we have these reports:
  • Recall that on Thursday, Israeli forces found a large tunnel filled with explosives burrowed beneath the Gaza border fence, and briefly sent ground troops into Gaza. After the IDF disarmed charges found on the Gaza side of the border, explosives in the tunnel exploded causing some property damage, and injuring an IDF soldier.
  • This evening (Saturday), terrorist forces in Gaza fired an anti-tank missile that hit an IDF patrol jeep patrolling 200 meters inside the Israeli border with Gaza near the Karni border crossing. Four soldiers are injured, two in serious condition (one with shrapnel wounds to the head) and undergoing surgery at this hour at Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba and Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.
  • 'Credit' has been claimed [Ynet report] by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). But the IDF and Israeli media analysts are skeptical and believe the Islamic Jihad terrorist group is behind tonight's firing.
  • Soon after the anti-tank fire on the jeep, four rockets were fired from Gaza into southern Israel - no specific targets (as usual). Residents in the immediately affected areas have been ordered to stay within 15 seconds of protected spaces. 
  • Hamas, which controls Gaza, has published an announcement [BBC] saying all Israeli military targets (meaning civilian targets) are “legitimate” objects of attack. A Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, said today his group will retaliate against the “Zionist escalation... Our resistance to the occupation and the Zionist soldiers killing our people is legitimate as defense of our families... We will not allow Palestinian blood to be the price for electoral and political achievements in Israel.”
  • Islamic Jihad has announced tonight that it “will not give the Zionist enemy calm for free... The Resistance cannot sit idly by. Our message to the foe is that it will be bombardment for bombardment, blood for blood...” etc.
  • There is an IDF General Staff emergency meeting called for later tonight to discuss the Gazan escalation. According to Israel’s Channel 2 news, the chief of staff has ordered a “speeding up of preparations” for further conflict. 
  • Channel 2 also says tonight that "recent cross-border fire from Gaza had included highly accurate Katyusha rockets, capable of doing far more damage than previous rocket fire" [TOI].
Additional updates when we have them.

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