Thursday, November 15, 2012

15-Nov-12: Rishon Lezion was rocketed this afternoon. Now it's Tel Aviv's turn.

Image Source: Haaretz  
At about 6:30 this evening (Thursday), air raid sirens wailed all over the Tel Aviv area for the first time since the Gulf War of 1991. Initial television coverage included no small measure of skepticism that the warnings were backed by something factual and actual. But in the last few minutes it has become clear that indeed a long-range Gazan Palestinian Arab rocket, probably from the Fajr family, crashed to ground on one of the Tel Aviv area's beaches.

Haaretz reports (at 6:45 pm) that it struck in the Holon area. Holon is a municipality in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Other sources say "Tel Aviv area" without further detail, and some are saying whatever was fired did not end up on the land i.e. it/they probably fell into the sea. Everyone seems to agree there are no injuries or damage.

Without overstating anything, an attack on Israel's central metropolitan area - even without casualties or damage - changes significant aspects of Israel's security calculations. Commentators here are saying in the past few minutes that a ground operation directed at Gaza seems more likely than an hour ago.

Rishon Lezion was struck - actual explosions - by two rockets at about 4:45 this afternoon. Rishon is only 12 km south of Tel Aviv. No casualties were reported.

As we write this, just before 7:00 pm, there is yet another wave of rockets in the skies over Be'er Sheva, and over most of the communities in the south - a great swathe of them. This surge of attacks appears to be based on short and medium range rockets (Qassams, GRADs) in the Gaza arsenal, and not the longer-range Fajrs.

More than 200 Gazan rockets have been fired into Israel so far today. Channel 10 news says 105 of them were intercepted in mid-air via the Iron Dome anti-missile system.


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