Monday, January 13, 2014

13-Jan-14: Ahead of today's state funeral - rockets

Sharon's bier lay in state yesterday in the
Knesset plaza [Image Source: AFP]
Here in Jerusalem, though we're more than an hour's drive away from the site of today's state funeral for former prime minister Ariel Sharon, there's a broad level of awareness for more than one reason.

First, because the main highway connecting the nation's capital via the Judaean Hills to the coast is going to be closed for security reasons at various points. Secondly because part of the funeral events are going to be done here in the Knesset, Israel's parliament complex. And thirdly, because it's fairly plain that the terrorism-minded forces arrayed on our nation's borders are perceived as being interested in having their own impact on the day's events. This is not unconnected to the large number of foreign dignitaries making their way at this hour to Jerusalem, and the pre-burial activity at the Sharon farm close to Israel's border with Gaza where the funeral will take place.

It's now just after 8 in the morning, and we already have news - not entirely clear in the details - about two incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip [Hebrew here: they landed in open fields, no injuries] where Hamas has all the triggers under its forces' fingers. A Dan Williams report via Reuters says Israel has "beefed up security" ahead of today's events, and has
warned Palestinian rulers not to allow rocket fire during the ceremony, which U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will attend... An Israeli security source said Israel had "passed the message" to Gaza authorities to prevent any rocket fire during the funeral... "It was made clear to them that tomorrow would be a very bad day for anyone there to test Israel's patience," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. There was no immediate response from the Hamas government. [Reuters]
But it seems there has been a response. Williams himself tweeted a few minutes ago
More when we know it.

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