Friday, July 11, 2014

11-Jul-14: Friday afternoon and a war rages on

Running for shelter in Ashdod yesterday as another rocket's arrival
is announced via the Tzeva Adom siren [Image Source]
It's a hot Friday afternoon, and terrorist rockets are penetrating almost all parts of Israel.
  • 2:00 pm: The Iron Dome missile defense system [source] intercepted three Gazan missiles in the skies over Ashdod and Gan Yavne in the past half hour. Residents of these south-of-Tel Aviv suburbs are having a hellish day as rocket barrages race towards them from concealed launchers embedded inside Gazan schools, mosques and homes.
  • 3:45 pm: What's behind the Hamas escalation, and why now? In an analytical piece ["Israel Under Attack"] for Weekly Standard, Lee Smith writes:
    If Hamas is pacing its missile fire, it means they’re in it for the long haul. If they’re crossing red lines by firing missiles at Dimona as well as Ben Gurion airport, it means they’re going all out. The question is why. Some analysts point to likely Iranian involvement— indeed use of the long-range M-302, not previously in the arsenal of Hamas, underscores that suggestion. It’s true that Hamas’s relations with Iran have been somewhat cooler since they fell out over the Syrian civil war (Hamas sided with their Sunni co-religionists; Tehran has thrown its full weight behind the Assad regime)... If Iran is not in fact driving the campaign, then Hamas may be putting on a demonstration for Tehran of how helpful it can be to the Islamic Republic. With Hezbollah tied down in Syria fighting alongside Assad, Hamas is more useful to Iran than ever—especially since Hamas is now in possession of long-range missiles capable of striking anywhere inside Israel, making it another tool of Iranian deterrence should the Israelis consider striking Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities.
  • 3:50 pm: Israel National News reports that Tzeva Adom sirens were heard in Be'er Sheva around 3:30 this (Friday) afternoon, as well as in the Merhavim region, Omer, the Bnei Shimon region, Ofakim, and Tel ShevaA Gazan rocket crashed to earth soon afterwards in an open area near Be'er Sheva.
  • 4:40 pm: As the Sabbath approaches, the city administration in Ashdod has announced a ruling:  Prayers in synagogues that lack a bomb shelter should not take place and the buildings should be shut. Ashdod Mayor Yechiel Lasri says, according to Times of Israel quoting a Haredi newspaper: “Shabbat prayers must not be held in synagogues where there is no protection... anyone who wants to pray should choose a synagogue that has [a bomb shelter].”
  • 4:45 pm: We Tweeted this earlier today:
  • 5:06 pm: Another rocket barrage on Ashkelon city and nearby area and Sha'ar Hanegev region at this moment [Ynet]. A few minutes earlier, Tzeva Adom in Sdot Negev and Sha'ar Hanegev
  • 5:20 pm: Ynet reports that the IDF has fired smoke shells at empty areas of southern Gaza
  • 6:00 pm: Again, a heavy wave of rockets across parts of Israel's south in the last few minutes
  • 6:02 pm: Elhanan Miller in Times of Israel has an intriguing report: "Hamas has requested that citizens not share photos of rockets launched from residential areas in downtown Gaza lest Israel strike those areas. The ministry’s social media department published a video in Arabic Thursday containing guidelines for “cautious and effective” social media engagement on Facebook and Twitter during Operation Protective Edge. The ministry calls on residents to be wary of repeating Israeli “rumors,” and of adopting “the occupation’s narrative.” “Always doubt it and dispel it,” the video advises. “Beware of posting photos of missiles launched from the center of town directed at Israel. This is used as a pretext to strike residential areas in the Gaza Strip,” it continues.
  • 6:50 pm: In the skies above Rishon Leziyon, Israel's shopping hub, two Hamas rockets are brought down by the great work of the Iron Dome crews and their machines [Ynet]. Channel 2 News is showing a rocket that landed on one of Rishon's streets just a few minutes ago. 

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