|Taking cover in a busy Tel Aviv shopping mall yesterday while rockets crash nearby [Image Source]|
- 08:00 am: An unwelcome sign of more trouble - a rocket fired from the Lebanon side of Israel's northern border in the past hour. It did not come with a return address, so there is speculation at this hour over who is taking the trouble and risk. The version that makes the most sense to us at this stage is that it's not a Hezbollah undertaking but rather Lebanese affiliates of the Hamas-Fatah axis. (In Lebanon, the reports say there were three rickets. One evidently Fell Short on the Lebanese side.)
- 08:05 am: We're still looking at overnight reports. What's clear is that in the widely-separated major Israeli cities of Haifa and Be'er Sheva, incoming rockets featured prominently in the middle-of-the-night thoughts of hundreds of thousands of Israeli families as well as on the minds of hundreds of terror-addicted Gazan Palestinian Arabs
- 08:35 am: A major barrage in the past half hour with multiple rockets fired and Tzeva Adom sirens heard in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gan Yavne, Nes Ziona, Netivot, Kiryat Malachi, Shaar Hanegev, and Hof Ashkelon (Times of Israel). A gas station in Ashdod took a direct hit. "There is one person seriously injured in the rocket strike on the gas station in Ashdod, say rescue personnel. Firefighters, police, and ambulances are at the site, where thick black smoke is rising out of the fuel tank that was hit." Trouble. UPDATE 10:15 am Now appears no fewer than 8 people injured, one in critical condition.
- 08:45am: 9 rockets were fired at Ashdod the latest barrage, and Hamas claims credit (Ynet).
- 09:20 am: Status report from Times of Israel: Hamas had launched 200 rockets from Gaza in the 24 hours prior to the press briefing a little earlier today. That means about 550 indiscriminate rocket firings since the formal start of Operation Protective Edge on Monday. "Hamas has launched barrages especially during morning and evening rush hours, making it more difficult for Israeli civilians to make it to shelter."
- 09:25am: We tweeted a short time ago that if can imagine certain red lines beyond which the terrorist thugs of Hamas would never go, you have surely failed to comprehend how a war waged by terrorists works.
- 10:00 am: We just Tweeted this... When propagandist D. Butto says on CNN that civilians must be "in the center of this", take it seriously. Hamas does .
Beyond watching a CNN presenter demolish the credibility of a guest, this is worth viewing just for the experience of seeing how a slick apologist for the jihadist thugs and their incomprehensibly vast arsenal of rockets manages to charge ahead with counter-factual claims, assuming (and life has taught Butto that it's a safe assumption) that the interviewer is likely to be utterly ignorant of the facts. Fortunately this one happens to be non-ignorant, and Butto's manner is - well, the right word for her is the one she keeps using: reprehensible. Very worth the 6 mins. that it will take. Keep in mind this woman was for years one of arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat's advisers at the Palestine Liberation Organization. From personal experience, her skill at grabbing and throwing any self-serving statement within reach, irrespective of it being true or a total willy, has not declined over the past decade.
- 10:12 am: Hof Ashkelon hearing Tzeva Adom at this moment.
- 10:45 am: Another rocket barrage underway right now - sirens blaring right across Greater Tel Aviv: Tzeva Adom sirens reported in Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Kfar Chabad, Palmahim, Rishon Letzion, Holon, Bnei Brak, Givatayim, Ramat Gan, Bat Yam and at Ben Gurion Airport. Reports of explosions. More when we can update.
- 11:00 am: Via the modern miracle of the life-saving Iron Dome system, reports of three Gazan long-range rickets and their explosive payloads being blasted out of the sky over Tel Aviv. Given the scale of potential devastation had they continued on their trajectory, "Thank Heavens" is the appropriate response.
- 11:30 am: From under the steady hail of more rockets every few minutes, we lift our heads to see what the nations of the world are able to share with us, based on their accumulated wisdom and expertise. And behold, it's now the turn of one of our closest, most important neighbours. As quoted by Times of Israel, and direct from the blood-soaked streets of Cairo, some fresh guidance from Egypt whose Foreign Ministry says it "rejects the irresponsible Israeli escalation in the occupied Palestinian territory, which comes in the form of excessive and unnecessary use of military force leading to the death of innocent civilians... This represents a continuation of the oppressive policies of mass punishment.” We are searching now to see if they have offered any comparable advice to the leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, currently cowering in bunkers deep beneath Gaza's hospitals and mosques. When we find it, we will share here. Meanwhile we're still puzzling over their criticism of "unnecessary" force and wondering at what point - after 500 rockets?, after 5 million rockets? - force stops being unnecessary and begins to be necessary.