|Barnea quarter of the city of Ashkelon [Image Source]|
- 08:20 am: Reports that an armed drone penetrated Israeli airspace and was brought down by IDF fire in the Ashdod area. Developing drones calls for the sort of investment in technology and education that is entirely foreign to the jihadist thugs of Hamas. It's likely to be a gift from Hamas' funders, sponsors and masters in Iran. Times of Israel says the Israeli Navy is examining the remains of the drone now.
- 08:25 am: Hearing a series of Tzeva Adom sirens from Ashkelon and the area around it.
- 08:30 am: And now in Ashdod. And Ashkelon once more.
- 08:40 am: A house in Ashkelon took a hit in that lost volley of rockets. Property damage but people safe [Ynet]
- 08:50 am: The morning rockets keep coming. Times of Israel says the communities affected are "smaller villages on the Gaza periphery... (and) Ashkelon, Ashdod, Yad Mordechai, Zikim and throughout the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council." For most of our readers, these place-names will be less familiar than they are in our circles. But the general principle of what Hamas are doing ought to be clear to everyone: hit ordinary civilians, disrupt the lives being conducted by Israelis, and try to exact a price in blood such that the Islamist sense of honour is respected and, if such a thing were possible, satisfied. This is not war in the sense most of us have of that word. Confronting and fighting the other side's military plays a marginal role other, perhaps, than in the stirring songs played endlessly in the Islamist media. The reality of being a fighter in the service of Hamas is principally about evading the other side's soldiers, searching for vulnerable children and women, and hurting them any way you can. There are no red lines. But as endangered as our families are by the barbarism of Hamas, there's another population far more threatened by them: the Gazans, especially Gaza's children. We wonder how well those who support Hamas from the safe vantage point of the Western countries in which they live understand how this works.
- 10:30 am: Seeing online reports now that IDF has closed off access to area around Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, near border with Gaza. Declared "closed military area". UPDATE 12 noon: "The IDF is continuing to build up ground forces on the Gaza border, but no decision has been made by the cabinet — as far as Israeli media outlets know — to enter Gaza with significant ground forces." [Times of Israel]
- 10:40 am: From an Associated Press syndicated report published this morning: "...militants have fired more than 800 rockets at Israel at a rate that hasn't slowed down. [IDF] spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said the military estimated 20 percent of the rockets in Gaza have either been fired or destroyed by Israel. Besides diminishing Hamas' future capabilities, he said Israel's assaults were mostly aimed at convincing Hamas never to try it again. "When they come out of their bunkers and they look around, they are going to have to make a serious estimation of whether what they have done was worth it," he said. "And people will look in their eyes and say 'Why did you do this? What did you gain from this?'"
It's tempting to think Lerner is right, but it's hard to overlook the decades-long willingness of the Palestinian Arabs to allow their leaders to abuse and manipulate them. What chance this is about to change?
- 10:43 am: Again hearing now of Tzeva Adom sirens in Ashkelon area, and Be'er Tuvia which is much further away from Gaza.
- 10:50 am: Just now reviewing IDF summary of the measures it took overnight in Gaza and saw this: "Among the terror targets struck overnight, was an ammunition and weaponry storage facility, concealed within a mosque, in the central Gaza Strip."
- 10:55 am: And yet again, hearing of Tzeva Adom sirens now in Ashkelon area and surrounding region. Another tough day for the hundreds of thousands living there for whom ordinary daily life is on hold while the blood-lust of the absentee Hamas ruling clique runs its course.
- 11:25 am: Another round of Tzeva Adom alerts being sounded right now in and around the siuthern city of Ashkelon.
- 12:20 pm: If you are among the ranks of Israel's many friends who want to do something concrete that positively helps the people living under terrorist rocket-fire, can we make a suggestion? Keren Malki, the foundation we created in memory of the life of our daughter Malki, has a unique and effective program that sends highly-qualified therapists (physical, occupational and speech) into the homes of Israelis living in communities far from Israel's center. There, in those homes, they deliver vital para-medical therapy sessions to children challenged by often-severe special needs. Currently we send therapists to Be'er Sheva, Sderot, Ashkelon and other places that are in the cross-hairs of the Hamas terror-rocket campaign. In these difficult days, the professional team who run Keren Malki's operations are doing everything possible so that the special-needs children in those places don't miss out on therapies that are so vital to their well-being. To know more and to give support to Keren Malki's Zlata Hersch Memorial Therapists on Wheels Program, please visit here.
- 12:30 pm: A cluster of multiple Tzeva Adom warnings now in and around Ashdod and a swathe of communities (including Kiryat Malachi and Gan Yavne) in the center and south.