Tuesday, August 05, 2014

5-Aug-14: This morning's ceasefire and what came before

It's now mid afternoon on Tuesday, a hot and - at least in Jerusalem - unusually quiet day because, for those observing the Jewish calendar, it's Tisha B'Av, the ninth day of the month of Av, a day on which a series of calamities that fell on the Jewish people are remembered.

We were walking to synagogue in our Jerusalem community a few minutes before 8 this morning when several distinct and powerful explosions were heard some way off in the distance. We guessed that, with a 72-hour Egyptian-brokered ceasefire taking effect at 8:00, these were Gazan terror rockets being flung at anything Israeli. And perhaps, assuming they were on target for built-up areas, the sounds of Iron Dome anti-rocket missiles being shot into the sky.

What we know now is that a heavy barrage of rockets was fired from Gaza in the minutes just before 8.

The IDF's Tweet from shortly after the start of today's ceasefire [link]
And that a Palestinian Arab village south of Jerusalem took a hit, according to the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency which reported that a home in Beit Sahur, a predominantly Christian town was damaged. See the photos below:

The Beit Sahur house struck by a Gazan rocket this morning [Image Source: Ma'an]
Israel National News says this morning's rockets were fired at Ashdod, Ashkelon, Kiryat Malachi, Gan Yavneh, Maaleh Adumim and the Judea region plus communities in the area immediately bordering Gaza. Two rockets had been fired in the overnight hours, which is the smallest tally since the start of the Hamas rocket onslaught (well over 3,000 rockets fired at Israelis) a month ago.

One, a Hamas M-75, was evidently intercepted in flight and landed in the Gush Etzion area, just south of Jerusalem and adjoining Bethlehem. A friendly source sent us this snapshot this afternoon:

The ceasefire has evidently held so far. And as an additional indication of the slightly more relaxed atmosphere, Israel's Channel 2 TV (which can be viewed online here) has ended its widely-watched 29-day-long, round-the-clock coverage of the fighting to go back to its more traditional light-entertainment programming.

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