|At the Highway 5 security checkpoint today: sappers take|
the suspect's car apart [Image Source: Ynet]
- There have been many rocket attacks on Israeli cities and towns today - more than we can track and recount here.
- 3:00 pm: Signs that a serious terrorism attack has been foiled: A short time ago, Ynet reported that two Palestinian Arabs driving on one of Israel's major central arteries, Highway 5, in possession of "a makeshift explosive device", were detained at a security checkpoint and arrested today (Thursday). The suspicion is that he was en route to conduct a terror attack against Israelis. They found a gas cylinder with electrical wires protruding from it in the vehicle. "Sappers were alerted to the scene and security forces closed down the checkpoint." Times of Israel adds that explosives were found in the vehicle.
- 4:50 pm: The IDF, quoted by Times of Israel, says "84 rockets slammed into Israel since midnight, and 12 were intercepted by the Iron Dome. Six others were fired from the Gaza Strip but did not reach Israeli soil." We call that last category Fell Shorts, and have learned over the years that they sometimes kill Gazan Palestinian Arabs but are never reported in the mainstream media. GANSO, the European-funded service oriented to the needs of foreign workers in the Gazan NGO industry, reports Fell Shorts quite frequently. But Operation Protective Edge underway, and in accordance with their fairly obvious anti-Israel sentiments and pro-Hamas-regime bias, they have stopped reporting them, at least for now.
- 5:45 pm: Tzeva Adom in Sha'ar Hanegev region, and a home is reported to have been hit [Ynet]. Times of Israel says the home took a direct hit and has a photograph of the damage.
- 6:00 pm: Tzeva Adom sirens just now have brought Jerusalem to a stop. One Twitter report says four incoming rockets, two of which were intercepted by Iron Dome. UPDATE: Lazar Berman's Times of Israel update says the two rockets that were brought down by Iron Dome were intercepted over the village of Abu Ghosh which stands astride the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway just a kilometer from the entrance to the capital.
- 6:25 pm: An Arabic website has a brief video clip [here] recording either a rocket or a post-intercept rocket fragment impacting and exploding in a village near Ramallah, which is just a few kilometers north of Jerusalem. More details soon.
- 6:30 pm: The Rotter,net site has an Arabic video clip [here] capturing the enthusiastic cheers of Arabs congregating outside the Damascus Gate (we know it as Sha'ar Shechem, in Hebrew) entrance to Jerusalem's Old City as the incoming rocket siren is being sounded across the city. For those of us building our families and our lives in this wonderful city, their joy is blood-chilling.
- 6:30 pm Update: Many more rocket attacks in the south during the past half hour.
- 6:55 pm Rocket alerts (multiple) in Ashkelon
- 7:15 pm: Yoni Alper's (Hebrew) Facebook site is reporting that in Gaza, they're selling their people the message that in Jerusalem there are now some 30 wounded resulting from the cluster of rockets that descended on the nation's capital city a little over an hour ago. Assuming this is a form of psychological warfare, we're neither confirming nor denying the accuracy of what they say in Gaza. But Alper's headline (translated from שקרים בע"מ) is "Lies Incorporated".
|Cameron Cardow cartoon from November 2012 [Image Source: The Cagle Post]|
- 7:55 pm: A barrage of Gazan rockets has rained over many of Israel's southern communities in the past half hour. Ynet's bulletin reports them crashing into Be'er Sheva just now, with several people treated for shock; at 7:53 pm Tzeva Adom in Yavne, Lod, Ramla, Ness Ziona; at 7:49 Tzeva Adom in Rishon Lezion, Holon, Bat Yam; at 7:45 pm Tzeva Adom in Eshkol region; at 7:42 pm, initial reports of four people injured following rocket fire on Be'er Sheva; at 7:39 pm, Tzeva Adom throughout southern Israel; at 7:36 pm, Tzeva Adom in Mitzpe Ramon and Yeruham, desert communities located far from Gaza. More details to come.
- 7:58 pm: According to Ynet, the Iron Dome system has just now intercepted six rockets in the air over central Israel's Gush Dan region, which is where Tel Aviv is.
- 8:00 pm: Ynet says a barrage of some 20 long-range rockets was fired into the Negev from Gaza in the past minutes. We're waiting now for updates on what is happening in those Negev communities.
- 8:05 pm: Again from Ynet: Hamas is boasting of having fired 10 powerful long-range Grad rockets at Be'er Sheva. No confirmation at this stage.
- 8:10 pm: Times of Israel, in a despatch time-stamped 7:47 pm, reports that "Sirens blare in the Dan region, including Bat Yam and Holon, and in the city of Rishon Lezion. The Iron Dome intercepts at least one rocket."
- 8:42 pm: A Channel 2 (Israel) TV news report just now, which is running in the background as we work, makes the point that the blunting of the Hamas long-range rocket attacks via the Iron Dome system makes it essential, in Hamas eyes, that they pull off a showcase terror attack directed at Israelis. (No one reading this blog needs us to speculate for them on the specifics of what is conveyed by that idea.)
- 8:45 pm: And while we're on the subject of massive terrorist actions, a reminder of what the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas, president of the "peace partner" Palestinian Authority, has been saying to the Arab world. This is from an AFP report yesterday:
Headline: "Abbas: Israel committing 'genocide' in Gaza". Here's the text: "Agence France Presse | RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas accused Wednesday Israel of committing "genocide" in Gaza during its military campaign which has so far killed 43 Palestinians. "It's genocide - the killing of entire families is genocide by Israel against our Palestinian people," he told a crisis meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. "What's happening now is a war against the Palestinian people as a whole and not against the (militant) factions. "We know that Israel is not defending itself, it is defending settlements, its main project," said Abbas."
- 8:56 pm: Channel 2, reporting from Ashdod, has just shown live video of what they estimated to be 9 incoming rockets, 7 of which are destroyed in mid-air by the Iron Dome system. It adds that a vehicle took a direct hit, and a person in the car is badly hurt (thankfully, that appears to have been refuted in the meantime). Times of Israel says there were no fewer than 20 rockets in the barrage just now, and 9 were stopped by Iron Dome. [Israel's Channel 2 can be accessed on-line via this link.]
|Tonight in Ashdod: impact site of one of the rockets [Image Source: Ynet]|
|Ashdod: A residence took a hit tonight [Image Source: Ynet]|
- 10:20 pm: In the midst of one of the most serious outbreaks of fighting in a generation, official Israeli channels presided yesterday (Wednesday) over the delivery into Gaza via overland crossing from Israel of 94 freight truck loads of a variety of vital goods along with 106 tons of gas [source]. These were delivered through the Kerem Shalom Crossing. Arrangements like these are a mostly-unpublicized daily matter, managed by COGAT on the Israeli side, and the Coordination and Liaison Administration on the Gaza side. What's COGAT? "The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit is subordinated to the Minister of Defense and is part of the General Staff. The unit carries out and implements civilian policy of the Government of Israel in the West Bank and vis-à-vis the Gaza Strip in coordination and conjunction with the Prime Minister's Office, other government ministries, the security forces and the IDF General Staff." Yesterday's delivery (including 1,200 tons of food, 290,000 litres of fuel) was smaller in scope than the average traffic into Gaza (as we noted in this post a while back: "4-Mar-13: Trucks filled with food and essential goods are lined up outside Gaza. Would it surprise you to know the role that money plays in this?" But on the whole, we think it's not so shabby given the way the rockets were whizzing by overhead and the general circumstances.
- 10:30 pm: Flights into and out of Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv are, says Ynet, "experiencing delays due to changing IAF directives on the closure of Israeli air space. "We call on the public to check for updates from their airline," the Israel Airport Authority said."