Thursday, December 07, 2017

07-Dec-17: Gazan rockets fired at southern Israel this evening may have crashed into Gaza

The whipping up of furies among Palestinian Arabs and those who stand with them continues apace in the wake of the decision by the White House to finally take formal notice of Jerusalem being the capital city of Israel these past seventy years.

It's still early evening and the reports are somewhat contradictory. Israel National News says this about the rocket attack that happened around 6:15 this evening (Thursday):
Two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Israel Thursday evening. Warning sirens [Tzeva Adom] were sounded in the Shaar Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon (Ashkelon Coast) regional councils in the western Negev Thursday evening. Shortly after the sirens were sounded, an IDF spokesperson reported that two rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. Both of the rockets landed in open spaces. There are have been no reports of injuries or of damage. The rocket fire comes after the Hamas terror organization which rules the Gaza Strip warned that the “gates of hell” would be opened in the region following President Trump’s announcement Wednesday that the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
But other sources, including the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and this Australian source quoting the IDF say the two rockets fell short - meaning they crashed ob the Gaza side of the border. This happens frequently and the injuries to Gazan Arabs along with the property damage are often hushed up. We will adjust this report once we know for sure.

Reuters says of Gaza that
dozens of protesters gathered near the border fence with Israel and threw rocks at soldiers on the other side. Seven protesters were wounded by live fire, one was in a critical condition, the [Hamas-controlled] health ministry said... Member of armed groups including from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah faction, appeared at a news conference in Gaza, their faces hidden by masks and called for a resumption of armed resistance in the West Bank.
Xinhua, reporting from Gaza, said around 7:15 pm that not two but six Gazan rockets were fired at Israel in the previous hour. It also focused on the public statements of the Islamists:
The Islamic Hamas movement called on Thursday for a Palestinian "popular uprising" against U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital... "Tomorrow [Friday] will be a day of public anger and the launching of an uprising under the name of Intifada of Jerusalem Freedom," said Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh during a public speech. He reaffirmed that Friday would be "the beginning of a new movement" to fight Israel's plan of occupation of West Bank and Jerusalem. "Trump will regret this decision," said Haniyeh... Describing Trump's recognition as "a turning point in the history of the Palestinian cause," the Hamas leader stressed that Jerusalem "has always been the source of victory, the beginning of revolutions and the starting point of uprisings."
Most people with whom we talk here think we're likely to experience less calm in the hours and days ahead.

UPDATE Saturday night, December 9, 2017: Times of Israel reported late last night (Friday) that "the Tawhid al-Jihad group claimed responsibility for the attack on social media. The small, radical group is affiliated with al-Qaeda." The Wikipedia entry for the the group claiming to have fired the rockets says
Jahafil Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad fi Filastin (Arabic: جحافل التوحيد والجهاد في فلسطين‎, "The Armies of Monotheism and Jihad in Palestine") is a Sunni Islamist Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip and the Sinai peninsula, and is the branch of al-Qaeda in Gaza. The establishment of the group was publicly announced on 6 November 2008, with communiqués vowing loyalty to al-Qaeda, after having "received the messages of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri." Various forms of the "Tawhid al-Jihad" label have appeared in relation to developments in the Gaza Strip. The size of the group is not publicly known.
A group of the same name claimed to be behind the kidnapping and murder in 2011 of Vittorio Arrigoni, a high-profile foe of Israel described in various sources as a pacifist supporter of the Palestinian cause, a member of the Palestinian-aligned International Solidarity Movement, and a blogger reporting from the Gaza Strip. He had been living there after sailing in on one of the flotillas to Gaza in 2008. The terrorist regime of Hamas blamed his murder on Israel, unsurprisingly. Some time later, it became evident that this same offshoot of Al Qaeda - or a group using the same name - were actually responsible. We wrote about the tragic affair in three past posts: "14-Apr-11: Gazan jihadists grab Italian journalist, threaten to murder him in name of glorious revolution"; "15-Apr-11: For the record, Hamas is blaming Israel for the murder of the Italian hostage" and "20-Feb-13: Following up a 2011 Gaza murder".

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