Friday, December 09, 2011

Israel Air Force Strike ends Lull in Violence

Why oh why does Israel choose to re-start a chapter of violence with Gaza after a time of calm? I mean why? What is the point of targeted killings that engender so much hatred and achieve so little? This is the view of recent events as distributed today by the Conservative Friends of Israel (not the most neutral source but the story tells itself). These words are unedited as they come from the Friends of Israel:
  • The recent lull in violence along the Israel-Gaza border ended this week with at least 13 rockets being launched into southern Israel and a series of Israel Air Force strikes against militants in Gaza in a 24 hour period.
  • Rocket fire intensified after an Israeli air strike on a car in Gaza City, killing two militants, including a Palestinian reportedly planning a terrorist attack on the Egypt border.
  • The IDF strike was a targeted hit on a militant in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade who was reportedly plotting to commit terror attacks against Israeli citizens and security forces along the Israel-Egypt border.
  • The militant killed in the strike, Ismail Batash, was described as a senior operative in Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and was also a member of the “Army of Believers” an al-Qaeda affiliate based in the Gaza Strip.
  • According to the IDF Spokesman, Batash had plotted a number of attacks, including a 2007 attack in which a suicide bomber crossed from Sinai into Eilat and blew himself up in a bakery, killing three Israelis.
  • The strike, which was the first Israeli strike inside Gaza City since the three-week Gaza war in 2008-2009, followed an order by Israel's Education Ministry forbidding any school trips to take place around the southern Israeli city of Eilat, after receiving warnings against a possible terror attack on the Israel-Egypt border.
  • Palestinian gunmen responded to the strike with a barrage of rockets fired deep into southern Israel.
  • A Grad-type rocket exploded in an open field near the southern city of Be'er Sheva, with another Qassam landing in an open field in the Sdot Negev Regional Council; no injuries or damages were reported in either incident.
  • Rocket fire continued with projectiles landing in the western Negev, Eshkol Regional Council, and two additional rockets landing just south of Ashkelon, a major Israeli civilian centre.
  • An additional rocket barrage began early Friday evening when 5 rockets exploded in southern Israel, including one shot down by the Iron Dome missile defence system.
  • In response to the escalating rocket fire, an Israeli air strike hit a Hamas training camp in Gaza City on Friday, killing one civilian and wounding 13 others, mostly women and children.
  • The IDF has said that it regretted any harm to uninvolved civilians, which it said was caused by the presence of explosives and weapons at the targeted sites, including rockets.
  • The airstrikes, the IDF Spokesman said in a statement, were accurate and direct hits on terror targets were recorded.
  • The statement also strongly criticised Hamas’ continuing exploitation of civilians: “[Hamas] chooses to operate in the heart of civilian population centres and uses human shields”.
  • Earlier in the week, the IAF launched an airstrike against a group of militants along the Gaza border, killing one and wounding two others, after a gun battle broke out when Israeli forces neared a buffer zone along the border.
  • The IDF often patrols the border to search for explosives or clear out areas potentially used by militants to stage attacks.
  • The Israeli aircraft targeted two militant squads that were preparing to fire rockets into southern Israel.
  • Islamic Jihad, which has launched a series of such attacks against Israel in recent months, has since claimed that the militants involved were all members.
  • Early last month, Israel and Islamic Jihad engaged in several days of fighting in which some 10 militants and an Israeli civilian were killed.

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