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HisDaughter
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« Reply #165 on: December 21, 2008, 01:21:19 AM »

....so it started already.  What... were they watching the clock with their fingers on the buttons?
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« Reply #166 on: December 21, 2008, 12:48:11 PM »

Gaza Militants Launch More Rockets Into Israel
Sunday, December 21, 2008

JERUSALEM  —  Barrages of rockets fired from Gaza hit Israeli towns Sunday and the Israeli air force responded with a missile strike as violence surged after the expiration of a shaky truce.

One rocket struck a house in the town of Sderot, but no injuries were reported. The blast scattered rubble and furniture inside the house.

"Everyone is traumatized," the house's owner, Maya Aviar, told AP Television News.

A worker at a farming community near Gaza was lightly wounded by shrapnel in a separate rocket strike, the Israeli military said.

Another rocket landed in an industrial zone in Ashkelon, a city of about 120,000 people 10 miles north of Gaza.

Ashkelon is the biggest population center in range of the rockets from Gaza, and Israel has responded harshly to past attacks on the coastal city.

The Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad took responsibility for Sunday's rocket fire.

An Israeli aircraft fired a missile at a rocket launcher that had been primed and was ready to fire in northern Gaza, the Israeli military said. Militants typically prepare rockets for launch and then fire them from cover a safe distance away. There were no reports of casualties in the strike.

On Saturday, militants fired more than 30 rockets and mortar shells into Israel, and the Israeli air force killed one militant who was launching rockets.

Israel has said it wants to preserve the truce and will not take military action if the militants hold their fire, but has threatened to carry out a broad military operation in Gaza if the barrages persist.

"The scenarios are clear, the plans are clear, the determination is clear, and so are the ramifications of each of the steps. A responsible government is not happy to go to war, but does not evade it," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said at his Cabinet's weekly meeting.

The Israeli government has come under heavy pressure to react to the rocket fire. In the past, large operations have not succeeded in stopping the rockets.

Israel has also largely kept the crossings into Gaza closed in response to the rocket fire, a move that has caused shortages of fuel and basic goods in the territory of 1.4 million Palestinians.

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« Reply #167 on: December 24, 2008, 01:15:09 PM »

Hamas rocket arsenal doubles to 10,000
December 22, 2008

TEL AVIV — The Israeli intelligence community has determined that the Hamas regime accumulated about 10,000 missiles and rockets.

Officials said Hamas has doubled its missile, mortar and rocket arsenal from about 5,000 to up to 10,000 since June 2008. They said the Islamic regime used the ceasefire with Israel to smuggle and produce thousands of projectiles and other weapons.

"Hamas can do to us today what Hizbullah did in the second Lebanon war," an official said, "fire hundreds of rockets and missiles throughout southern Israel."

The intelligence community has determined that Hamas has extended the range of its missiles to between 30 and 40 kilometers. Officials said this would enable Hamas to strike virtually every major city in southern Israel, including Beersheba.

Hamas rocket arsenal doubles to 10,000
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« Reply #168 on: December 25, 2008, 10:40:23 PM »

Militants Barrage Israel With Mortars, Rockets

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

JERUSALEM —
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip bombarded southern Israel with mortars and rockets on Wednesday, burdening diplomatic efforts to revive a truce that expired over the weekend.

A civilian man who works for a conflict resolution center was badly wounded in an explosion at a house in Gaza City. Two other civilians were lightly hurt when a rocket failed to clear the border and landed on a house in the northern town of Beit Lahiya, Gaza health officials said. Separately, two militants were killed when an explosive they were preparing went off prematurely.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, said the bombardment came in retaliation for the deaths of three of its fighters in a clash with Israeli troops late Tuesday. Israel said the militants were planting explosives in northern Gaza along the border fence.

The Israeli military said nine mortars and at least 13 rockets were fired at southern Israel early Wednesday. No injuries were reported. But near Gaza City, an explosion tore through a two-story apartment building, badly wounding Iyad Dremly, an attorney who works for the Palestinian Center for Conflict Resolution. Militants were firing rockets and mortars from the area, but the military said it did not carry out any attacks on Gaza, suggesting the blast was caused by misfired explosives.

Gazans living in border areas criticized militants for operating within residential areas, but would not agree to be quoted for fear of reprisal.

Before the violence resumed, Israel had agreed to crack open cargo crossings with Gaza on Wednesday to allow in a limited amount of food, medicines and fuel, including supplies from Egypt. But military spokesman Peter Lerner said the passages would remain closed in light of the militant barrages.

Israel has maintained a strict blockade of Gaza since the cease-fire began unraveling six weeks ago, allowing in only small quantities of essential goods. Egypt has similarly sealed its border crossing with the territory.

The sanctions have deepened the destitution in Gaza, home to 1.4 million Palestinians who are confined to the tiny coastal strip. Gazans have worked around the choking off of supplies by bringing in goods through tunnels dug under the Gaza-Egypt border.

So far the number of rockets and retaliatory Israeli airstrikes has not approached the pre-truce level, feeding hopes that the cease-fire can be resumed. Both sides have expressed willingness to consider reviving it.

Egypt, which mediated the expired truce, is leading the diplomatic efforts to renew it. On Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is to meet with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.

Alongside talk of restoring the truce, Israel is preparing for an escalation of violence.

Israeli leaders have approved a large-scale military operation to stop the rocket fire, but are reluctant to press ahead with a campaign sure to exact heavy casualties on both sides. Past incursions have not halted the barrages, and defense and political officials fear anything short of a reoccupation of Gaza would fail to achieve the desired results.

Israel left Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation.

Militants Barrage Israel With Mortars, Rockets
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« Reply #169 on: December 25, 2008, 10:42:12 PM »

Hamas mocks Israel's nonresponse to Kassams
Dec. 25, 2008
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST

Hamas on Wednesday remained as defiant as ever and said it would continue to fire rockets at Israel as an act of "self-defense."

Hamas also mocked what it described as the "state of confusion" in Israel over how to react to the latest spree of rocket and mortar attacks.


The movement also claimed that the Egyptians had given Israel a "green light" to launch a limited military operation in the Gaza Strip to overthrow the Hamas government.

"Israel will pay a heavy price for its crimes against the Palestinians," said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum. "Israel's actions enhance our determination to pursue the path of resistance through all means available."

Barhoum said that Hamas has placed all its security forces and militias on high alert to thwart an IDF invasion of the Gaza Strip.

The armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam, said it would not be deterred by Israel's threats of a military operation. The group also threatened to expand the range of its rockets and missiles so that they would reach more Israeli communities.

"We won't succumb to the logic of threats made by the Zionist war criminals," the group said in a leaflet. "Today we are prepared more than ever to foil any aggression against our people."

The Hamas wing also warned that if Israel carried out its threats it would face a "volcano of fury that would turn the Zionists' tears into blood."

Boasting that it had fired dozens of rockets and mortars at Israeli towns in the past few days, the group pointed out that Israel was "hopeless and desperate" because it doesn't know what to do to stop the attacks.

"The enemy is in a state of confusion and doesn't know what to do," the leaflet read. "Their fragile cabinet has met in a desperate attempt to stop the rockets while thousands of settlers have found refuge in shelters which, by God's will, will become their permanent homes."

Hamas legislator and spokesman Mushir al-Masri said Wednesday's rocket attacks on Ashkelon and nearby communities were a warning message to Israel as to what awaits it when and if it decides to enter the Gaza Strip.

He too threatened that Israel would pay a "heavy price" if it launched an attack.

"Israel's threats don't scare us," he said. "We're not afraid of assassinations and invasions and we are prepared to sacrifice our leaders."

Al-Masri held Israel responsible for the collapse of the cease-fire by refusing to reopen the border crossings into the Gaza Strip and pursuing its policy of targeting Palestinian gunmen in the West Bank.

In another development, a top Hamas official in Gaza City told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday that the Egyptians have given Israel a "green light" to target Hamas figures and installations.

The official claimed that Egyptian Intelligence Chief Gen. Omar Suleiman told Defense Ministry envoy Amos Gilad last week that Cairo would not oppose a "limited operation" that would lead to the downfall of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

The allegation by the Hamas official followed a report in the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, in which Suleiman was quoted as saying that the time has come to "teach the Hamas leaders a good lesson."

Citing "informed" Palestinian sources, the report added that Suleiman made it clear to Gilad that Egypt was not opposed to a limited operation that would bring down the Hamas regime.

The report said that Suleiman was furious with Hamas because of the movement's last-minute decision to boycott a "national reconciliation" conference he was planning to convene in Cairo in early November.

According to the newspaper, Suleiman referred to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal as the head of a "gang" and said told Gilad that Cairo would like to see the movement's leaders punished.

"The Hamas leaders have become very arrogant," the report quoted the Egyptian official as saying. "It's time to teach these leaders a lesson so that they would wake up from their dreams."

Hamas mocks Israel's nonresponse to Kassams
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« Reply #170 on: December 25, 2008, 10:45:19 PM »


Hamas on Wednesday remained as defiant as ever and said it would continue to fire rockets at Israel as an act of "self-defense."

Hamas also mocked what it described as the "state of confusion" in Israel over how to react to the latest spree of rocket and mortar attacks.



It always amazes me that they say it is self defense, while they are attacking Israel. I think the gloves are ready to come off. Israel will only take so much pushing, before they strikes back.
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« Reply #171 on: December 25, 2008, 10:46:40 PM »

IDF gets green light to strike Hamas after rocket barrage
Dec. 24, 2008
YAAKOV KATZ and HERB KEINON , THE JERUSALEM POST

The IDF received the green light Wednesday for a series of operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, after more than 60 mortar shells and Katyusha and Kassam rockets pounded the Negev.

The barrage hit communities throughout the South, reaching as far north as Ashkelon and as far south as Kerem Shalom. At least two Grad-model Katyusha rockets were fired into Ashkelon on Wednesday, and a Kassam with extended range hit Netivot.

No one was wounded, even though terrorists hit close to educational facilities and homes; however, nearly 60 people, almost half of them children or teenagers, were treated for emotional trauma and anxiety.

"It was a Hanukka miracle," Magen David Adom spokesman Yerucham Mandola said.

A factory, a home and other structures were damaged.

Due to the recent escalation and out of concern that during an IDF operation in Gaza, Hamas would further escalate its rocket attacks, the IDF Home Front Command decided Wednesday to connect all towns within 30 km. of the Gaza Strip to the Kassam-warning system, including Ashdod, Ofakim and Kiryat Gat. In addition, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i decided to distribute beeper systems to farmers in the Gaza periphery.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday night that he had ordered the IDF to prepare itself to deliver a "response" to the rocket attacks. He said Hamas was responsible and would pay a price.

"Anyone who hurts Israeli civilians or soldiers will pay the price in a big way," Barak said in an interview on a Channel 2 talk show. "We will bring the solution, and we will not let this situation continue."

Defense officials said the IDF now had approval for a number of operations that would likely include heavy air strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets, as well as pinpoint ground operations against terrorist infrastructure.

Military sources said a major operation - such as conquering the Gaza Strip - was not currently on the agenda. The officials would not reveal the timing of the planned operations so as not to tip off Hamas, but said that it depended on a number of factors, including the stormy weather in the South.

Hamas said it would continue to fire rockets in "self-defense." The group also said it had placed all its forces on high alert in preparation for an IDF invasion of the Gaza Strip.

In Ashkelon, one rocket slammed into a home seconds after a father rushed his children from the living room into a bomb shelter. A massive hole gaped in a wall of the living room, which was sprayed with shrapnel. Baby toys lay covered in rubble and dust, and a crib was pocked with splinters and filled with pieces of concrete.

In the evening, IAF aircraft bombed a rocket cell in southern Gaza, near the Daniyeh air strip, killing at least one Palestinian and wounding two others. The IDF said it had targeted a rocket squad that was behind Kassam rocket fire on Sderot earlier in the day.

"We will not let this continue," a defense official said on Wednesday night. "Our response will come in the right place and at the right time."

The ambiguity about the timing of an IDF operation was in line with what Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the security cabinet on Sunday - that Israel would not give Hamas a "promo" of when and how it would respond.

However, hints that Israel's response was well on the way could be found in a statement a government official released after the four-hour security cabinet meeting.

"Hamas bears sole responsibility for the deterioration in the South. They deliberately undermined the understandings reached through Egypt, and they acted to destroy the calm," the official said, in what sounded like an explanation to the world of why Israel needed to act.

"Until now, Israel has acted with great restraint, despite the fact that the civilian population was continuously targeted," the official said. "But this cannot go on."

The official warned that "Israel will answer quiet with quiet, but we will answer attacks with measures to protect our people."

During the security cabinet meeting, the ministers were briefed by intelligence and military officials on the situation in the South, as well as on plans that had been drawn up on how to respond.

A media blackout was declared on the deliberations.

The meeting had originally been meant for a discussion of global jihad. However, the escalating violence forced Gaza onto the agenda.

Although most of the meeting was dedicated to the Gaza Strip, the discussion on global jihad was still held, and 35 al-Qaida- and Taliban-affiliated organizations were declared terrorist organizations for the purposes of fighting money-laundering that provides them with cash.

According to a statement issued after the meeting, the blacklisted groups are active mainly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and North Africa, and operate against Western targets, not necessarily Israel.

The decision obligates banks and financial institutions to check their accounts and transactions and to report any activity suspected of being related to these organizations.

The move is in line with regulations taken in other Western countries, especially the US.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. David Cohen ordered police reinforcements to be sent to the Southern District in light of the escalation in rocket fire.

The decision came following a situation analysis at the police's Lachish subdistrict headquarters, held by Cohen, police Operations Branch head Cmdr. Bentzi Sao and Southern District Dep.-Cmdr. Danny Hen. IDF and Home Front Command officers also attended the meeting.

The increased forces were meant to enable a rapid police response to rocket attacks. Officers have been tasked with helping to evacuate the victims, protect property and give residents a sense of security.

Cohen also called on police to be on alert for "unusual" incidents that could develop in "sensitive spots around the country" - a reference to mixed Arab-Jewish cities.

MDA, too, stepped up operations in the western Negev and the Lachish region, putting ambulance staffers there on the highest alert Wednesday morning.

Director-general Eli Bin ordered that 200 ambulances be on duty in the embattled region. Such an alert was last called some six months ago, before the unofficial cease-fire went into effect on June 19.

On an ordinary day, there are only a few dozen ambulances at the ready in the region.

With the high alert, which will last until further notice, ambulances were given the most advanced equipment for coping with the situation. Bin consulted with security experts before making his decision.

IDF gets green light to strike Hamas after rocket barrage
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« Reply #172 on: December 25, 2008, 11:31:30 PM »

Hamas seems to believe Jews 'understand only force'
By Avi Issacharoff
25/12/2008

The slaying of three Hamas militants near the border separating the Gaza Strip from Israel on Tuesday night also have served to persuade Hamas' leaders to opt for a confrontational position, as did Egyptian indifference to renewing the talks for a ceasefire. The fact that Israel did not open the crossings into the Strip to let in aid from Egypt was also believed to be connected to this decision.

Above all, the decision to renew the firing stems from an arrogant perception - which can also be observed from time to time on the Israeli side of the border - that the other side understands force better than anything else. Hamas seems to believe that "the Jews understand only force."

If violence at a low intensity fails to persuade Israel to let goods into the Strip, then, according to Hamas' approach, another escalation in violence could help Israel make the right decision. The organization's leadership expects an Israeli retaliation, but they assume it will be limited in scope. They deduce this from what they view as an Israeli reluctance to launch a massive land invasion.

As for Israeli air raids, assassinations and the sort, they would only serve to help Hamas regain some popularity - and not only in Gaza, but also in the West Bank and across the Arab-speaking world.

At this stage, it will be the lack of an Israeli retaliation that will corner Hamas. That way, Arab television channels will not broadcast images of martyrs out of Gaza, and the organization will not be perceived as causing the escalation. Hamas, then, may prefer to engage in negotiations even without an Israeli retaliation.

Hamas seems to believe Jews 'understand only force'
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« Reply #173 on: December 25, 2008, 11:39:11 PM »

One thing Hamas better think about........... Every action has an equal reaction.

When Israel lets loose, Hamas better learn how to duck. I think it's about time, Israel goes in and cleans out the trouble. This has been a long time coming, and I know the rest of the world will blame Israel. But I WILL NOT blame Israel. Israel has the right to defend it's self, against enemies both near and far. The muslims started this, it's time for Israel to finish it!!

We as Christians have great biblical reasons, for supporting Israel.

Christianity was birthed by biblical Judaism. Moses prophesied of the disobedience, dispersion, return and ultimate restoration of Israel, due to the faithfulness of Jehovah.

Some eighty percent of our Bible,what we call the "Old Testament", was written in Hebrew, by Hebrews, for Hebrews. And although Gentiles could come to God, they had to come through Israel's God given religion.

John 4: 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

Paul instructs us as to the immense debt we Gentiles owe Israel for our spiritual inheritance, and reminds us of our duty to help Israel in earthly matters.

Romans 15: 27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.
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« Reply #174 on: December 27, 2008, 11:26:38 AM »

Israel strikes demolish Hamas compounds, kill 192
     
  GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing nearly 200 people and wounding 270 others in the single bloodiest day of fighting in years.

Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were also among the dead. Hamas said all of its security installations were hit and responded with several medium-range Grad rockets at Israel, reaching deeper than in the past. One Israeli was killed and at least four people were wounded in the rocket attacks. With so many wounded, the Palestinian death toll was likely to rise.

The air offensive followed weeks of intense Palestinian rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel, and Israeli leaders had issued increasingly tough warnings in recent days that they would not tolerate continued attacks.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel would expand the operation if necessary. "There is a time for calm and there is a time for fighting, and now is the time for fighting," he told a news conference. He would not comment when asked if a ground offensive was planned.

But asked earlier if Hamas political leaders might be targeted next, military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said, "Any Hamas target is a target."

The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were among the dead.

Said Masri sat in the middle of a Gaza City street, close to a security compound, alternately slapping his face and covering his head with dust from the bombed-out building.

"My son is gone, my son is gone," wailed Masri, 57. The shopkeeper said he sent his 9-year-old son out to purchase cigarettes minutes before the airstrikes began and now could not find him. "May I burn like the cigarettes, may Israel burn," Masri moaned.

In Gaza City's main security compound, bodies of more than a dozen uniformed security officers lay on the ground. One survivor raised his index finger in a show of Muslim faith, uttering a prayer. The Gaza police chief was among those killed. One man, his face bloodied, sat dazed on the ground as a fire raged nearby.

Later, some of the dead, rolled in blankets, were laid out on the floor of Gaza's main hospital for identification. Hamas police spokesman Ehad Ghussein said about 140 Hamas security forces were killed.

Israeli military officials said more than 100 tons of bombs were dropped on Gaza by mid-afternoon. They spoke on condition of anonymity under military guidelines.

Defiant Hamas leaders threatened revenge, including suicide attacks. Hamas "will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood," vowed spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

Israel told its civilians near Gaza to take cover as militants began retaliating with rockets, and in the West Bank, moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for restraint. Egypt summoned the Israeli ambassador to express condemnation and opened its border with Gaza to allow ambulances to drive out some of the wounded.

Israeli leaders approved military action against Gaza earlier in the week.

Past limited ground incursions and air strikes have not halted rocket barrages from Gaza. But with 200 mortars and rockets raining down on Israel since the truce expired a week ago, and 3,000 since the beginning of the year, according to the military's count, pressure had been mounting in Israel for the military to crush the gunmen.

Gaza militants fired 30 rockets and mortars Saturday after the air offensive began. A missile hit the town of Netivot, killing an Israeli man and wounding four people, rescue services said.

Dozens of stunned residents gathered around the house that took the deadly rocket hit. Many wept openly. The crowd broke up after an alert siren went off and sent the onlookers running.

Streets were nearly empty in Sderot, the Israeli border town that has been pummeled hardest by rockets. A few cars carried panicked residents leaving town. Dozens of people congregated on a hilltop to watch the Israeli aerial attacks.

Israel declared a state of emergency in Israeli communities within a 12-mile (20-kilometer) range of Gaza, putting the area on a war footing. A siren went off in Kiryat Gat, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from the border, but early reports that the town was hit by a rocket for the first time were incorrect.

Barak, the Israeli defense minister, said the coming period "won't be easy" for southern Israel.

Protests against the campaign erupted in the Abbas-ruled West Bank and across the Arab world.

Several hundred angry Jordanians protested outside a U.N. complex in the capital Amman. "Hamas, go ahead. You are the cannon, we are the bullets," they cried, some waving the signature green Hamas banners.

In Ein Hilweh, a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, dozens of youths hit the streets and set fire to tires. In Syria's al-Yarmouk camp, outside Damascus, dozens of Palestinian protesters vowed to continue fighting Israel.

The first round of air strikes on Gaza came just before noon.

Hospitals crowded with people, civilians rushing in wounded people in cars, vans and ambulances. "We are treating people on the floor, in the corridors. We have no more space. We don't know who is here or who to treat first," said one doctor who hung up the phone before identifying himself at Shifa Hospital, Gaza's main treatment center.

Dr. Moawiya Hassanain, a Gaza Health Ministry official, said at least 192 people were killed and 270 wounded. Frantic civilians drove wounded people to hospitals in their cars.

In the West Bank, Hamas' rival, Abbas, said in a statement that he "condemns this aggression" and called for restraint, according to an aide, Nabil Abu Rdeneh. Abbas, who has ruled only the West Bank since the Islamic Hamas seized power in Gaza in June 2007, was in contact with Arab leaders, and his West Bank Cabinet convened an emergency session.

Israel has targeted Gaza in the past, but the number of simultaneous attacks was unprecedented.

Israel left Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, but the withdrawal did not lead to better relations with Palestinians in the territory as Israeli officials had hoped.

Instead, the evacuation was followed by a sharp rise in militant attacks on Israeli border communities that on several occasions provoked harsh Israeli military reprisals.

The last, in late February and early March, spurred both sides to agree to a truce that was to have lasted six months but began unraveling in early November.

(This version CORRECTS that siren went off in Kiryat Gat, but there was no rocket.)
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« Reply #175 on: December 27, 2008, 01:29:23 PM »

Quote
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel would expand the operation if necessary. "There is a time for calm and there is a time for fighting, and now is the time for fighting,"

I knew it would be only a matter of time. Israel has had enough rocket/missile attacks against them.

Quote
"There is a time for calm and there is a time for fighting

That reminds me of;

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

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« Reply #176 on: December 27, 2008, 01:58:44 PM »

Barak: We have no choice, the time has come for us to fight
By Haaretz Service
27/12/2008

Defense Minister Ehud Barak held a press conference on Saturday in which he defended Israel Defense Forces strikes that left 205 dead according to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip Saturday, saying Israel had no choice and that "the time has come to fight."

Barak said the IDF and Israel Air Force attacks had destroyed "terrorism infrastructure" and hit over 150 Hamas militants. He also said the current campaign would be widened and will continue for some time.

Barak said Israel cannot stand by while rockets strike the communities of the western Negev and "won't let terror hurt our citizens or soldiers."
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Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Saturday addressed the ongoing IDF campaign in Gaza, saying "until now we have shown restraint. But today there is no other option than a military operation."

Livni, speaking in English at a press conference, said Israel had no
choice but to act to "protect our citizens from attack through a military response against the terror infrastructure in Gaza."

Livni called the IDF operations an expression of Israel's "basic right to self-defense."

The Foreign Minister laid blame for the bloodshed at the feet of Hamas, saying the group "cynically abuses its own civilian population and their suffering for propaganda purposes."

Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip fired at least 54 Qassam and Grad rockets into southern Israel on Saturday after the IDF campaign began. One of the rockets directly struck a home in the town of Netivot, leaving one Israel dead and four with moderate to serious injuries.

Barak: We have no choice, the time has come for us to fight
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« Reply #177 on: December 28, 2008, 12:40:10 PM »

Israeli airstrikes widen scope against Gaza
     
 GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Warplanes pressing one of the Israel's deadliest assaults ever against Palestinian militants widened their sights on Sunday, dropping bombs on smuggling tunnels that are a major weapons pipeline for the Gaza Strip's Islamic Hamas rulers.

Israel's Cabinet authorized the military to call up 6,500 reserve soldiers for a possible ground invasion and moved tanks, infantry and armored units to the Gaza border. Since it began Saturday, Israel's offensive against Gaza rocket squads has been carried out exclusively from the air.

Crowds of Gazans, backed by a bulldozer, breached the border wall with Egypt to escape the chaos. Syria, reflecting the rage in the Arab world over Israel's aerial onslaught, broke off indirect peace talks with the Jewish state.

The airstrikes, which initially targeted Hamas security compounds, killed more than 280 Palestinians and wounded hundreds more in its first 24 hours, said Gaza health official Dr. Moaiya Hassanain. A Palestinian human rights group said among 251 dead it counted, 20 were children under 16 and nine were women.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said it was difficult to keep an exact count because of chaos at the hospitals, and difficulty in identifying dismembered bodies.

The civilian casualties included a 15-year-old boy who died in southern Gaza on Sunday in an attack on a greenhouse near the border. At least 644 people were wounded, Hassanain said.

Battered militants managed to launch more than 20 rockets and mortars at Israeli border communities. The number of attacks was down sharply from a day earlier, indicating the Israeli airstrikes took a stiff toll. Israel's head of military intelligence told Israel's Cabinet on Sunday that Hamas' ability to fire rockets had been reduced by 50 percent.

Still, two rockets struck close to Israel's largest southern city, Ashdod, reaching deeper into Israel than ever before, and confirming Israel's concern that militants are now able to put major cities within rocket range. No serious injuries were reported. The rockets landed some 23 miles (38 kilometers) from Gaza, doubling the militants' previous range.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said it was unclear when the operation would end. The situation in southern Israel "is liable to last longer than we are able to foresee at this time," he told his Cabinet.

The carnage has inflamed Arab public opinion, and the diplomatic fallout came swiftly.

A Syrian official said Damascus would suspend indirect peace talks with Israel, begun earlier this year, over the Gaza attacks. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, says "Israel's aggression closes all the doors" to any move toward a settlement in the region. Israel and Syria held four rounds of negotiations in Turkey.

Condemnations and protests against the Israeli offensive swept the Arab world for a second straight day, occasionally turning violent. A suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up in the midst of a large demonstration in northern Iraq. Israeli troops fired on a violent protest in the West Bank, killing a Palestinian man.

Hamas' fiercest rival, the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, urged the Islamic militant group to renew a truce with Israel that collapsed last week. However, Abbas has had no influence in Gaza since Hamas seized control there by force in June 2007.

The Israeli army says Palestinian militants have fired more than 300 rockets and mortars at Israeli targets over the past week and 10 times that number over the past year.

Israel's foreign minister Tzipi Livni told "Meet the Press" that Israel launched its strike because Gaza's Hamas rulers were smuggling weapons and building up "a small army."

But, she added, "Our goal is not to reoccupy the Gaza Strip." Israeli soldiers and settlers left the tiny seaside territory in 2005 after a 38-year occupation, though Israel retained control of Gaza's borders.

The Israeli military said warplanes attacked 40 tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border in the course of four minutes Sunday. Medics said two people were killed and 25 were injured. Witnesses reported large fires and dozens of explosions. Black smoke rising from the area of the attacks was especially dense closer to the Mediterranean, apparently after missile struck a makeshift underground fuel pipeline.

Weapons and commercial goods are brought in through the passageways, which have allowed Hamas to stay in power by relieving shortages caused by the blockade Israel and Egypt imposed after the Hamas takeover.

Shortly after the tunnel attacks, hundreds of Palestinians breached the border fence with Egypt in several places, drawing fire from Egyptian border guards.

An Egyptian security official said there were at least five breaches along the 9 mile (14 kilometer) border and hundreds of Palestian residents were pouring in. At least 300 Egyptian border guards rushed to the area to reseal the border.

Earlier in the day, Israeli aircraft targeted a top Hamas security installation, a mosque, a TV station and dozens of other targets. They also attacked a Gaza fuel tanker and a major pharmaceutical warehouse. Residents said the fuel and medicines had been smuggled in from Gaza through the underground tunnels, further evidence that Israel was widening its offensive to go after operations that are Hamas' lifeline.

In New York, the U.N. Security Council called on Israel and the Palestinians to immediately halt all violence and military activities. The U.N.'s most powerful body called for a new cease-fire between Israel and Hamas and for opening border crossings into Gaza to enable humanitarian supplies to reach the territory.

Israel allowed limited supplies of fuel and medicine to enter Gaza.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Israel's closest ally on the Security Council, said "the key issue here was not to point a finger at Israel. The key issue was to urge all parties to end the violence and address the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza."

Streets were empty in Gaza City on Sunday as most residents stayed home, fearing more airstrikes. A few lined up to buy bread outside two bakeries. Schools were shut for a three-day mourning period the Gaza government declared Saturday for the campaign's dead.

Aircraft struck one of Hamas' main security compounds in Gaza City — a major symbol of the group's authority. Health officials said four people were killed and 25 wounded. A column of black smoke towered from the building and some inmates of the compound's prison fled after the missiles struck.

One prisoner trapped under the rubble, his face bloodied, waved his hand in the hope of being rescued. Two other prisoners helped a bleeding friend walk through the debris.

Since the campaign began, around 150 rockets and mortars have bombarded southern Israel, the military said.

In Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people about 11 miles (17 kilometers) from Gaza, bustling sidewalks immediately emptied after a rocket fell downtown.

Store Clerk Elvira Taberbobsky, 36, stepped outside after one rocket struck only to have a second expode right in front of her.

"I flew backwards. I couldn't hear anything for a few seconds, and then all of a sudden I saw holes in my pants and blood streaming down my pants," she said.

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« Reply #178 on: December 29, 2008, 01:23:52 AM »

Hamas threatens to harm Livni, Barak

Islamist group figure in Gaza Strip says organization will strike Foreign Minister Livni 'inside the Knesset compound…will hunt Defense Minister Ehud Barak down'; also threatens revenge against 'traitors in Ramallah, Arab world who took part in scheme against us'

Ali Waked
12.28.08
Israel News

The death toll in the Gaza Strip continued to climb on Sunday, and Hamas heads broke out with threats against the Israeli leadership.

Hamas figure in the northern Gaza Strip Fathi Hamad said his organization would hurt Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

"We will reach that Zionist in her house, inside the Knesset compound. We will also get to the traitors in the Muqata compound in Ramallah and to all those in the Arab world that had a hand in the scheme against us. We will hunt Barak down and reach all of them," Hamad said.

"Today we are sending a message through the sea of blood that was spilled here and we will not surrender and we will defeat the enemy. From here, from within the proud Strip, we say to all our enemies: We will get to you, defeat you, and hunt you down one by one.

"We will reach the Zionist leaders in their homes, we will get to you, the collaborators in the Muqata in Ramallah, and we will settle the score with you one by one."

Hamad added that "Hamas and the organizations will settle the score with anyone who was involved in the attack on Gaza, in the participation in this scheme and in supporting this attack.

"The heroes in the Strip will continue to fight and prove the youth and fighters of Islam and the Palestinian organizations cannot be defeated," he said.

Israeli leaders boost security
Meanwhile, security around Livni and Barak was boosted. However, a Ynet examination revealed that the increase in security had more to do with protecting the three leading candidates ahead of the upcoming general elections, than with the IDF operation in Gaza.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's security is at its peak.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday morning that Hamas could have avoided the attacks.

"We talked to them and we told them 'please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop' so that we could have avoided what happened," he said in Cairo.

In a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Abbas said he wanted to protect the Strip. "We want to protect Gaza and we don't want it to be destroyed."

Abbas added, "Now there are vigorous efforts towards protecting our people in the Gaza Strip."

The president stressed that he was interested in "returning to dialogue as soon as possible" and that it was very important to stand up to "the Israeli aggression against civilians in the Gaza Strip in which over 270 were killed and hundreds injured.

"We do not want and will not agree to our people being destroyed. Again we stress that we are responsible for every drop of blood that is spilled amongst our people."

Hamas threatens to harm Livni, Barak
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« Reply #179 on: December 29, 2008, 01:27:32 AM »

Israel Gaza blitz kills 290, as ground troops mobilise
David Byers and James Hider in Jerusalem
December 28, 2008

Israel continued one of its biggest ever air assaults on Gaza today, bringing the overall number of Palestinians killed to around 290, amid indications that a large-scale ground incursion was being planned against Hamas militants.

As the United Nations Security Council demanded an immediate end to the fighting, Israel's Cabinet instead appeared to be expanding its campaign against the territory's Islamist rulers, authorising a call-up of at least 6,500 reservists and sending infantry and armoured units to the Gaza border.

The large-scale air strikes - numbering 250 so far in little over 24 hours - have so far killed around 290, mostly Palestinian police officers, but also civilians including children. Hamas has pledged suicide attacks against Israeli civilians in retaliation.

In its raids today, Israel targeted one of Hamas' main security compounds in Gaza, the Al-Asqa television station, a prison and a mosque. Around 40 tunnels along the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, which Hamas uses for weapons smuggling, were also bombed. Egyptian border police said officers fired in the air to prevent "dozens" of civilians from forcing their way over the border.

Amid growing international concern at the violence, David Miliband, Britain's Foreign Secretary, echoed the UN in saying that a ceasefire was required to stop the “massive loss of life” in the territory. In a strong statement, he added that the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza was "deeply disturbing".

The Jewish State said, however, that it had no choice but to launch its offensive after Hamas blitzed its southern towns of Ashkelon and Sderot with scores of rocket attacks following the breakdown of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between the sides last week.

Tzipi Livni, the Israeli Foreign Minister who will stand as the ruling Kadima party's candidate to be Prime Minister in elections to be held next February, said: “I expect the international community, including the entire Arab world, to send a clear message to Hamas: ’It is your fault. It’s your responsibility. You’re the one who’s being condemned.’”

Speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press, she continued: “’You (Hamas) are not going to get legitimacy from the international community this way. The responsibility for the lives of civilians in the Gaza Strip is in your hands."

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, refused to clarify when his military's operation would end. Speaking to his Cabinet, he added that the situation in southern Israel was "liable to last longer than we are able to foresee at this time".

However, Gaza militants scored another victory in their bombardment of southern Israel today, firing two rockets further than ever before into the country. The rockets, among 150 launched, landed close to the largest city in the region, Ashdod, some 23 miles from Gaza. Dozens more were also fired.

The targeting of Ashdod will confirm Israel’s concern that militants are capable of putting major cities within the range of increasingly sophisticated rockets. No serious injuries were reported in today's attacks.

The dramatic escalation also presented a fresh threat to the already-fragile West Bank administration of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. As the Israeli strikes continued, Hamas's exiled leader Khaled Meshaal called on Palestinians from both territories to join together under the Islamists' banner to launch a new 'intifada,' or uprising, against Israel - a clear attempt to undermine Mr Abbas' pro-Western Fatah administration.

Today, pro-Hamas demonstrations took place in Ramallah, the administrative centre of the West Bank, and Israeli-occupied east Jerusalem, but only minor violent skirmishes have so far been reported.

Mr Abbas appeared to lay the blame for the attacks on Hamas although he sharply condemned the number of casualties. After meetings in Cairo today, he said: "We talked to them (Hamas) and we told them 'please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop' so that we could have avoided what happened."

The already-bitter rivalry between Hamas and Fatah worsened in summer 2007 when the Islamists drove forces affiliated with Mr Abbas' movement from Gaza in a coup which dismantled the two sides' unity government. Hamas has since then faced almost complete international isolation for its continuing rejection of Fatah's peace process with Israel and its refusal to renounce terrorism.

The violence also threatened to spiral to neighbouring Lebanon, where pro-Iranian Hezbollah guerillas in the south - who became involved in a bloody conflict with Israel in summer 2006 - organised vociferous demonstrations.

Figures worldwide expressed growing alarm at the violence today. In New York, the UN Security Council called on both sides to immediately halt all military activities. It also called for an opening of Gaza's borders to humanitarian supplies. Israel has enforced a large-scale blockade of Gaza since Hamas seized power.

Hamas, however, said that the Israeli strikes only served to make the group stronger and broaden its public support, rather than weaken it.

"These strikes fuel our popular support, our military power and the firmness of our positions," said Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas legislator. "We will survive, we will move forward, we will not surrender, we will not be shaken."

Israel Gaza blitz kills 290, as ground troops mobilise
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