Monday, November 12, 2012

Two border skirmishes

In the past 24 hrs some 100 missiles, rockets and mortar shells have been fired into southern Israel from Gaza by terrorists. This makes 13 years since southern Israel has been bombarded from Gaza, and thousands of missiles have been fired.  Today a car was hit and two men were injured and a house was hit and a woman was injured, but noone was killed so far.  The Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted three missiles, one headed for Beersheva. As usual it is difficult to ascertain exactly when the situation escalated, as it has done hundreds of times over the past years.  
The IDF discovered a huge, deep tunnel from Gaza into Israel thru which the terrorists could bring heavy weapons, and the IDF blew it up.  Also, several men were caught near the security fence that separates Gaza from Israel and one was killed.  Then the terorrists fired an anti-tank shell at an Israeli jeep making a routine patrol and injured the four men in it, one very seriously.  The IAF then carried out bombing raids on targets, including missile storage and manufacturing sites in Gaza, during which 4 people were killed.  This apparently triggered the barrage of missiles.  In this case Hamas announced that it is backing the attacks by other terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad that is an Iranian proxy
PM Netanyahu and several Ministers said that they regard this as an extremely serious outbreak of hostilities and unless it is stopped immediately the IDF will take strong punitive measures.  However, the terrorists have heard this before, so they automatically go into hiding and slow the missiles for a few days until the danger is past.  The million or so inhabitants of southern Israel are fed up with this scenario and pray for a real attack by the IDF into Gaza that will actually clean out the terrorists, rather than spending huge sums of money (ca. m$500) to strengthen roofs and buildings within the area close to Gaza.  By the way, note that the many Arabs who live in southern Israel are also affected by these bombardments and have to run to shelters.  In most cases people have only 15 secs to reach safety.
While this conflict is escalating in the south, the northern border with Syria is also hotting up.  Several times stray bullets and shells have been fired across the Syrian border into the Israeli Golan.  Until today Israel simply issued a warning, but a shell that landed in an Israeli village this time drew an active response.  The IDF fired some shells and heavy machine guns into Syria.  It is unclear who is firing these stray rounds into Israel, either the Syrian Army or the Free Syrian Army.But, the former is considered more likely, and Israel does not want to become embroiled in a civil war in Syria.  It seems unlikely that either side would want to engage the IDF since that would seriously diffuse their military capability.  However, Israel lodged a complaint with the UN peace keeping body and warned that if this continues or escalates the IDF will be given orders to put down these provocative actions.


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