Post 7: 10:05 pm. We haven’t had any sirens in Ashdod since 6:14 pm., but while eating Shabbat dinner on our patio at about 8:30 pm., we heard an explosion just south of here–and not to be too cryptic, but there’s a steady hum in the sky as this post is being written. Israelis in the south have been warned that it may be a long night. Your humble servant will let you know in the morning.
Post 6: 6:14 pm. In the bomb shelter again. Sirens sounded 4 minutes ago. Two explosions heard northeast and northwest.
Post 5: 3:48 pm. No siren this time but we have just heard three loud explosions, two apparently to the southeast of us one to the southwest. In addition, three more missiles are reported to have struck Kidron–about 15 minutes to the northwest from here–and another at Kiryat Malachi.
An interesting story from this morning that it is being called ‘the miracle of Ashdod’. At my 11:15 post, I noted that one or two Grad rockets had struck Ashdod this morning. It turns out that there were two: one hit a yeshiva . . . the other struck a Ger Hasidic synagogue at the time of morning prayers.
One of the people praying was Akiva Goldman who told the police what happened when the siren sounded: “We were wearing our prayer shawls and tefilin and people felt uncomfortable running outside and seeking shelter, and that’s why we stayed inside the synagogue.” Seconds later, the missile shattered through the roof of the synagogue and struck in the middle of the floor.
When the dust had settled, those who had been praying saw the Grad embedded in the floor, unexploded. Goldman’s explanation was simple: “No doubt our prayers saved us.” I’ll leave it for you, dear reader, to decide.
Post 4: 1 pm. The Islamic group Abdullah Azzam Brigades has taken responsibility for firing the two Grad rockets at Ashdod Friday morning. You will probably read in the media that the Brigades are an ‘extremist group’. The truth is that all Islamic groups are extremist–especially Hamas that controls everything that happens in Gaza including the Abdullah Azzam Brigades.
Post 3: 11:15 am. More information is now available about the morning attack in Ashdod that occurred about a half mile from our neighborhood. Either one or two Grad rockets hit a yeshiva injuring 10 people–2 seriously. Meanwhile a suicide bomber has blown himself up on the Egyptian side of the border killing an unknown number of Egyptian soldiers and security personnel. It is reported that three Israeli soldiers wounded yesterday remain in critical condition.
Post 2: (Post numbers will be in reverse order today): Ashdod is under attack. Sirens and explosions at 7:45 am and 8:13 am (3 min ago). At 7:45 we were out on the sidewalk walking to bakery–we ran (with many others including people who stopped their cars in the middle of the road and jumped out) to crouch behind a wall. By 8:13 we were back in our house and in our bomb shelter. At each time, we could hear explosions nearby.
Post 1: We just came out of our bomb shelter 30 minutes ago here in Ashdod. At 5:51 am, we were jolted out of our beds by a loud blaring siren indicating incoming rockets from Gaza. We all ran to our ‘meclat’, the reinforced concrete bomb shelter that every Israeli house and apartment is required to have. Once there, we waited for three minutes, listening for any explosions, and hearing none, came upstairs. Israeli radio and TV is warning this morning that we are likely to hear more sirens today.
But those of you who follow israelstreet will note that a continual theme of this blog in recent months has been the continued smuggling of weapons into Gaza on a massive scale, the continual lack of IDF action against the terrorists in Gaza, and the increasing anarchy has taken over the northern Sinai in the wake of Mubarak’s ouster. These three factors led to what happened yesterday.
The apparent sequence of events yesterday:
1. 12:00 pm: Three terrorists wearing military vests and armed with assault rifles, RPGs, roadside bombs, and bomb belts crossed over the Egyptian border near Nefatim on Highway 12 (between Mitzpe Ramon and Eilat).
2. The terrorists fanned out and began firing on passing vehicles. First they hit an Egged 392 bus (392 buses are going to Eilat) that was filled with soldiers and civilians, wounding 10 passengers. The driver saved many lives by continuing to drive through the hail of gunfire. Soldiers on the bus returned fire out the back of the bus as it sped away and called the commanders of their units reporting the ongoing attack.
3. Next, the terrorists opened fire on another bus that was empty except for its driver. One of the terrorists ran to the bus and detonated his bomb belt killing himself and the driver.
4. The next passing car was being driven by a female driver who was shot and killed. The same terrorist then shot an RPG at an Israeli helicopter that had arrived on the scene.
5. One of the two remaining terrorists opened fire at yet another passing car killing all four people inside. An IDF jeep from the Golani Brigade then arrived and ran over the terrorist–killing him.
6. Another IDF jeep arrived and was hit by a roadside bomb that had been placed by the remaining terrorist who then opened fire on the soldiers killing 22 year old Staff Sergeant Moshe Naftali. The terrorist attempted to escape but was located by the police’s elite YAMAM unit and killed.
7. Following this sequence of events, the soldiers came under fire from Egyptian side of the border. IDF soldiers crossed over the border and killed two terrorists. Shortly thereafter, the Egyptian Army reported killing two more terrorists.
8. Several hours later, a Border Police unit came under fire and 49 year old Pascal Avrahami, a noted police sniper, was killed.
9. As soon as the dead terrorists were identified as being members of the PRC (Popular Resistance Committees) in Gaza, Israel launched attacks. The leadership of the PRC including its head, Kamal Nirab, were killed. A number of those killed were also involved in the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.
10. During the night (after dropping leaflets warning of impending bombardment!) the IAF bombed numerous Hamas targets in Gaza; earlier in the afternoon Hamas had moved its leadership underground in anticipation of the strikes.
Your humble servant will blog during the day as events warrant.