Further update 9:30 pm Israel time Thursday:
Since 6:45 pm, almost three hours ago, the missile assault on southern Israel has continued unabated–all of the following communities have been hit: Beersheva (5 times), Sha’ar Hanegev, Omer, Rahat, Ramat Negev, Kiryat Malachi, Be’er Tuvia, Chof Ashkelon, Yoav, Bnei Shimon, and many more.
Here in Ashdod, we have been back in our bomb shelter for the 17th time today (two Grads), but were hit another time before that with no warning alarms. At this moment, we are listening to a telephone call from the Ashdod municipality which is warning us to stay in our bomb shelter for 10 minutes after the incoming rocket alarm goes off.
More than 310 Hamas missiles have now struck Israel since 4:15 pm yesterday.
We have been cryptically told on Israel TV tonight by the IDF spokesman that “tonight will be a hard night.” Because your humble servant knows that some of the people who read this blog are not friends of Israel, I will not elaborate . . . for now.
***Hamas Fajr 5 missiles strike Tel Aviv and Rishon Lezion.***
Further update 6:45 pm Israel time Thursday:
The new news, in addition to the above headline, is that the Egyptians are sending a delegation to Gaza consisting of Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and various Egyptian functionaries. When they arrive, the thinking among the pundits here in Israel is that fighting will cease.
Your humble servant can tell you that if this scenario plays out, there will be 1,000,000 angry people in southern Israel–people who have been willing to endure another bout of endless rockets because they thought that the Israeli government and the IDF were going to finally take care of the problem.
If the fighting ends tomorrow, after Hamas has fired some 300 rockets today, your humble servant is heading to Jerusalem to demonstrate in front of the residence of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Events of the last two hours:
*Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, Givatayim and surrounding areas have just heard their first red sirens ever as Hamas is now firing Fajr 5 missiles with a range of 75 miles and an explosive payload of 90 lbs. Another Fajr 5 has hit the Rishon Lezion area.
*It has been confirmed that 3 IDF soldiers have been wounded (moderately) while in the Eshkol region and airlifted to Soroka Hospital in Beersheva.
*87 Hamas rockets have now been intercepted by the Iron Dome system. After the israelstreet 5:00 pm update, we were hit again here in Ashdod two minutes later. Two interceptor missiles were fired at presumably two incoming missiles. Only one explosion occurred over our house (read previous updates to learn why they take place over our house here in Ashdod). We still have not discovered where the second rocket hit.
Further update 5:00 pm Israel time Thursday:
Hamas rockets have now hit their farthest north, having targeted Rishon Lezion–about 10 minutes from Tel Aviv. Red sirens sounded there 10 minutes ago.
We have just come out of our bomb shelter for the 15th time today. The Iron Dome intercepted three Grad rockets right over our house again.
A fierce propaganda battle is beginning to be waged on the part of the friends of Hamas. For example, Britain’s Sky News (which has heretofore been very balanced in its coverage) just posted this picture on its online website:
Israel Escalates Offensive On Gaza Strip
The picture, of course, is of the Iron Dome system. The missile fired is a defensive Israeli missile being fired to shoot down an incoming Hamas terrorist missile.
Further update 3:00 pm Israel time Thursday:
Number of Israelis killed and wounded: 3 Israelis were killed in Kiryat Malachi this morning; more than 100 men, women, and children have been wounded–many seriously.
Number of terrorist Hamas missiles fired at Israel since 4:15 pm yesterday: 263
Locations hit by missiles: virtually every city, town, kibbutz, and moshav in southern Israel. The communities in the Eshkol region are the hardest hit with Sderot, Niram, Gabim, and other towns absorbing over 150 rockets. For example in the last 15 minutes alone, there have been red sirens for Dekel, Yevul, Yated, Sde Avram, Sufa, Cholit, Nir Yitzhak, Sderot (3), Niram (3), Gabim (3), Miflasim (3), Nahal Oz, Alumim, and Or Aner.
Ashdod, where your humble servant lives and is sitting at this moment, had 13 separate tsava adom (red siren) alarms this morning accompanied by some 40 Grad rockets.
Number of Hamas terrorists killed: 16, including a number in the command structure of Hamas
Number of Hamas installations hit: more than 200
Strategic focus of IDF attack: Hamas leaders “we are trying to get them one at a time”, terrorists in the midst of launches, missile storage repositories
Further update 12:30 pm Israel time Thursday:
Israeli casualties thus far: 3 confirmed killed, 70 hospitalized at Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot, Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon, and Soroka Hospital in Beersheva.
Sderot has been heavily hit since the last israelstreet update with a direct hit on the downtown area.
Israeli-Arab students at the University of Haifa have held a minute of silence for Hamas terrorist Ahmed Jabari. Yes, you read that correctly.
Further update 11:20 am Israel time Thursday:
There are reports that a 4th Israeli has died from the attack in Kiryat Malachi this morning.
The brother of Mahmoud Al-Zahar (senior spokesman of Hamas) was killed yesterday. The funeral of Jabari is taking place in Gaza at this moment.
A vehicle carrying Islamic militants is reported to have broken through the Egyptian border near Eilat into Israel in the last 20 minutes.
Alarms and rockets continue all over southern Israel. In the last hour, Ashkelon, Chof Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gush Dan, Beer Tuvia, Gan Yavne, Yavne, Sha’ar Hanegev, and Netivot have been just a few of the places attacked.
Buses and trains are still operating in the South. However, your humble servant just discovered when taking his son to the train station here in Ashdod, that everyone riding trains from Beersheva and Ashkelon is sitting or lying on the floor of the compartments–no one is sitting in seats (due to exposure to the windows).
Further update 10:00 am Israel time Thursday:
Six more sirens for incoming rockets for Ashdod (13 so far this morning)–with 3 or 4 rockets shot down or exploding each time. Many other communities in southern Israel including Ashkelon and Beersheva heavily hit. Some 175 Hamas missiles have now hit southern Israel since 4:15 pm yesterday.
There is a news blackout on IDF operations in Gaza.
Further update 9:00 am Israel time Thursday:
Increasing long range attacks on southern Israel. A terrorist rocket made a direct hit on a yeshiva in Kiryat Malachi–there are three dead–others critically injured. Another attack on Kiryat Malachi at 8:52 am. Four more attacks here in Ashdod in the last 15 minutes–at least 15 Grad rockets have exploded.
Further update 8:23 am Israel time Thursday:
Two attacks on our location here in Ashdod in the last 10 minutes. At least 8 Grads, perhaps more exploded on all sides (we count them in our bomb shelter)–some were intercepted by the Iron Dome system. At least one direct hit on a house here in Ashdod. Explosions are continuing right now–with no alarm.
Further update 8:08 am Israel time Thursday:
No official news on the Gaza front.
In the last hour, we have had sirens warning of incoming rockets at 7:15 am Nir Yitzhak, Sufa, and Cholit; 7:34 here in Ashdod; 7:48 Beersheva; 7:54 Ashkelon; 7:58 Beersheva; 8:00 Magen; 8:04 Nirim; 8:07 Ramot Chovev, Beersheva.
We know that there was an “extreme” number of rockets in some of the above areas.
The alarm here in Ashdod at 7:34 went off after the first explosion had already taken place over our house. As we ran to the bomb shelter, we heard another explosion, and then two more as sat there. Further reports indicate that 2 Grads were shot down over Ashdod and two landed in open areas.
Update 6:25 am Israel time Thursday:
IDF operations continued throughout the night as did the Hamas response.
As of this moment incoming rocket sirens are sounding in Beersheva. Here in Ashdod, we ran to our bomb shelter twice during the night and heard multiple explosions around us each time.
Official information to date which will be updated throughout the day:
*At least 10 terrorists in the Hamas military hierarchy have been killed. There are reports that Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud Zahar were targeted as well but survived (unconfirmed).
*Palestinian officials reported that another 80 Gazans have been injured.
*The IDF says that it has hit more than 100 sites in Gaza, destroying dozens of underground launching pads for Hamas’ rockets and has materially damaging Hamas’ weapons storage facilities–many of which were located in apartment buildings.
*At least 100 missiles have struck Israel–including multiple long-range strikes in Beersheva, Ashdod, and Ashkelon. Dimona, 75 km from Gaza, is the farthest a terrorist rocket has struck. The hardest hit communities have been those on the Gaza border. 29 rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome system. All Israelis living within 7 km of Gaza have been ordered to remain in their bomb shelters.
*Fortunately, only two Israelis have been mildly injured physically–with 14 others hospitalized for stress.
*The Israel cabinet has authorized calling up reserve units, and has authorized the IDF and Shin Bet to continue to operate against Hamas in Gaza.