Israel At War With Hamas: Day 3


Further update 10:30 pm Israel time Friday:

Tens of thousands of miluim (reserves) forces are converging on southern Israel tonight. The IDF has closed all roads in the Gaza vicinity to public traffic as hundreds of armored personnel carriers, jeeps, and tanks are now on the border.  Many hundreds of other military vehicles carrying ammunition, water, and fuel are now moving into place behind them.

The scenes of these smiling and happy men and women going South has been heartwarming. Interviewed on Israel TV this evening, each person is eager to engage the evil that is Hamas.

And do you know what the problem is on the border tonight? More reserves than were actually called up are demanding to serve and have gone South with their comrades to fight.

Whether they will enter Gaza is anyone’s guess, but the willingness of these young women and men to fight for their country is a thing to behold–especially in the face of a vicious enemy that has most assuredly put in their way numerous suicide bombers, mines, and booby-traps. When asked by reporters what their motivation is, their answer is always the same: “This is our country and we must fight to defend it.”

In the ongoing operation in Gaza, it appears that the IDF offensive is beginning to make some headway. There have been sirens for incoming rockets in Beersheva (8:56 pm)–and rockets were fired at southern Israel from the Egyptian Sinai (9:15 pm), but we have had a longer period of quiet here in Ashdod–more than 4 hours–than we have had for days. Your humble servant is under no delusions, but at the very least, it appears that Hamas is regrouping before firing off another barrage of missiles.

Another senior commander in Hamas’ military wing, Ahmed Abu Jalal, has just been killed in an IAF strike in central Gaza along with his two brothers and another as yet unidentified terrorist.

Wherever you are tonight, dear reader, say a prayer if you are so inclined for the brave soldiers of the IDF.  Let us hope they do not have to go into Gaza tonight or tomorrow, but let our thoughts be with them if they must. 

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Further update 8:30 pm Israel time Friday:

The gathering storm on the Gaza border.

The big news of the evening is that 75,000 reservists are now in the process of being called up and are reporting to their bases tonight–Shabbat. Our dinner companions had to leave prematurely to  take their son to Tel Aviv for assignment.

The IDF is continuing its campaign with more Hamas terrorists being killed by the hour. In the last 15 minutes another 4 were killed in the Maghazi neighborhood of Gaza. Only three Gaza civilians have been accidentally killed–and those died because a Hamas launching position was in their apartment building. Apparently, during the news blackout, more than 650 terrorist sites have been hit and others degraded.

The most recent rockets launched were at 7:31 pm against Netivot and Sha’ar Hanegev.

After the incredibly belligerent visit of the Egyptian prime minister, Egyptian President Morsi has erupted with an even more fiery bellicose declaration (quite a sight to watch him ranting on Egyptian TV). The gist of the speech seemed to be a threat against Israel “just daring” us to carry through with our operations in Gaza.

The Israeli security cabinet is meeting tonight.

I leave it to you, dear reader, to draw your own conclusions.

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Further update 4:50 pm Israel time Friday:

Jerusalem has just had its first incoming rocket alarm just after Shabbat came in. Similarly, Ashdod had its 27th and 28th missile attacks as Shabbat came in–to the minute.

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Further update 4:15 pm Israel time Friday:

We have had 3 more incoming rocket sirens in the last 35 minutes–making 26 trips to our bomb shelter in the last two days. The Iron Dome has apparently intercepted 11 rockets; however, some rockets appear to have gotten through. No further info at the moment.

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Further update 2:05 pm Israel time Friday:

A sight that everyone in southern Israeli town or city (except those that are closest to the Gaza border for whom the Iron Dome is ineffective) is now familiar with:

These are the distinctive squiggly trails of missiles fired by an Iron Dome system--these particular ones are from intercepts over our house in Ashdod this afternoon.

The following picture shows the telltale “explosion cloud puff” that follows a successful intercept:

A successful Iron Dome intercept--again, over our house in Ashdod this afternoon.

The latest statistic is that some 145 Hamas missiles have been successfully intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome System. The system is purely defensive–it usually keeps you from getting killed (“usually” because there are failures), but it does not permit one to lead a normal life.

On an Israeli train this afternoon.

Incoming rocket sirens have sounded again in the last 30 minutes in Tel Aviv. The military wing of Hamas also claimed to have fired a rocket at Jerusalem an hour and a half ago. No alarms were sounded in Jerusalem, however, and this claim is unconfirmed–though every claim made by Hamas so far concerning firing rockets has been true. 

For the last two hours, there has been a red siren every three minutes at some community in southern Israel.  In the last 5 minutes, Ashekelon (we just heard two explosions) and Beersheva have been hit. We were hit here in Ashdod at 1:35 pm–we  . . . (I was just writing this when the alarms went off again) . . . three more explosions.  Interestingly, two people walking on our street came running into our bomb shelter with us. 

Avi Dichter, Israel’s homeland security minister, has said that we can expect hundreds of more missiles in the coming days.

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Further update 10:30 am Israel time Friday:

Southern Israelis are taking cover from the Hamas onslaught wherever they can--even in culverts.

Hamas is continuing a massive missile attack against southern Israel. In the last 15 minutes alone, there have been 31 communities hearing red sirens for incoming terrorist rockets. Ashkelon has been especially hard hit–we can hear every explosion there from here in Ashdod.

A Zaka volunteer collecting the blood from the victims in Kiryat Malachi yesterday (photo: AP)

What is especially troubling here in Ashdod is that many rockets are beginning to fall without any alarm. A site two minutes from our location was hit within the last hour and there was no warning siren whatsoever.

As can best be determined, rockets are falling at the rate of 50 per hour–at present some 575 rockets have hit southern Israel.

There is every indication that Israel is preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza.

The sad truth is that whatever Israeli is currently doing to stop the rocket fire is completely ineffective.

We’ve just had another warning siren here in Ashdod, been in our bomb shelter again, and heard 5 explosions overhead. 

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What you should be doing for Israeli right now:

1. Contact your local political representatives and tell them about how you support Israel in its effort to stop the rocket fire on southern Israel.

If you are in the United States: find your Representative’s contact information here, your Senator’s information here, and President Obama’s information here.  Also call your local representatives wherever you are, and let them know how you support Israel.

2. Get out into your community and demonstrate against those who are protesting against Israel.

3. Support organizations such as MADA that are dealing with the ongoing situation here in Israel. 

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Update 8:00 am Israel time Friday:

Israeli casualties: 3 killed, 115 wounded

Rockets fired at Israel: 450 and counting by the minute

Terrorist rockets shot down by the Iron Dome system: 130

Most recent communities hit: Beersheva, Ofakim, Miflasim, Sderot, Niram, Gabim, Patish, Giya, Talme Yaffa, Mavkeim, Ashkelon, Ramat Chovev, Lahav, Hura, Nevatim, Tifrach, Gilat, Beduim, Raanan, Urim, Tirfrach, Gilat, and Ashdod.

Hamas terrorist tunnels, launching sites, and respositories bombed: 300 and counting 

Hamas terrorists killed: 19

Gazans wounded or injured (not clear who are combatants and who are civilians): 150

Summary:

The IAF continues to pummel Hamas targets in Gaza while making extraordinary attempts to not hit so-called “civilians.” The IDF has massed troops and material on the Gaza border. Netanyahu and Barak have called up 16,000 reserves. It is unclear what will happen today as the Egyptian delegation arrives in Gaza.

Hamas continues firing rockets at the same pace yesterday.

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Day 3 of this conflict has begun here in Ashdod the same way as yesterday–with a red siren warning at 6:47 am of an incoming rocket from Palestinian Hamas terrorists in Gaza. We ran to our bomb shelter and waited. We heard two Iron Dome interceptor missiles being fired and waited again. About 10 seconds later, we heard an explosion directly over our house (similar to the 46 explosions we heard yesterday).

We continued listening for the second explosion, but it never came. Of course, we are “trained” enough now to know that if two interceptors are fired, but only one explosion takes place, it means that one has gotten through.  We never did hear the explosion, but were informed about 3 minutes later on our phones that the second missile scored a direct hit on a building here in Ashdod, about 5 minutes from our house. Fortunately, no one was wounded.

By the way, we had a chance to talk with our MADA friend who was first on the scene of the tragedy in Kiryat Malachi yesterday in which 3 Israelis were killed. What happened in that case was that the Iron Dome system launched 4 rockets to intercept 4 incoming rockets. The people in Kiryat Malachi apparently went out on their balcony to watch the intercepts. Unfortunately, only three rockets made intercepts; the fourth terrorist rocket got through the Iron Dome defense and exploded on the balcony. 

There is much talk in Israel this morning about not trusting the Iron Dome system completely–and waiting for ten minutes before exiting one’s bomb shelter or fortified place after the sirens stop.

Two explosions have just occurred (at 7:59 am) to the south of our position in Ashdod.

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