UPDATES 9:00 pm:
Here we sit watching scenes of happy soldiers on Israeli television–happy to have served their country admirably and happy to be out of Gaza–and in some cases back to their bases.
And here we sit watching IDF Chief Benny Gantz saying that “the coast is clear” and that residents of the South can return to their homes. Just before that we were regaled by PM Netanyahu who spoke of “enhanced security for the South” blah, blah, blah.
There’s only one little problem.
Hamas is still shooting at southern communities on the borders with Gaza. And they are shooting with complete impunity.
The so-called “ceasefire” was officially broken at 2:02 pm this afternoon when incoming missile and mortar alarms went off in the Eshkol region. In a sickeningly familiar reversion to form, the IDF was quick to tell everyone that it was a “false alarm”. (How ironic is it that we just had more than 25,000 alarms in the last 4 weeks–and none of them was a false alarm?)
Oh by the way, the residents of the Eshkol region reported hearing the explosion caused by the mortar or missile impact.
At 8:10 pm, just 20 minutes ago, Hamas fired again–this time at the Negev region and Sha’ar Hanegev. There was no reponse from the IDF and barely any mention of the attack on Israeli TV. It won’t be long until the IDF once again declares it was “a false alarm.”
After all, the only thing that Hamas is doing is trying to kill Israeli children, women, and men.
One other small detail. As your humble servant reported in the first update today, Hamas is not exactly happy about what is happening in Cairo, and ranted late this afternoon that the ceasefire would shortly end if their demands were not met forthwith.
It already has. But you will hear and read nothing about it as the United Nations, European Union, Arab League and others rush “inspectors to Gaza” to find Israel guilty of “war crimes.”
UPDATES 7:30 am:
**The military censor has cleared for publication that the Hamas mastermind behind the kidnapping and murders of Israeli teenagers Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel on June 12 has been captured in Shuafat.
Hussam al-Qawasme has admitted that he was in charge of Marwan al-Qawasme and Amer abu Aisha–both of whom are still at large.
He further revealed that the funding for the kidnapping and murders came from Hamas in Gaza where a group of former Palestinian prisoners who were released in the Gilad Schalit exchange are in charge of planning terror attacks in Judea and Samaria. The two top terrorists who run the entire operation are former Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad and Saleh Al-Aruri, a Hamas official living in Turkey.
**24 missiles were fired at Israel yesterday by Hamas terrorists in Gaza. The low number reflects the fact that a ceasefire went into effect at 8:00 am and held throughout the day.
**Whether the ceasefire will continue to last is problematical. Egypt has asked Israel and Hamas this morning to extend the ceasefire from 72 to 120 hours (until Sunday morning).
However, Hamas representatives had a bad day in Cairo yesterday. The Egyptians informed them last night that at least three of their core demands–an open seaport, an airport, and the permanent opening of the Rafah Crossing into Egypt–will not even be put on the table for discussion.
Not only that, but Hamas was also immediately put on the defensive for not having accepted the original Egyptian ceasefire proposal three weeks ago before some 1500 fatalities occurred in Gaza–fatalities that were largely terrorists.
Your humble servant can only imagine that none of this is going down very well in Gaza which has now truly awakened to the scope of the destruction.
**In the meantime, Jordan has decided to stick its nose into the mediation efforts by presenting an outline for a ceasefire and a lifting of the sea blockade of Gaza to the United Nations Security Council. According to Jordan, the outline was presented in conjunction with the Palestinians (read PLO) and the Arab League.
The bottom line is that Jordan and the Security Council can chirp all they want to, but at least for the moment, the Egyptians are the only game in town.
**In regard to the number of Hamas (and other) terrorists killed, the IDF says that 1068 terrorists were dispatched by IDF forces. Indeed, more stories surfaced yesterday about how the terrorists were caught in buildings, tunnels, and elsewhere and succumbed to overwhelming Israeli firepower. See below for a more detailed breakdown.
**Yet another bizarre story in the John Kerry saga occurred yesterday when in the midst of a telephone conversation between Kerry and Netanyahu, the line suddenly went dead. And the call was not reconnected.
There are various versions of what happened. One of them was that Netanyahu hung up on Kerry when the latter began railing about civilian casualties, but we all know that is highly unlikely–not because Kerry wouldn’t rail but because Netanyahu would never hang up.
Anyway, the infamous State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki who usually never misses an opportunity to castigate Israel merely said “it was a communication problem; sometimes calls disconnect.”
Sure thing Jen.
**Below is a list of numbers given out by the IDF yesterday. In 29 days of war:
>The IDF has struck 4,762 terror targets including:
- 1,678 strikes on rocket launching infrastructure
- 977 strikes on command and control centers
- 939 strikes in support of IDF maneuvers
- 548 strikes on infrastructure that posed a threat to IDF forces
- 237 strikes on political infrastructure used to support militant operations
- 191 strikes on arms factories and caches
- 144 strikes on valuable assets
- 96 strikes on positions to maintain naval and air superiority
>The IDF has killed 1068 terrorists including:
- 253 Hamas members
- 147 Islamic Jihad members
- 65 militants from other groups
- 603 terrorists whose affiliation was unknown
>The IDF reports that terrorists have fired 3,356 missiles at Israel including:
- 2,532 rockets which have fallen in open spaces
- 578 rockets which have been intercepted by the Iron Dome
- 119 rockets which fell inside Gaza (killing who knows how many Palestinians)
- 116 rockets which fell in industrial/residential areas in Israel (missed by Iron Dome)