Update on latest round of Gaza terror: Over 60 rockets fired; 7 Israelis injured

Report collated from the Israeli media and the blog ‘This Ongoing War edited by Arnold and Frimet Roth

Israelis run for cover after rocket sirens are triggered in Ashkelon

  • On Saturday night, Nov. 10, terrorist forces in Gaza fired an anti-tank missile that hit an IDF jeep patrolling 200 meters inside the Israeli border with Gaza near the Karni border crossing. Four soldiers were injured, and two are in serious condition (one with shrapnel wounds to the head).

A wounded Israeli soldier is evacuated by ambulance in southern Israel on Saturday. | Photo credit: AP

  • On Saturday night, Tzeva Adom (Code Red) warnings were blaring in the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Netivot, Sderot, Gedera, Yavne, Kiryat Malachi and Beit Gamliel, as well as in the Sha’ar Hanegev, Eshkol, Lachish and Sdot Negev regions.  
  • In addition to the injuries to IDF soldiers, three civilians have been injured by rocket shrapnel.
  • ‘Credit’ was claimed by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the initial round of rockets, but the IDF believes Islamic Jihad is behind most of the attacks. 
  • The so-called Al-Mujahideen brigades (which likely means the Mujahideen Shura Council of Jerusalem, a terrorist group that claims to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda) is claiming responsibility for 2 of the rockets fired into Israel.
  • The Popular Resistance Committee said it had fired four rockets at Israeli communities close to the Gaza border and at Sderot and Netivot.
  • Hamas, which controls Gaza, published an announcement saying all Israeli military targets (meaning civilian targets) are “legitimate” objects of attack.
  • Islamic Jihad announced on Saturday that it “…will not give the Zionist enemy calm for free… The Resistance cannot sit idly by. Our message to the foe is that it will be bombardment for bombardment, blood for blood…”.
  • Israeli Channel 2 reported on Saturday that “recent cross-border fire from Gaza had included highly accurate Katyusha rockets, capable of doing far more damage than previous rocket fire”.

  • Overnight, the IDF carried out well-targeted air assaults on several Gazan targets involved in yesterday’s attacks against Israeli civilians: a Palestinian weapons manufacturing facility, two weapons storage facilities, and two rocket-launching sites in northern Gaza.  
Thus far, there are no reports on the latest round of Palestinian terror on the Israel, Palestinian territories, or Gaza pages of the Guardian.
(Update: A few minutes ago, at 14:45 Israeli time, the Guardian published an AP report on the latest terror from Gaza)

Will the Guardian report rockets fired by Gaza terrorists which destroyed a house in Israel?

The life of Pini Azoulay, of the southern Israeli town of Netivot, 14 km from the Gaza border, was saved when, having awoken (at around 2AM this morning) to the sound of the air raid siren, he ran towards the bathroom which was protected by a concrete ceiling.

The explosion caused by the grad rocket caused severe damage to the house.

Home in Netivot destroyed, this morning, by Palestinian rocket fire

A second rocket landed in an open area in Beersheba, prompting the city’s mayor, Mayor Ruvik Danilovich, to cancel school for more than 40,000 children.

The rocket attacks on Israel today by Palestinians in Gaza resulted in seven injuries; three were hurt while running to bomb shelters after hearing the sirens, while another four suffered shock.

No terror group claimed responsibility for the attack, but reports suggest that terrorists associated with the Global Jihad network were to blame.

So far in 2012, more than 455 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel.

This constant barrage of Palestinian terror attacks (by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Resistance Committees, Global Jihadists, and others) has been characterized – when reported at all – by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood, as “sporadic“.

The blog ‘This Ongoing War does a stellar job reporting the details of this grossly under-reported campaign of terror against Israeli civilians.   

Guardian’s biased coverage of terrorist hostilities in Israel’s south: Numbers, headlines and photos

Since Friday, March 9, when hostilities between Israel and terrorists in Gaza began – upon the IDF’s disruption of a Popular Resistance Committee planned multi-pronged terror attack on Israel’s south, the Guardian has devoted 8 stories to the issue.

Total words and stories: 4485 words in eight separate pieces (including a video story)

Headlines sympathetic to Gaza/Palestinians: 7

Headlines sympathetic to Israel: 0  (One was neutral)

Story photos sympathetic to Gaza/Palestinians: 7

Story photos sympathetic to Israel: 1

Number of passages in the eight stories clearly sympathetic to Palestinians: 22

Number of passages in the eight stories clearly sympathetic to Israelis: 12

What the Guardian didn’t report or severely downplayed:

Number of rockets fired from Gaza since Friday: 303

Number of Israelis injured since start of hostilities: 17

Number of Palestinian terrorists killed since the start of hostilities out of 24 total deaths:20 (Civilian to Combatant ratio of 4 to 20) H/T Challah Hu Akbar

Average civilian to combatant death ratio in recent conflicts involving the U.S. or NATO forces: 3 to 1 (3 civilian deaths for every one combatant death)

Number of Israeli citizens who spent the weekend on high alert, with alarm sirens regularly warning people to rush to bomb shelters: Over 1 million

Who has been responsible for most of the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians? Popular Resistance Committee and Islamic Jihad. (both funded by Iran, and the former controlled by Hamas)

Stated goals of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committees: The destruction of Israel.

Most cynical and cruel Palestinian attack since Friday not reported by the Guardian: Kerem Shalom incident

(Two vehicles en-route to delivering humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip were struck by three mortars on Monday morning close to the Kerem Shalom crossing. Activity at the crossing was only temporarily suspended, with the decision made to continue operations at the crossing. Despite escalating rocket fire in recent days, the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings continued to function, with over 180 trucks with aid transferred to Gaza on Sunday.)

Finally, here are the photos and headlines which accompanied the eight Guardian stories:

Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood: “Since war in Gaza ended…Hamas has largely adhered to a ceasefire”

As Akus and I have pointed out, (here and here) Harriet Sherwood is truly gifted in the art of rhetorical obfuscation, a talent on display when she twice referred to rocket attacks from Gaza as “sporadic” – a truly surreal characterization of the 676 deadly projectiles fired at Israel in 2011 alone.

But, her latest incredulous report (Arab spring uprisings reveal rift in Hamas over conflict tactics), Jan 6, on claims made by some that Hamas is debating whether to focus on non-violent resistance, goes even further in running interference for the Islamist terrorist group.

In the penultimate paragraph, Sherwood writes.

Since the war in Gaza ended three years ago Hamas has largely adhered to a ceasefire, and has attempted to stop other militant groups from firing rockets into Israel. [emphasis mine]

While the implicit argument, that Hamas has been a force of peace, reasonableness and moderation in Gaza since the end of Cast Lead is absurd, her explicit claim that “Hamas has largely adhere to a ceasefire” is just patently untrue.

First, as I’ve noted previously, the group responsible for a large number of the 676 rocket attacks on Israel in 2011 (and over 1,000 since the end of Cast Lead in 2009) is referred to as Popular Resistance Committees (PRC).  And, per the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, the PRC is funded and supported directly by Hamas, and essential serves as Hamas’ terrorist subcontractor.

Moreover, here are a few of the attacks directly attributed to Hamas - deadly assaults which are clearly inconsistent with “honoring the ceasefire”.

  • On September 3, 2009, during a 24-hour period, seven mortar shells were fired, four at an IDF force near the security fence and three at communities in the western Negev. The Iz a-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military-terrorist wing, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
  • During the week of March 17-23, 2009, three mortar shells were fired at IDF forces operating along the border security fence. Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Further, Hamas celebrated the “successful” April 17th attack which killed Daniel Vilfic, posting this video on their website.

(Note: Video ends after first 40 sec.)

As I observed recently, Hamas is quite open in expressing pride whenever they kill an Israeli Jew, and even bragged on Twitter (on the occasion of the group’s 24th anniversary) that they’ve murdered, to date, 1365 “Zionists”.

There are some Guardian reports on terrorist attacks from Gaza which employ language that obscures cause and effect, and others which “contextualize” attacks in a way which dehumanize the Israeli victims.

Sherwood’s latest report, however, stating that Hamas has “largely adhered to a ceasefire” isn’t merely another example of such rhetorical obfuscation or moral inversion.

It’s simply a lie.

Hamas, Harriet Sherwood and the Guardian Left’s continuing antisemitic sins of omission

In reading the Guardian daily, I’m still often struck by the enormous moral blind spot which seemingly progressive commentators possess when it comes to undeniable evidence of Palestinian hate, intolerance and malice.

No doubt, journalists like Harriet Sherwood and Phoebe Greenwood have no personal animosity towards Jews as such, likely have Jewish friends, and avoid engaging in explicit expressions of antisemitism in their personal lives.

Such souls likely react with requisite horror when reading or viewing films about Nazi atrocities during the Holocaust.  They may even sincerely wonder how Germans could have been so cruel, so blinded by hate and a murderous ideology which viewed Jews as subhuman, and whose mere presence was a threat to human civilization which had to be eradicated.  

They similarly may ask why the world was silent.

How then to understand the seeming lack of corresponding shock and outrage towards modern manifestations of such explicit Jew hatred in the Arab and Muslim world?

Sherwood’s latest, “Israel will launch significant Gaza offensive sooner or later, Dec. 28, isn’t, by any measure, the most egregious example of the Jerusalem correspondent’s bias against the Jewish state, nor the most sympathetic portrayal of Hamas her paper has ever published, but the report’s credulousness in the face of Islamist group’s narrative is still a polemical inversion worthy of scrutiny.

Sherwood begins:

A new Israeli military offensive against Gaza will be launched “sooner or later” and will be “swift and painful”, Israel‘s most senior military officer has warned.

“Sooner or later, there will be no escape from conducting a significant operation,” he said. “The IDF knows how to operate in a determined, decisive and offensive manner against terrorists in the Gaza Strip.”

Then, Sherwood connects Gantz’s belligerence with a recent IDF operation.

Within hours of Gantz’s comments, the Israeli military launched two airstrikes on targets in Gaza, killing one person and injuring around 10, according to local reports.

Though Sherwood includes IDF “claims” that the hits were on two “terrorist squads with global jihad associations” and that “one of the targets was a cell en route to Sinai with the intention of launching an attack on Israel from Egypt”, the Israeli aggression is then contrasted with Hamas’ evident moderation:

Since the end of the Gaza war in January 2009, Hamas has attempted to enforce a ceasefire among militant groups, although sporadic rocket fire has continued. Israel holds Hamas, as the de facto government, responsible for all rocket fire emanating from Gaza. [emphasis mine]

First, the degree to which Hamas has “attempted to enforce a ceasefire” is clearly only motivated by the terrorist groups’ fear of further IDF action. That is, per Gantz, the 2008-09 Gaza war, which was the focus of such obsessively critical Guardian coverage, actually achieved a good deal of its objective – deterring Hamas.

Second, a good deal of the rocket fire has been launched by Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), which is funded and supported directly by Hamas.  Think of PRC as Hamas’ terrorist subcontractor.

Further, Sherwood’s characterization of the subsequent rocket fire as sporadic (as AKUS pointed out the last time Sherwood used the term) has absolutely no relation to reality. As our Gaza rocket counter notes, there have been 47 rocket attacks from Gaza in December alone, and 683 for all of 2011.

What country on earth would consider a 683 enemy rocket attacks into its territory, by an enemy committed to its destruction, “sporadic”?

Sherwood’s credulousness as to the claim of Hamas’ benign intentions continues:

There have been suggestions in recent weeks that Hamas is ready to distance itself further from attacks on Israel as part of its reconciliation process with its rival faction Fatah.

“They have accepted popular [non-violent] resistance,” senior Fatah official Mohammed Shtayyer said, adding that Hamas would stop “these fireworks” being launched.

The “fireworks” the Fatah official speaks of have killed 44 Israelis (and injured 1,687) since 2006, according to IDF figures.

Sherwood adds:

However, Hamas officials have also said they reserve the right to self-defence and the prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, pledged to continue “resistance” at a public rally this month.

Of course, the group’s understanding of the term “self-defence” can accurately be understood by viewing the following clip from Al Aqsa TV, on Dec. 14 (during a rally celebrating Hamas’s 24th anniversary).

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh:

We say today, explicitly, so it cannot be explained otherwise, that the armed resistance and the armed struggle are the path and the strategic choice for liberating the Palestinian land, from the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, and for the expulsion of the invaders and usurpers [Israel] from the blessed land of Palestine. The Hamas movement will lead Intifada after Intifada until we liberate Palestine – all of Palestine, Allah willing. Allah Akbar and praise Allah.

This is the same Hamas of course which Tweeted the following on their anniversary:

None of this should surprise anyone who has bothered to read Hamas’s founding charter, which includes the following:

  • Article 13: “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except Jihad. Regarding the international initiatives, suggestions and conferences, they are an empty waste of time and complete nonsense.”
  • Preamble: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
  • Article 7: “The day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight Jews and kill them.”

It’s challenging at times to continually think of new and more effective ways to reach those who still remain unconvinced of Hamas’ open malevolence towards Jews, and not merely Israelis.

I’m challenged not by the availability of evidence as to the immutably antisemitic nature of Hamas (and related Islamist terror movements) which, in the age of the internet, is abundant – but, rather, by the seemingly limitless capacity of leftist ideologues like Sherwood to deny, or at least ignore, even the most irrefutable evidence of the group’s homicidal intent.

During the Holocaust, before the age of mass communication, decent people could reasonably argue that they didn’t fully understand Nazi ideology, lacked a complete picture of the regime’s genocidal aims, or were otherwise ignorant as to the scope of, and danger caused by, such unimaginable hatred.

However, nobody today with access to the internet can possibly plead ignorance and pretend not to understand that Islamist ideology represents the central address of annihilationist antisemitism in the modern era.

As with the masses of “ordinary men” who turned a blind eye to Nazism, those who today, for whatever reason, fail to resist, or even deny, such insatiable and consuming Jew hatred in the Islamic world (whatever its ultimate result) will similarly not be judged kindly in generations to come.

Harriet Sherwood’s latest Guardian report on terror attacks from Gaza redefines the word “Sporadic”

A guest post by AKUS

Merriam Webster:

Definition of SPORADIC

:occurring occasionally, singly, or in irregular or random instances <sporadic protests> <a sporadic disease>

In her latest contribution to the abuse of the English language and misreporting from the Middle East, Harriet Sherwood writes:

“Hamas has largely adhered to a ceasefire that came into effect at the end of a three-week war in Gaza in January 2009. However, smaller militant groups such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees have continued sporadic rocket fire.”

However, as Israelinurse demonstrated  in her recent post,  “The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood: Terror Propagandist”, there has been frequent, virtually daily, firing of rockets and mortars  throughout August, September, and October, culminating in some 40 missiles being fired from Gaza into Israel over the last couple of days – as even Sherwood, had to note.  

When, in Sherwood’s mind, does “sporadic” become “frequent”?  Ten rockets and mortar shells a day? Fifty?  One hundred?  Thousands? How many missiles would be fired into London before the attacks would no longer be considered “sporadic”?

Of course, Sherwood managed as usual to put the cart before the horse in describing the latest round of heavy rocket fire into Israel:

“The weekend’s cycle of violence began when the Israeli air force targeted a group of militants in southern Gaza on Saturday, claiming the militants were preparing to launch long-range missiles into Israel.”

Let’s rewrite this so that the time sequence is represented correctly, and fix up the description of those involved: 

The weekend’s cycle of violence began when a group of terrorists in southern Gaza on Saturday were preparing to launch long-range missiles into Israel. The Israeli air force targeted them in order to prevent the launch. 

Finally, of course, Sherwood is quite representative of the Guardian staff in her butchering of one of the languages in which the Guardian appears (the other being Arabic). The sub-header to her article that was provided by some hack in London reads:

Islamic Jihad says it will stop firing rockets if air strikes cease after militants and Israeli civilian killed

If you have difficulty parsing this, you are probably not alone. Did the Islamic Jihad really want more terrorists and an Israeli citizen killed before it stopped firing missiles at civilians? Presumably the intention was:

After nine terrorists and an Israeli civilian were killed, Islamic Jihad says it will stop firing rockets if air strikes cease.

But that’s the Guardian for you. I can only assume that the software they use to translate their reports from their Arabic primary sources still has a few bugs to be worked out.

The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood: Terror Propagandist.

Propaganda:

An organized programme of publicity, selected information, etc., used to propagate a doctrine, practice, etc.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary

Imagine for a moment that you know nothing whatsoever about the Middle East in general and the Arab/Israeli conflict specifically. It’s a lazy Sunday morning and you’re flicking through the headlines on the Guardian website when you come across this one:

What conclusions could you draw from this? You would immediately know that the Israelis were active and the unidentified ‘militants’ passive.  You might reasonably assume that all nine were killed in the same incident. You would certainly have no idea why the Israelis suddenly woke up one morning and decided to kill nine people who, according to this headline, appear to have done nothing in particular to warrant such a fate, apart from being ‘militants’.

Then you read the strap-line below:

So now you know that it’s a ‘tit for tat’ affair – an ‘exchange’ of presumably equal and equivalent ‘cross border attacks’, although you’re still none the wiser as to what the ‘militant’ side did, or who they are, but you do know that the Israelis carried out air strikes and might even conclude that they initiated the exchange of fire and therefore breached the ‘relative quiet’.  Without perhaps even knowing it, you are already being steered in the direction of apportioning blame for the hostilities because so far, you can only identify one side.

Then you begin to read the body of the article. You would, however, have to read right down to paragraph eight before understanding that there were existing factors which lead to the very precise air strike presented erroneously in the headline as the start of the story – a theme further developed in its first seven paragraphs.  

“The Israeli Defence Forces said that its first air strike on Saturday targeted a squad responsible for the firing of a Grad missile last Wednesday, which fell in an open area and caused no casualties nor damage. No Palestinian militant group claimed responsibility for the launch.”

So, you would now understand that something called a Grad missile was fired three days previously, but that it was a harmless incident and that nobody knows who actually fired it. In fact, it is deliberately made to sound like as innocuous an affair as is possible (considering that Sherwood is actually describing the war crime of firing of military-grade hardware at a civilian population) in order to suggest over-reaction on the Israeli side as well as casting doubt as to whether the people killed in the air strike actually had anything to do with the firing of last Wednesday’s missile. After all, according to Harriet Sherwood we only have the IDF’s word for it and she naturally does not bother to present her readers with the filmed evidence of the terror cell preparing to launch another missile on Saturday morning.

   

Continuing with her underlying theme of moral equivalence, Sherwood states that:

“This weekend’s exchange of cross-border attacks punctuated around two months of quiet since a deadly confrontation in August following a militant attack near the Israel-Egypt border in which eight Israelis were killed.”

In fact, after the August 18th terror attack in which eight Israelis were murdered, a considerable number of rockets were fired from Gaza at civilian conurbations in Israel.

August 18th: 4 rockets.

August 19th: 17 rockets and several mortars.

August 20th: 64 rockets.

August 21st: 2 mortars and 16 rockets.

August 22nd: 5 rockets.

August 24th: 20 rockets.

August 25th: 15 rockets.

August 26th: 3 rockets.

August 27th: 1 rocket.

August 28th: 2 rockets.

August 29th: 1 rocket.

August 31st: 2 rockets.  

September 5th: 1 rocket.

September 29th: 1 rocket.

September 30th: attack prevented.

October 4th: 2 rockets.

October 11th: 1 rocket.

October 26th: 1 rocket.

This is what Sherwood would have her readers accept as ‘quiet’ (although one doubts that either she or her audience would be quite so sanguine were even one Grad missile to fall on their own family home) and it does imply some sort of double standard in Sherwood’s mind as regards the conditions Israelis are expected to tolerate.  

She further tries to exonerate the ruling Hamas faction in Gaza from all responsibility by writing:

“Hamas has largely adhered to a ceasefire that came into effect at the end of a three-week war in Gaza in January 2009. However, smaller militant groups such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees have continued sporadic rocket fire.”

In fact, the last twelve months of the ‘ceasefire’ actually looks like this:

In other words, Sherwood wishes to convince her readers that the Hamas regime has little or nothing to do with the fact that missiles and mortars continue to be fired upon Israeli civilian communities. She certainly wishes to absolve Hamas of all responsibility for the attacks originating in territory under its control.

The trouble with that theory of course is the fact that whilst Hamas was busy negotiating the release of 1,027 imprisoned terrorists in exchange for one kidnapped Israeli soldier, it did manage to prevent the execution of any and all rocket, mortar or missile attacks from the Gaza Strip, thus proving that it has considerably more agency than Harriet Sherwood would care to admit.

With her use of distortion and selective information Harriet Sherwood and her employers have become propagandists extraordinaire for an internationally proscribed terror organization which has for a decade been both directly and indirectly involved in missile attacks on Israeli civilians.

 One has to wonder about the roots of an ideology so strong that it can over-ride professional ethics and inspire attempts like those in this article (later slightly updated) to magic away the fact that almost one seventh of all Israeli men, women and children are currently held hostage in their homes and subject to repeated trauma as depicted in the video below. 

True ‘liberal voices’ would not engage in propaganda on behalf of those who terrorise civilians in this manner, but of course the Guardian long since sold out on liberal.

The Israeli humanity, and terrorist malice, which Harriet Sherwood will never report

While I’ll never know for sure if the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood consciously blurs causation when Palestinian terrorists intentionally attack innocent Israeli civilians, or whether her writing is so influenced by ideology that such obfuscation occurs naturally, her most recent post, “Ceasefire talks intensify as Israeli PM orders continuation of Gaza airstrikes.” is a case study in this journalistic tick.

Sherwood’s piece begins by describing the deadly Hamas terrorist attacks on Thursday which left 7 Israelis dead, including 2 young children – as well as the subsequent volley of more than 140 rockets by Hamas, Popular Resistance Committees, and Islamic Jihad  - as “the cycle of attack and counter-attack between Israel and Gaza.”

Sherwood further characterized the attacks initiated by Palestinian terrorists as “Thursday’s bloodshed” and, later, as the “audacious attacks.”

Later, we’re informed that “a 38-year-old man [was] killed in nearby Be’er Sheva by a Grad rocket, without noting who precisely fired the deadly projectile.

Inversely, per Sherwood:

An Israeli missile struck a group of children in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza. Three children have been among the 15 Palestinians killed by the military.”

Regarding the rocket assaults on Israel’s southern communities since Thursday, Sherwood breezily notes that “most of them have landed on open ground.

Of course, the hundreds of thousands of Israelis within range of enemy rocket fire can never tell where such missiles are going to land.

This uncertainty is why the city of Be’er Sheva closed all educational institutions on Sunday – a decision which clearly averted a potential loss of innocent life, as a rocket, fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, hit a school on Sunday morning which was scheduled to hold an orientation for 700 middle and high school students.

And, the destructive capacity, and unknown trajectory, of such missiles is why babies born prematurely – and cared for in Soroka Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit – had to be moved to protected, bomb-proof, wings of the Be’er Sheva hospital.

IDF soldiers move neonatal intensive care equipment to a bomb-proof section of Soroka Medical Center

Soroka is currently treating Israeli victims of Thursday’s terrorist assault and subsequent rocket attacks.

The hospital is also where fifty Gazans, on the day in which 22 rockets launched by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza landed in southern Israel, were admitted and are currently being treated by Israeli physicians.

In Harriet Sherwood’s universe Israeli humanity is never part of the narrative, and the undeniable malice of Palestinian terrorists can never be revealed.

Round-up and analysis of terrorist attacks near Eilat

This is cross posted by Marc Goldberg at Marc’s Words

Now that the dust has begun to settle more facts about this attack have come to light. So far there are 9 dead Israelis and 30 wounded.

A total of 7 of the perpetrators were killed by security services, 5 of them by Israelis and 2 by Egyptians.

What has also become clear is that Israel actually got off lightly considering the number of terrorists involved (claimed to be 15-20). Their objective may have been to kidnap a soldier or civilian and spirit him/her back to Gaza.

Israel had received intelligence that a major attack was about to be launched by the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a group affiliated to, but not a part of Hamas. Acting on this intelligence Special Forces units Yahsar Golani and the police’s SWAT team YAMAM were already in the area, accounting for their speedy response. Fighters from the YAMAM actually crossed into Egypt briefly after being attacked from the Egyptian side of the border. They killed 2 terrorists and quickly returned.

There is a timeline of the attacks here.

The attacks began with a terrorist squad opening fire on a bus injuring 10 people. They then opened fire on a car killing four people, one of the squad opened fire on an empty bus and detonated his suicide belt killing both himself and the driver. Then a squad from the Golani infantry Brigade arrived on the scene killing one of the two remaining terrorists only to be hit by gunfire from the lone remaining terrorist who then fled the scene.

At 13:30 local time 2 more gunmen opened fire on Israeli forces in the same area as the first attack. They are reported to have been firing from the Egyptian side of the border and were killed by fire from the assembled Israeli security services. Egyptian security forces are reported to have killed another two terrorists in the area.

At 19:00 local time there is more shooting from the Egyptian border with one fighter from the YAMAM reportedly seriously wounded and transported to hospital.

Today’s terror attacks in Israel show a worrying level of proficiency on the part of the perpetrators.

Not only did they carry out their initial attack successfully but, as this report of events shows, had correctly assessed Israeli counter measures and eliminated them also. Though in all probability the quicker than usual response of beefed up Israeli combat units thwarted the attackers in achieving their goal of a more prolonged operation and a kidnapping.

According to Y-net:

“Later a suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt, and another terrorist opened fire at IDF forces that arrived on the scene. According to [GOC Southern Command Major-General] Russo, two operatives were shot and killed over the border fence, and it appears that Egyptian forces killed two others on their territory.”

So first the attack and then an ambush of responding IDF forces. There are a number of details the terrorists would need to have in order to plan such an operation. First the bus times and route, the IDF response to an attack, including where the nearest military base was and the likely size of the force that would be sent to investigate. They also would have needed to know the border patrol operations on both sides of the fence in order to overcome them to get the force consisting of a suicide bomber(s) as well as at least one other person to set up the explosives that were later found and diffused by the IDF.

The second attack, which rescue services said was on a passenger car, happened close to the site of the earlier ambush.” 

This kind of attack hasn’t been seen in Israel for a long time, it serves as a reminder to the 1950′s before UN peacekeepers were sitting on the border. It can’t help but be viewed in context of the changed reality along the Egyptian Gaza border now that the new regime has made it easier for Palestinians to cross over into Sinai from Gaza.

There are ways that this could go from bad to worse and really it depends on the Egyptian response. Should the Sinai descend into a terrorist playground there will be more attacks and a high likelihood that at some point the IDF will cross into sovereign Egyptian territory to intervene. In a more substantial way than happened during the attack yesterday.

The Israeli response was swift and effective, a base used by the PRC was bombed killing (according to Ha’aretz):

“several high-ranking members including: Kamel Nirab, the head of the PRC; Imad Hamed, the person responsible for its military activity in Gaza; Khaled Shaath, a leading member of the PRC’s military wing who was involved in rocket attacks on Israel; and Khaled Masri, who was involved in kidnapping soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006. The Shin Bet security service suspects that Hamed is the one who planned yesterday’s attack near Eilat.”

The Egyptians have poured large numbers of forces into the Sinai in an effort to wrest control of the area away from various militant groups. The number of forces is unclear at the moment though it is thought to be over 1,000 soldiers and includes armoured vehicles.

The additional forces were sent in there before the attack yet clearly have not, as yet, been able to pacify the area completely. The number of Egyptian military units currently in the area is actually higher than that agreed upon in the Camp David peace talks of 1978 though Israel has consented to the higher numbers of Egyptian security personnel in the area.

Emergency crews treating the injured