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Again, I am having trouble with the “live” part of liveblogging, so I will provide the next best thing: a summary of events so far today, and possibly more frequent updates.
- An IDF soldier was killed this morning and another was critically injured as palestinians detonated an explosive device near an IDF Sufa jeep patrolling the area near the Gaza Strip border, not far from the Kissufim crossing. When other army vehicles, as well as an army helicopter arrived to rescue the wounded, they also came under fire. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad both claimed responsibility for the attack, with the latter even distributing candy.
- The missiles have continued, with palestinians so far firing 6 Qassams (including one that scored a direct hit on a house in Sderot, sending 4 people in to shock) and 4 mortar shells.
- The British, apparently unconcerned with the creeping Sharia in their own country, continue to focus on Israel and level harsh criticism at us. This time, a coalition of eight British-based human rights organizations released a scathing report claiming that the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is at its worst point since Israel captured the territory in 1967.
- Egypt are pushing Hamas and Islamic Jihad for a truce with Israel. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has already indicated he would be party to such truce, just to prove beyond all doubt that he has not learned anything from last year’s Lebanon War.
Updates (Israel time):
4:45PM: Photographic proof of candy time, courtesy of Reuters:
4:50PM: Honest Reporting has analyzed 124 photographs of Israelis and palestinians, which were promoted by Reuters as the “Best of the Month”, and found that – shock, horror – Reuters are biased.
8:10PM: Since my last update, a Qassam struck a home in Sderot, lightly to moderately wounding a man and lightly hurting three others. A second rocket fired in the same barrage struck a cooking gas tank next to an empty home, starting a fire.
8:26PM: 2 Arab adults and a minor have been indicted for alleged involvement in this near-lynching against two Jerusalem Municipality workers.
9:20PM: Breaking news: terrorists have infiltrated the Merkaz Harav yeshiva (seminary) in Jerusalem and opened fire. 4 students are reportedly dead.
9:23PM: Channel 2 reports that about 40 people have been wounded in the attack.
9:27PM: Ynet reports:
Two terrorists infiltrated a rabbinical seminary at the entrance of Jerusalem and opened fire after nightfall Thursday, police said. At least four people have been reported killed, the ZAKA emergency response service said.
Ambulances raced to the scene from around the city and paramedics confirmed that several more people have been wounded.
Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben Ruby said the slain gunman had an explosive belt on his body. ”One or two terrorists infiltrated the Mercaz Harav seminary and opened fire in all directions. One terrorist was killed in an exchange of fire, and apparently he had an explosives belt.” He said students were being evacuated from the building
Reports indicate police are currently in pursuit of the second terrorist.
9:28PM: Infolive.tv is reporting 6 Israelis dead, and one of the terrorists.
9:30PM: At least 7 dead.
9:32PM: Gaza residents are reportedly celebrating the murders.
9:33PM: JPost reports 6 Israelis, and 2 terrorists dead, with a 3rd terrorist on the run.
9:35PM: Unconfirmed reports indicate the terrorists may have been dressed as seminary students.
9:40PM: Shy Guy comments:
My 11 year old son just said to me “Abba (Daddy), if terrorists can attack in Kiryat Moshe (the Jerusalem neighborhood where tonight’s attack occurred), what stops them from attacking our home?”
We’re near enough to hear the sounds of the not-too distant emergency vehicle sirens.
9:45PM: The gunmen reportedly entered a dining hall where about 80 people were gathered, witnesses said, and opened fire.
9:50PM: Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav is identified with the so-called “settler” movement. From an associated website:
Mercaz HaRav Kook Yeshiva was founded in 5684 (1924), in Jerusalem by the first Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael, HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, of blessed memory.
HaRav Kook saw in the establishment of the Yeshiva – the culmination of his spiritual vision of the holy renascence of the People of Israel in their Land. The Yeshiva was founded to be a Center for Torah, whose purpose would be to raise up and educate scholars and leaders in Israel, filled with a deep love for their fellow-Jew, and imbued with the love of the Torah and the love of the Land of Israel.
It was an Israeli Yeshiva whose studies were conducted in Hebrew.
Today Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva is the focal point of a young generation aspiring to walk in the Way of G-d and His Torah, and drawn to the vision of HaRav Kook. Since its foundation, the Yeshiva and all that it stands for, has grown in influence until the name Mercaz HaRav has come to denote not only a Yeshiva, but a Torah concept which is the heart of a movement. This movement encompasses thousands of pupils and students in high school Yeshivas and Yeshivot Hesder, pupils and students in the Ulpanot and Michlalot (girl’s Torah high schools and colleges), and members from all walks of the Hityashvut (Settlement) movement.
It is a place where young Jewish men go to learn Torah and how to become better people (the two go hand-in-hand). I have personally visited Mercaz Harav in my yeshiva/seminary days. We are talking about quality people here.
9:52PM: Soccer Dad informs me his nephew learns at Mercaz Harav.
9:55PM: Officials have confirmed 6 Israelis dead.
10:00PM: Arutz Sheva reports that 6 students were wounded in the attack( 2 seriously, and 2 moderately), even though initial reports suggested dozens were wounded, since many who appeared wounded did not require medical care.
10:05PM: Abu Abir, a spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees:
“The only way that Israelis will have security is to get up and leave Palestine. All Palestinians will chase after every last one; we won’t leave them space to bury their dead. This is the first of many acts that the Palestinian resistance promised and started to carry out.”
I have an idea: let’s negotiate!
10:10PM: The terrorists were reportedly not wearing suicide-bomb belts as earlier reported.
10:13PM: Channel 10 reports that there were several terror attack warnings before tonight’s shooting attack.
10:20PM: Yosef comments:
I am downtown in Jerusalem right now, and I kept hearing sirens and helicopters for a long time. I used to live in Kiryat Moshe and used to daven sometimes at Mercaz HaRav. They had one of the most beautiful kabbalat Shabbats… I used to take guests there to experience it. My wife would always pray there on Yom Kippur. The most special people there- I’m feeling sick right now.
10:22PM: A palestinian source has told Ynet that the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades (belonging to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah) carried out the attack.
10:25PM: Hezbollah TV is claiming it was the “Mughniyah Brigades” of an Israeli Arab group.
10:27PM: The JPost quotes witnesses that only one terrorist had entered the building and that he managed to fire 500-600 bullets over the course of 10 minutes before he was killed.
10:28PM: At least 7 students killed and 9 wounded.
10:30PM: Ha’aretz has more:
At least one terrorist infiltrated the yeshiva, possibly armed with an explosive belt, and began firing in every direction.
Yitzhak Danon, a student at the yeshiva, told Channel 2 television that one terrorist entered the seminary’s library, and fired for several minutes at students with a Kalashnikov assault rifle.
Danon said he shot the terrorist twice in the head.
Michael, another student who only gave his first name, said he saw a terrorist enter the complex, and fire for some 10 minutes. “He fired 500-600 bullets,” he said, adding that most of those hurt were high school age.
Witnesses said about 80 people were gathered in the library.
10:32PM: Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly condemned the attack. I haven’t seen exactly what he said, but I’m sure it is not an unequivocal condemnation and blames Israel for the attack.
10:36PM: Hamas has blessed the attack.
10:37PM: I just saw on Channel 2 that the terrorist held a blue identity card. In other words, he was an Israeli (Arab) citizen. Which could lend credence to the Hezbollah TV claim above (10:25PM update).
10:45PM: The terrorist was a resident of East Jerusalem.
10:46PM: Infolive.tv reports that police and security forces are inspecting cars at checkpoints set up around Jerusalem searching for those who assisted the terrorists to enter the capital.
10:47PM: As I called above (10:32PM update), the Abbas condemnation is not unequivocal:
“President Mahmoud Abbas condemns the attack in Jerusalem that claimed the lives of many Israelis and he reiterated his condemnation of all attacks that target civilians, whether they are Palestinians or Israelis,” said Abbas aide Saeb Erekat.
10:52PM: These are the “civilians” with which you are sympathizing, world.
In Jebaliya, about 7,000 Gazans of different factions marched in the streets, firing in the air in celebration, and visited homes of those killed and wounded in Israel’s ground operation this week.
In Rafah on the Egyptian border, residents distributed sweets to moving cars, and militants fired mortars in celebration.
10:54PM: Elder has more on the celebrations.
10:55PM: A Rabbi from the Yeshiva just told the Channel 2 reporter that today being the first day of the new Jewish month of Adar Bet, there was much joy in the yeshiva before the attack.
10:57PM: I wish I had seen this:
The part-time yeshiva student who killed the terrorist, 40-year-old Yitzchak Dadon, said that he shot the attacker in the head with his personal weapon. David Shapira, a yeshiva student and officer in the paratroopers, heard the shots from his nearby home, ran to the yeshiva and “finished him off.”
Asked by a Channel 2 TV reporter what weapon the Palestinian Authority terrorist had, Dadon said, “A Kalachnikov,” and turning to the camera, he angrily added, “The Kalachnikov that you gave him, President Peres…”
11:00PM: It is still not clear whether the terrorist’s blue identity card was authentic or not. So it is not certain he was an Arab Israeli citizen.
11:02PM: Now I am hearing 8 dead + the terrorist.
11:04PM: Here is a BBC report of the attack:
11:08PM: Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter has discussed the proper responses to the attack with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.Actually, I shouldn’t say “proper”, since no doubt our response will be weak (as usual).
11:17PM: The anchor on Channel 2 just said that politics does not come into it (the yeshiva is affiliated with the religious Zionist movement); this was a case of young people being gunned down while studying.
11:20PM: Unbelievable headline: Two Palestinians killed in west Jerusalem attack: TV
11:25PM: The insanity continues: Arabs have attacked Israeli drivers near the town of Ofra, lightly wounding a man.
I am so frustrated….
11:34PM: The terrorist’s blue identity card suggests he was a resident of Jabel Mukaber in east Jerusalem. But as I reported before, it is not yet certain it was authentic.
11:52PM: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called the attack an ”act of terror and depravity.” I wonder if she also asked us to exercise restraint.
11:54PM: Check out the infuriating bias from this BBC interviewer, who seems to be blaming Israel for the attack.
12:00AM: The media is reporting that security officials are saying the terrorist was an east Jerusalem resident.
12:10PM: Here are some Reuters pictures of the celebrating palestinians.
Besides the obvious depravity of the celebrations, notice how the man in the first photo is firing his gun while holding a child.
12:17AM: I cannot even imagine..
Ariel, a student at the yeshiva, described the events. “I at first thought it was the sound of Purim firecrackers,” he said. “We ran to one of the rooms, because we couldn’t reach the exit. We brought some 20 guys into one of the study rooms, and blocked the door with two tables.”
“We heard the sound of nonstop gunfire and guys’ screaming,” he continued. “We were afraid the terrorist would come into the room.”
“The fear was terrible,” said Ariel. “We heard an exchange of fire, and the guy [who killed the terrorist] came and confirmed the area was clear. We understood we could leave. The scene was difficult.”
12:26AM: Commenter Michael P:
On the Washington Post website they have a video from MSNBC. The broadcaster first calls them “infiltrators”, then “terrorists”, then “so-called terrorists”.
Not only that, but the reporter mispronounces almost everything.
12:40AM: F**** Ban Ki-moon:
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the “savage attack on a Jewish seminary in west Jerusalem and the deliberate killing and injuring of civilians” in a statement he released.
Ban also expressed concern for “the potential for continued acts of violence and terrorism to undermine the political process.”
That’s almost as good as a Mahmoud Abbas non-condemnation.
12:56AM: The UN Security Council is set to convene in a bid to condemn the terrorist attack.