Blogging the Conflict: May 19th-20th, 2007

Looks like the Sabbath brought no respite for Sderot residents, who have been the target of 7 rockets today…so far. Thankfully, no injuries have been reported. Despite the rocket barrages, most Sderot residents have remained in the city (approximately 20,000 out of 23,000 people).
The only Israeli injuries today came after a Hamas anti-tank missile was fired at an IDF bulldozer in the northern Gaza Strip, resulting in the wounding of 2 IDF soldiers.

Meanwhile, the IAF struck a rocket launching cell, killing 3 and wounding 5. We also struck two suspected rocket production workshops.

The other news of the day was the latest truce between Hamas and Fatah, in which both sides promised to pull fighters off the streets, dismantle roadblocks and exchange hostages. However, shortly after the truce was agreed, a Fatah official survived an assassination attempt. Another truce, another day in Gaza.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

Latest updates here.

11:50PM: The IDF has denied it intended to strike the home of the Hamas leader earlier tonight, but rather fired a missile at a terror cell, and it is possible that the home was hit by shrapnel.

The IDF has also denied palestinian and Hamas claims that 7 members of the same family were killed in the strike, claiming the dead were 5 Hamas terrorists, and 3 bystanders.

11:00PM: 2 more Qassams have been launched at Israel, landing near Sderot.

10:27PM: The IAF have attacked a group of at least 5 armed terrorists.

10:05PM: Ha’aretz are reporting at least 6 dead in the IAF strike.

10:03PM: The IDF has confirmed that it struck the house of a Hamas commander, killing 5 and injuring 13.

9:30PM: Qassams are flying, but apparently so are pigs:

A Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP) official denounced the firing of Kassam rockets into Israel, saying that there is no connection between the attacks and the Palestinians’ struggle against Israel, Israel Radio reported Sunday evening.

Those that fire rockets into Israel are attempting to strengthen their influence in the Gaza Strip and dictate the Palestinian agenda, said PFLP executive member Yasser Abed Rabbo.

The attacks are stupid and allow Israel to appear the victim in the eyes of the world, Abed Rabbo told the Palestinian Voice radio station.

9:28PM: Palestinian witnesses claim that the IAF has attacked the house of a Hamas leader in Gaza.
9:15PM: Israel’s New York Consulate recently launched a blog covering political issues, as opposed to their existing Israeli culture blog. Needless to say, it it currently dealing with the situation in Sderot.

The blog can be found here, and is clearly designed by the same people behind the culture blog.

While it is good to see the Consulate get into political blogging, I am a bit bemused as to why they did not contact existing bloggers like yours truly, to at least announce their new blog, get tips, or even to share information.

8:55PM: Since my last update 2 hours ago, 3 more Qassams have hit the western Negev, including one in Sderot. An Indian restaurant was destroyed when it was hit by a Qassam, and a woman suffered shock.

This brings today’s rocket tally to 11, and the tally since Tuesday to 132.

Meanwhile, the IAF has reportedly attacked a rocket launching squad, while the Security Cabinet has decided to “intensify operational measures” in the Gaza Strip, which could include targeted killings of terrorist leaders.

6:50PM: 2 Qassams have landed in the western Negev.
2:55PM Defense Minister Peretz is launching a few salvos of his own – at Russian-Israeli tycoon Arkadi Gaydamak – who he says abandoned the Sderot residents he evacuated.
As opposed to Peretz who did nothing to begin with.
Other ministers also have attacked Gaydamak’s offer to fortify Sderot.
2:40PM: Sderot residents have called Defense Minister Peretz’s declaration of a state of emergency (see 12:55PM update) ‘too little, too late.’
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Olmert has pledged that the government will build bomb-shelter rooms in 200 Sderot homes each month, at a cost of hundreds of millions of shekels, and will grant frontline status to the towns and villages bordering Gaza, enabling residents to receive special protection packages, and certain tax breaks and other benefits.
Of course, this is way after Russian-Israeli tycoon Arkadi Gaydamak announced his plans to spend tens of millions of shekels in reinforcing buildings in Sderot and offered residents temporary accomodation in other areas of Israel.
2:22PM: Over half an hour ago, 2 Qassams struck Sderot, while 2 struck open areas around Sderot. The Jerusalem Post reported at the time that ambulances were on route to the scene of the rocket strikes. Subsequently, no injuries or damage was reported.
12:55PM: Defense Minister Peretz this morning declared a state of emergency in the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip, transferring civilian authority power to the IDF’s Home Front Command.
He did the same thing during the Second Lebanon War last summer. 
9:10AM:. 5 rockets have landed in Israel this morning, including one that struck an empty house. This brings the total number of rockets fired into Israel since Tuesday to 125.
Sunday, May 20th
11:32PM: Yet another Qassam.

Seriously, I ask my overseas readers: what would you do if rockets were being fired into your country?

11:05PM: Sderot – then and now (hat tip: Israel Matzav)


10:53PM: The Jerusalem Post reports that 13 rockets hit Sderot between 9 and 10pm. While one rocket reportedly struck a building, there are no reports of injuries.   

10:40PM: Terrorist have fired an antitank missile at IDF forces. No casualties nor damage have been reported.

10:25PM: The 8th Qassam rocket of this evening (I’m possibly wrong about the number; see 10:53PM update) was fired at Sderot half an hour ago. Thankfully, it landed in an open area, and there were no casualties.=”HTTP:>

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An Aussie immigrant to Israel, Aussie Dave is founder and managing editor of Israellycool, one of the world's most popular pro-Israel blogs (and the one you are currently reading) He is a happy family man, and a lover of steak, Australian sports and single malt whisky (formerly girlie drinks)