Ashkelon Struck


Updates below

Yet another terror attack yesterday, with palestinians in Gaza firing an Iranian-made Grad rocket at Ashkelon, hitting a shopping mall at a busy time of the day. 15 people were injured, with 4 in serious condition, including a 24-year-old woman and her infant daughter. In addition, 87 people were treated for shock.

Ashkelon is a city of 120,000, and about 45 minutes from where I live. In fact, the Aussie Dave family was in Ashkelon for a day during last month’s Passover vacation, and a day before Qassams hit the southern part of the city.

Palestinians would have been hoping for mass casualties. And sure enough, at the time of the attack, hundreds of people were in the mall. To compound matters, the alarm meant to warn of incoming missiles did not work. However, by the grace of G-d, more people were not hurt.

As is usually the case with terror attacks, multiple palestinian terror groups have claimed responsibility.

The Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, claimed responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for the group, Abu Abir, told Ynet: “This attack was intended as a message to Israel that if it continues to escalate the situation and reject the ceasefire proposal, Zionist residents of southern Palestine will continue to live under danger of mortal peril and this will be their own government’s responsibility.”

The attack, said Abu Abir, was dedicated to Palestinian refugees marking 60 years since the ‘Nakba.’ “We promise Palestinian refugees scattered all over the world – you will return to your homes that were robbed from Palestine in 1948,” he said.

The Jihad Jibril brigades, the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, have also claimed responsibility for the attack.

Two terror groups, two different justifications. At the end of the day, palestinian terrorists do not want to live alongside a Jewish state, but supplant it. And the more Jews killed in the process, the better.

Meanwhile, the government stated its commitment to stopping such attacks. But besides a routine air strike against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, the lodging of a formal complaint with the UN, and an invitation by Defense Minister Ehud Barak for US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to accompany him on a tour of the scene of the attack (she declined), it again seems to be a matter of all talk and no action.

Updates (Perth, Australia time)

11:00AM: Elder draws attention to an article in which palestinian terrorists claim Israel fired the rocket to garner sympathy during George Bush’s visit.

Informed sources in the Palestinian resistance said that the resistance had not fired a Palestinian rocket at the shopping center in Ashkelon. The source who refused to reveal his name said that the Israeli game is to enlist worldwide support and an omen of imminent invasion of Gaza outline Zionist Israel exists and create the world public opinion. For Kasaba, the source added that this drama it made up for Israel earn the approval of Bush’s interests are not obvious to one of the Palestinian people at the same time stressing that the Palestinians had not fired any missiles at Ashkelon, warning data intriguers to adopt practical Palestinians until there is no excuse from the occupation to commit new massacres against the Palestinian people.

It is worth mentioning that Al-Quds Brigades have denied any missile launched at Ashkelon today as did Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades.

Sounds very much like the recent Hamas claims that Zionists planned the Holocaust.

12:33PM: A clarification. Above, I posted that the alarm did not work. Actually, it has been deactivated due to five cases of false alarms in the past month, which led to panic.

Needless to say, it has now been reactivated.

12:40PM: A senior defense source has stated that Israel is on a collision course with Hamas.

More like Hamas rockets, since we are not really doing anything to diffuse the threat.

1:55PM: 10 of the injured remain hospitalized in the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon.

You know, the scene of this story.

2:50PM: CNN have buried the attack in a report entitled: Israelis, Palestinians clash as Bush arrives in Israel

The report starts with this paragraph mentioning the deaths of palestinians :

Israelis and Palestinians clashed in Gaza, killing four Palestinians including a teen, as President Bush arrived Wednesday in Israel to prod the oft-stalled Mideast peace process.

You then have to wait until the fifth paragraph to read about the attack, which is mentioned almost as an aside:

The talks, which Bush lauds as the path to an independent Palestinian state, are “largely secret,” National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters en route to the Middle East, but negotiations are moving forward.

“There is less known about them publicly than is going on,” Hadley said. “The issues are hard. And the process goes forward, and obviously the president is going to try and give some impetus to that process in the conversations he is having on his trip.”

Hadley added, “One of the things he needs to do is rally the support of the Arab world behind both Israeli and the Palestinian leadership so that they will support whatever is negotiated between the two sides.” Key players »

As those conversations were happening, a rocket hit a shopping mall center in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, wounding at least 14 people, including a mother and an infant, the Israeli military and emergency officials said.

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