It has been a relatively quiet night, with no additional rockets being fired in to Israel since we last met. From our side, the IAF has continued to strike terror-related targets, including 15 Hamashole houses, and another mosque used for prayers as a storage facility for arms (a large amount of Grad missiles, Qassam rockets and additional weaponry), a launching ground for rockets, a meeting place for Hamas terrorists, and as a communications center. Once again, the strike set off a series of secondary explosions and a large fire caused by the stockpiled ammunitions.
Meanwhile, an interim analysis of the situation conducted by the IDF has found that Hamas’ ballistic capabilites may have been overestimated (Hamas has so far fired 350 rockets in six days, whereas the IDF estimated they could launch as many as 200 a day), residents under fire are not panicking, and the authorities’ ability to tend to the public’s needs has improved since the Second Lebanon War.
In other news, the IDF expect a large-scale terror attack attempt in response to the killing of arch terrorist Rayyan, and the Egyptian Foreign Minister has told Arabs they should avoid placing all the blame for the fighting on Israel.
Updates (Israel time)
6:03AM: The IDF Spokesperson has launched a blog.
7:35AM: Israel plans to allow another 72 truckloads of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.
7:37AM: The IAF struck 20 Gaza targets overnight.
8:50AM: Within the last hour, 4 rockets struck the Negev city of Ashkelon and 2 struck Sdot Hanegev regional council. A woman has suffered a shrapnel wound, with several other people treated for shock.
8:55AM: We are going to spend Shabbat with the in-laws in the Negev, not too far from Be’er Sheva. Hey, life goes on.
9:00AM: The IAF has bombed the rocket launching squad behind the Ashkelon strike. Booyakasha!
9:25AM: I interrupt this liveblogging to announce that voting is now open for the Top 10 Separated at Births of 2008!
9:45AM: 2 Qasssams landed in open fields near Sderot a few minutes ago.
10:00AM: Israeli police are on high alert before the Friday Muslim prayers.
10:35AM: In a move sure to make the “Israel is committing genocide” crowd seem even stupider, Israel is allowing dozens of palestinian holders of foreign passports to flee the fighting.
10:37AM: Here is footage showing yesterday’s strike on the mosque/weapons storage facility.
You can safely assume that second cloud of smoke was caused by the weapons exploding, and was not Muhammed riding up to heaven.
11:10AM: An IDF soldier has thwarted a terror attack at the Tarkumia checkpoint after a Palestinian truck driver tried to stab a security guard.
11:20AM: Muslim hackers are hacking various Israeli sites.
This is how the Bank Discount site looks at the moment (click image to enlarge):
11:33AM: Police have changed the route of the No. 23 bus through East Jerusalem, fearing stone throwing by Arabs.
11:35AM: More and more residents of Israel (including yours truly) are familiarizing ourselves with these Home Front Command instructions.
12:22PM: Palestinian sources are reporting that the IAF has struck the house of Hamashole Atef Adwan. No injuries have been reported, and the IDF has not confirmed the strike.
12:24PM: These people are like crash test dummies…without the crash test.
12:30PM: The IAF struck the house of Hamashole Muhammad Maatuk, which doubled as a weapons’ storage facility, weapon’s lab, and an underground tunnel. Talk about all-purpose.
2:23PM: Just arrived in Meitar, around 10-15km from Be’er Sheva. On the drive here, we saw black smoke in the distance, in the direction of Gaza. I took some photos, which I will upload some time after the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday night Israel time).
2:30PM: Here is a fascinating video from early December showing the extent of the humanitarian crisis in “concentration camp” Gaza.
(hat tip: Suzanne)
2:54PM: Jews as sons of monkeys and pigs? Never! They are anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic.
2:56PM: I’m thinking these guys all go to the same dentist.
3:17PM: The palestinian Ma’an News agency reports:
Israeli airplanes dropped leaflets calling for Gazans to inform the Israeli military of the whereabouts of projectile launchers in return for aid and assistance.
The papers were found by the thousands all over Gaza Friday morning, and bear the signature of the Israeli military forces.
The leaflet reads:
Dear people of the Gaza Strip,
Bear the responsibility for your fate!
The Projectile launchers and the terrorist elements pose a threat on you and your families.
If you wish to provide help and assistance to your people in the sector, call the number below to provide us with the needed information.
The future of the massacre is in your hands
We will be glad to receive any information you have and it is not necessary to give us your personal information.
We will keep it as a secret.
Call us at the following number:
Or e-mail us at:
To provide us with any information on the terrorist factions.
Note: To protect your safety we ask you to be secretive when you call us.
Head of the Israeli defense forces.
Of course, they have taken liberties with the translation. Via Jameel, we have a more accurate version:
To The Residents of the [Gaza] Strip:
Take Responsibility for your future!
If you are interested in helping your families and brothers in the strip, all you need to do is call and update us with the locations of rocket launches and terror cells that have turned you into hostages.
Preventing a catastrophe is in your hands.
We would be happy to receive and and all information, without you neededing to leave any identifiying details.
You can reach us at the following number, 02-5839749 or email us at [email protected] to send us any information about terror activity.
Note: We promise full secrecy in your contacting us
Of course, the fliers are designed to reduce civilian casualties, but you could probably guess from Ma’an’s deceptive translation that they will not admit such a thing.
Israel has used similar tactics on several occasions, most recently during their 2006 war in Lebanon and earlier in 2003 during an attack on the West Bank. The fliers are meant to shake the civilian population and crush the spirit of the ‘home front.’
3:24PM: Ha’aretz reports that the IDF has used a sound bomb to clear civilians from Gaza bombing targets.
Yet another example of Israel trying desperately to reduce civilian casualties.
3:30PM: That’s it from me until after the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday evening, Israel time). As usual, I ask that you please keep the brave soldiers and citizens of Israel in your prayers. And if you have appreciated my blogging and would like to contribute, please feel free to donate here:
Saturday and Sunday Jan 3rd-4th – for latest updates, see here.