Operation Cast Lead Mon Jan 12th, 2009

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For other liveblogging, see The Muqata

After a day in which “only” 22 rockets were fired into Israel, the IDF stated that there has been a dramatic reduction in Hamas’ ability to launch rockets, with the launches having dropped by 50% compared to the start of the operation.

What hasn’t reduced is the cowardice of Hamas leaders, and desire to endanger the lives of their citizens, with reports that senior Hamasholes are hiding out in the basements of the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza.



Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire have intensified, with the Israeli Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Foreign Minister authorizing the Cairo-brokered talks which we previously deemed problematic. Iran, on the other hand, is warning Hamas against accepting the Egyptian truce proposal.

In other news, the IDF denied reports that an errant Israeli mortar shell was behind the UNRWA school strike, Egypt summoned the Israeli ambassador in Cairo to demand our compliance with the UN Security Council Resolution 1860, and a Molotov cocktail was hurled at a Paris synagogue

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

Tuesday Jan 13th – for latest updates, see here.

11:45PM: That’s it from me for tonight.

Brian of London and NeoZionoid may continue with the updates tonight/this morning if anything major arises.

As usual, please keep the brave soldiers and citizens of Israel in your prayers.

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Aussie Dave, signing out.

11:40PM: It’s times like this that I wish I knew more rude words in French.

11:18PM: From Moshe the plumber to Joe (here, via Rafi)

plumber

11:06PM: Another possible friendly fire incident has severely wounded an IDF soldier and lightly injured 3 others.

11:02PM: The IDF Spokesperson has this nifty summary of today’s events:

During Monday’s (Jan. 12) operations, IDF forces uncovered a tunnel built to permit terrorists to enter Israel and carry out a large scale terror attack. The entrance to the tunnel was in a house located 300 meters from the security fence.

120 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom and Karni crossings. These trucks carried 3,100 tons of food, medical equipment, and other basic supplies (including smuggled electronic equipment; see 6:45PM update – ed.)

Since the start of Operation Cast Lead, approximately 920 trucks of humanitarian aid and over 1,000,000 liters of diesel fuel were transferred to the Gaza Strip

IDF Ground Forces hit a number of armed gunmen in different incidents:

IDF forces hit a female terrorist who was about to carry out an attack against the forces.

Other forces uncovered a house rigged with explosives in the East of Gaza city. The house was detonated in a controlled manner.

Armored Corps forces identified a squad of armed gunmen launching mortar shells at IDF forces, and responded with fire, hitting the squad.

Ground Forces directed the IAF in attacking squads of armed gunmen in a number of clashes.

The IAF targeted over 60 Hamas terrorist sites in Gaza throughout Monday (Jan. 12), including:

  • Over 20 smuggling tunnels along the Rafah border.
  • 9 squads of armed gunmen
  • 2 mortar launchers
  • 9 rocket launching sites

Approximately 20 rockets and mortar shells were launched into Israel today; two rockets directly hit houses in Ashkelon and Sderot, causing severe damage.

In addition, one IDF soldier was lightly wounded in the fighting today

10:10PM: Outgoing US President George Bush in his final press conference, talking about the situation in Gaza.

9:56PM: Some nice pictures from today’s events found here.

9:46PM: The Daily Barr: The unhinged one covers quite a few topics today, including love:

WAKE UP HATERS;

jesus was a jew, a leftist and a feminist. kiss his ass and mine!

Somehow, I don’t think that’s what meant by “turn the other cheek.” As for the invitation, I couldn’t think of many less appealing things.

Then she moves to philosophy:

the mother of heaven

the shekkinah is being revealed to us—she will simply eat the alien human and then rebirth it again at a later carbon tested time or on a different satelite that she uses for growing her babies. we gave birth to the indigo children. their skin is greenie

Um..ok..

Followed by the mandatory Middle East post:

this is how israel can make peace and survive:

—there is no real religious problem, there is only a labor problem…the palestinians are the suppliers of israel’s labor, and they want decent living conditions and a living wage.

Yeah. I think article 23 of the Hamas covenant makes some minimum wage stipulations.

But it is her most recent post with which I can actually agree:

i think i have gone over the crazy edge

9:20PM: Reuters is reporting that the Free Gaza boat headed from Cyprus to Gaza has turned back due to engine troubles.

Coming soon: the Israelis sabotaged our boat.

9:08PM: Channel 2 has reported that Haniyeh has requested a ceasefire. I guess “victory” is not as near as he thought.

8:28PM: Head Hamashole Ismail Haniyeh is running off at the mouth, letting his people know that “victory is near” and “[Hamas] will prevail.”

I guess he has a different view of things than the rest of us from his bunker.

8:25PM: Introducing our rather dignified and discrete Prime Minister.

Speaking in Ashkelon, Olmert took pride in demonstrating his close relations with US President George W. Bush and his great support for Israel when he recounted how he urged the US president to intervene.

“Early Friday morning [Israel time], [we knew that] the secretary of state was considering bringing the cease-fire resolution to a UNSC vote and we didn’t want her to vote for it. Suddenly, within ten minutes it became clear that, the vote was going ahead.

“I [called the White House and] said, ‘Get President Bush on the phone.’ They tried, and told me he was in the middle of a lecture in Philadelphia. I said, ‘I’m not interested, I need to speak to him now.’ He got down from the podium, went out and took the phone call. I told him that the US cannot possibly vote in favor of this resolution. He immediately called the secretary of state and told her not to vote for it. She was left quite embarrassed.”

6:58PM: Hamas warning:

As you can see, these are reasonable people with whom we can talk and negotiate a peaceful solution.

6:53PM: Wow. The Arab parties Balad and United Arab List-Ta’al have been disqualified from running in Israel’s upcoming February elections.

The petition to disqualify them was filed last Thursday by Israel Beiteinu and the National Union, based on section 7A of the Basic Law:

The Knesset, under which ‘a candidates’ list shall not participate in elections to the Knesset if its objectives or actions, expressly or by implication, include one of the following: (1) negation of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; (2) incitement to racism; (3) support of an armed struggle against Israel by supporting an enemy state or a terrorist organization.

That is what they’ve been doing, so from my point of view it is a good decision made way too late.

Meanwhile, you have to love this:

Outside the meeting hall, an argument broke out between Zahalka and MK David Tal (Kadima), during which Zahalka said, “You drink Palestinians’ blood, you are a racist.”

Yep. Invoke the anti-Semitic stereotype of the blood-drinking Jew, and then accuse us of being racist.

6:45PM: Hmmm..

Israel said on Monday it was investigating how a night-vision security camera and other electronics ended up on humanitarian aid trucks bound for the war-torn Gaza Strip. The equipment was seized at the Kerem Shalom border crossing before entering the coastal enclave along with truckloads of food, medicine and other humanitarian goods, said defence official Peter Lerner.

Gee, that’s a tough one.

6:42PM: According to army estimates (based on intelligence and information obtained by the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration), at least 400 of the palestinians killed are known Hamas operatives. Furthermore, the IDF believes that among the remaining 500, at least half are Hamas operatives. In other words, more than 650 of the 905 dead could well have been Hamas terrorists, which is a starkly different picture to the one being painted by the likes of Hamas, UNRWA, and the world media.

6:33PM: The IAF has struck 2200 targets in Gaza since the beginning of the operation.

5:02PM: An IDF tank has gone up in flames due to an electrical problem. No injuries have been reported.

4:50PM: The UN Human Rights Council has voted to condemn Hamas’ firing rockets deliberately at innocent civilians, and using their own people as human shields.

Just kidding.

4:07PM: The IAF has bombed another mosque confirmed to contain weapons (including Qassam and Katyusha rockets).

3:30PM: A photo allegedly taken in Turkey.

turkey1

2:45PM: Prime Minister Olmert has criticized the global media.

“Anyone watching global media might, heaven forbid, think for a moment that this military effort in recent weeks broke out for no reason.

No one mentions or remembers the ease in which rockets hit innocents, children and their parents in Israel, and disrupted lives. It’s as if all this didn’t happen. All there is is the warfare put up by the Israeli fighter after decades of restraint, restraint that no other country in the world would have shown.

Now they only speak of Israel’s brutality. For some reason, they do not speak of the Palestinians’ incessant murderousness towards us, as well as towards other Palestinians, or of the use of civilians in Gaza as human shields against the IDF.

But we know the truth – we did not declare a war on the residents of Gaza, they are not our enemies, we do not wish to harm them. Every civilian, child or adult, that is not involved in terror and was injured as part of the war effort, is a victim that we regret and would like to avoid.”

2:05PM: The French want European military observers in Gaza to monitor any eventual ceasefire between Israel  and Hamas. Because we all see how well UNIFIL has worked out in southern Lebanon.

1:18PM: 4 more rockets have been fired at Sderot, with one directly hitting a (thankfully empty) house. Today’s rocket tally stands at 16, which is almost as many as were fired into Israel yesterday (22).

1:00PM: The IDF’s overnight activities included:

  • Golani forces hitting a number of armed gunmen during clashes in the northern Gaza Strip.
  • Giv’ati forces uncovering a mortar shell.
  • Ground forces assisting the aiming of aerial attacks against groups of armed gunmen.
  • The IAF striking 10 targets, including 5 Hamasholes, 4 weaponry storehouses in Hamashole houses, 2 smuggling tunnels located under Hamashole houses, a smuggling tunnel located under Gaza’s border with Egypt, and one rocket launching position.

11:58PM: Humanitarian lull watch: A Qassam rocket has scored a direct hit on a house in Ashkelon.

11:22AM: Two successive items in the Ha’aretz news ticker:

11:16      Tony Blair says elements are in place for Gaza cease-fire (AP)

11:07     Report: Hamas rebuffs proposal for long cease-fire in Gaza (Haaretz)

So Hamas agreement to a ceasefire is not an essential element? Or alternatively, Blair is referring to a short ceasefire.

11:15AM: Terrorists have fired 2 mortars on Eshkol.

11:07AM: Watch this HardTalk interview in which Osama Hamdan, Senior Hamashole in Lebanon, gets ripped a new one.

10:21AM: 2 more rockets landed in open areas a short time ago.

10:00AM: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has said that Hamas has been hit hard, and the main objective now is to stop the arms smuggling from Egypt to Gaza.

9:07AM: Between 10:00 and 1:00 today, the IDF is to again allow a humanitarian lull. Otherwise known to Hamas as a “free shot.”

8:56AM: Earlier this hour, a grad rocket landed near Kiryat Gat, with no injuries or damage being reported.

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