CROSS POSTED AT THE PROGRESSIVE ZIONIST
The Israeli Defense Forces have struck Gaza with over 20 air strikes. One of those strikes killed Ahmed Al-Jabari, commander of the the Izz al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.
YNET is reporting
As part of the operation, Israeli aircraft struck at least 20 rocket-launching pads belonging to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Dozens of long-range rockets were destroyed, including Fajr-5 missiles. The destroyed rockets and missiles had a range of more than 40 kilometers.Haaretz is also live blogging this here: http://www.haaretz.com/...
The aerial strikes were accompanied by IDF tank fire at terror sites in Gaza. AFP reported that at least six Palestinians were killed in no less than 20 Israeli strikes in Gaza.
According to reports in Gaza, Israel also tried to kill Ra'ad al-Atar, another senior Izz al-Din al-Qassam commander. He apparently survived. The Palestinians reported that Israel attacked another top terrorist, but they did not release his name or say if he was killed in the strike.
Meanwhile, the IDF has decided to deploy additional infantry units in the south ahead of a possible ground offensive in Gaza. In addition, large IDF exercises have been halted and reserve soldiers have been called up.
Note: It is behind a pay wall so if you can't see it, I recommend the YNET Site for updates
I will also try to update with reactions and news as it goes.
So what does all of this mean... Well it all started last week when Israeli tanks and Patrols were operating on the border with Gaza. The Israelis claim it was a routine operation. At that time miltants for the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) fired an anti-tank missile into an Israeli Jeep wounding four Israeli soldiers. The Militants then fled into civilian Gaza.
Soon after the Israelis launched retaliatory air strikes which did kill some militants but also killed some civilians. In Gaza militants then started launching missiles into civilian areas of Israel. This has been going on for some time as I see pictures from a friends Kibbutz that has been getting shelled for a month.
What makes me think this is a major attack is that the Reserves have been called up and that troops in the South are on high alert.
What this means in the North and in the Sinai / Egypt - where Hamas founders the Muslim Brotherhood rule is anyone's guess. Right now the Egyptians have condemned the attack.
More to come.
10:32 AM PT: Update 1: HAMAS has stated: "No more Red Lines"...
Hamas is vowing to avenge the death of commander Ahmed Al-Jabari, who was killed in an airstrike earlier on Wednesday. Hamas official Ismail al-Ashqar said that the “resistance’s possibilities” are now open and include suicide bombings and high profile attacks inside Israeli cities.
“The resistance can cause Israel great misery,” he said. Shortly after the hit, a Color Red siren sounded in Hof Ashkelon and two rockets exploded in an open area. No injuries were reported.
12:08 PM PT: Egypt's Government is predictably condemning this:
"Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr condemned the series of air strikes that Israel is currently conducting against Gaza Strip and which led to the killing of Ahmed Jabari," the statement released by Egypt's foreign ministry said.
"He called on Israel to stop its strikes on Gaza Strip immediately," the statement added.
On Tuesday, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood sharply criticized Israeli leaders over airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, accusing them of heating up the conflict to score political points ahead of elections.
In its statement, the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party referred to Israel as a "Zionist occupier" and a "racist state," placing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on the "fringes" of the "far right."
"In the framework of elections that Israel is witnessing is a recent military escalation against occupied Gaza and the occupied Golan Heights," the statement said. Israel has set parliamentary elections for January 22.
Militants in Gaza have fired more than 110 rockets towards southern Israel since Saturday, when four soldiers were wounded in an anti-tank missile attack on an IDF jeep, and six Palestinians have been killed in the ensuing IDF strikes on the Gaza Strip in response.
4:13 PM PT: Egypt has recalled it's ambassador to Israel and Israel has recalled it's ambassador to Egypt.
And this from the U.S.: http://www.ynetnews.com/...
We support Israel's right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties," US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement on Wednesday.
"We strongly condemn the barrage of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, and we regret the death and injury of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by the ensuing violence," he added.