A Mixture of Flying Death, Preparing for Attack, and Seasonal Joy!

December 1, 2007


The two articles which follow from Arutz Sheva & YNet News describe the activity being experienced in Israeli zones to the north, east, and southeast of the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip.

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The Hamas generated activity toward the Israelis increased significantly this week, and many are now wondering when Israel is going to launch a penetrating IDF Operation into the Strip to diminish the degree of it.

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Begin Excerpt from Arutz Sheva

Kassams Fly, Army Prepares; Volunteers Plan Joyous Chanukah

21 Kislev 5768, 01 December 07 05:35

by Hillel Fendel

(IsraelNN.com) As Kassams continue to fly towards Sderot and north of Gaza, the 20 Gazan terrorists killed by the IDF this week are apparently the harbinger of a major IDF anti-terror offensive. Volunteers are preparing a joyous Chanukah for the besieged Sderot residents.

Four Hamas terrorists were killed on Thursday by the IDF, for a total of about 20 this week. The dead terrorists were engaged in firing Kassam rockets and mortar shells at Israel, or placing explosives designed to explode upon Israeli forces.

IDF Offensive Nears, Fatah Prepares

With Hamas preparing feverishly for a Hizbullah-style onslaught of Israel, including non-stop smuggling of explosives and weapons into Gaza, it is a matter of near-consensus that a large-scale IDF operation inside Gaza is inevitable. Now that the Annapolis summit has ended,

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the time appears to be getting much nearer.

Though Hamas currently runs Gaza, after having taken it over from Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah organization in a military coup this past summer, Fatah terrorists in Gaza plan to fight alongside Hamas in the event of an IDF invasion. The Jerusalem Post quotes a “senior Fatah official” in Gaza City saying that “Fatah won’t remain idle… We will definitely fight together with Hamas against the Israeli army. It’s our duty to defend our people against the occupiers.”

Fatah terrorists already fight against Israel in Gaza. The Washington Times reports that Fatah members took a day off from firing Kassams against Israel in honor of the Annapolis summit, upon orders from above. “But we are permitted to renew our regular activities once the summit is over,” a Fatah terrorist is quoted as saying.

Fuel Embargo May Begin

Meanwhile, Israel is trying to fight the Kassam-firing terrorists with a fuel and electricity embargo – with little success.


Over a month after the Cabinet announced that it would cut off fuel and electricity to Gaza in response to the ongoing rocket attacks, the Supreme Court has finally ruled that these measures may be taken – partially.

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The Court ruled on Thursday that fuel supplies to Gaza might be cut back, but

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that regarding electricity, further clarifications must still be provided. Electricity cutbacks are thus expected to begin only 12 days from now. The Court wishes to ensure that cutting back electricity and fuel will not lead to a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Kassams Fly

Kassam rockets continued to fly this week: One this morning (Friday), two yesterday, two Wednesday, and four on Tuesday. Mortar shells have also been fired, even more frequently than Kassam rockets. No physical damage was reported over the past few days.

Joyous Chanukah in Sderot

In Sderot, several organizations have banded together to hold a joyous and large-scale Chanukah celebration next week for the residents whose lives have been upended by the ongoing onslaught of rockets. Next Wednesday, the 2nd day of the eight-day holiday, hundreds of volunteers will descend upon the town, and will distribute family gift baskets, Chanukah donuts and chocolate coins while singing together with professional musicians.

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Three bands will perform in the streets on large open trucks.

Youths are to arrive at 3 PM, with families arriving around 5 PM. Many volunteers will visit Sderot families as they light Chanukah candles in their homes. The activities will end with a public candle-lighting ceremony, using a large Menorah made from Kassam rocket shells, accompanied by a huge musical event with Hassidic music star Aaron Razel and his band.

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Sponsoring organizations include Connections Israel, the Bat Ami National Service program, Yeshivat Hesder Sderot, Afikim BaNegev, Table to Table, Orot Hessed, and Merimim Degel.

Begin Excerpt from YNet News

67 wounded in Qassam attack

Rocket launched from northern Gaza lands in western Negev military base, injures dozens of soldiers, the largest number of casualties from a Qassam attack

Hanan Greenberg

About 67 Israeli soldiers were wounded after a Qassam rocket launched from northern Gaza landed on a military base in the western Negev early Tuesday morning.

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Four soldiers were seriously injured in the attack, seven sustained moderate wounds, about 20 were lightly hurt and the rest were treated for shock. This is the largest number of casualties to date resulting from a single Qassam attack.

Three rockets were launched at around 1:30 am, from the area of

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the Palestinian town of Beit Hanoun. Two of the rockets l anded in open

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areas, but one landed in the Zikim base, about 1 kilometer north of the Gaza Strip, next to a tent containing several soldiers from a battalion in basic training.

The wounded, along with their battalion members, were scheduled to complete basic training mere hours after the attack took place.

Magen David Adom reported sending 20 ambulances and two support helicopters to the scene. Casualties were treated at the scene and then transferred to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, and Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer. In total, 65 soldiers arrived at the hospitals, some to be treated for shock.

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IDF sources told Ynet that there were serious consequences as a result of a direct hit. “Sometimes there are direct hits, and then there are many casualties. That’s what happened this time.”

The tent that sustained the direct hit served as a makeshift meal tent and contained a number of soldiers at the time

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of impact. Several soldiers in an adjacent sleeping tent were injured from shrapnel and the force of the blast. Despite the rocket threat on the region, it had been decided at the beginning of training that the new recruits would continue sleeping in tents.

The attack on Zikim was claimed by the Salah a-Din Brigades – the military arm of the Public Resistance Committees. Abu Mujahad, the organization’s spokesman, told Ynet that the brigades had launched two rockets into Israel.

Shortly afterwards, the al-Quds Brigades – Islamic Jihad’s military wing – also claimed responsibility for the lethal rocket and said they would release further details during a celebratory press conference later in the day.

Islamic Jihad operatives celebrated the attack in their mosques in Gaza later Tuesday morning, using loud speakers to announce the number of casualties. The operatives promised to continue similar activities.

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Partial fortifications

IDF forces in the area identified only one rocket when it was launched, which landed in a Gaza vicinity community near the base. The area where the rockets landed has formerly been the target of several rocket attacks and, consequently, fortification projects were being undertaken in the region.

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In December 2005, the Zikim base itself sustained a rocket attack. As a result of intense parental pressure, the military decided to build fortifications on base, including cement walls surrounding the tent compound.

While it was decided not to fully fortify each tent, military sources stated they believe the structures prevented a much larger catastrophe from occurring.

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Nonetheless, Yosi Namir, a Zaka member who was one of the first to arrive on the scene, described the events as “truly severe… The rocket had landed on a tent. Many of the soldiers on base were sleeping at the time, which increased the panic. We assisted MDA in helping the wounded. Everything is a mess, soldiers shouting, calling for help.”

Orr, a medic on the base told Ynet: “We heard the ‘Color Red’ warning system. I ran towards the tents. There was complete hysteria… I think some of the people didn’t realize what was happening. You need to remember, these were not seasoned soldiers.”

Zikim base is connected to the ‘Color Red’ alert system, but the time gap between the sirens and Tuesday’s rocket hit was only a few seconds, such that the soldiers, most of who were sleeping, did not have time to protect themselves.

Future action

The incident Tuesday occured after a brief respite from Qassam attacks, which the IDF had attributed to Hamas’ desire to keep a low profile in order to concentrate on arming themselves, strengthening their position internally and expanding ‘terror studies’.

Given the attack, it is unclear whether the IDF will change its current policy of pinpoint incursions to deal only with ‘ticking bombs’ in Gaza. “A military operation is not a trivial thing. We need to take several considerations into account, including casualties on our side. As such, the decision is not a simple or easy one,” a military source told Ynet Tuesday.

Military sources also emphasized that although, “such an incident renews questions of how to act, we need to remember that we’re not operating against only Qassams and any military action needs to target terror of all kinds.

“Even if we go out on a particular operation, there’s no guarantee that rocket fire will come to a total halt,” the sources added.

AP, Shmulik Hadad and Ali Waked contributed to this report

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