Thursday, January 01, 2009

Gaza ground invasion looks likely as weather clears

An Israeli ground assault on Gaza is looking increasingly likely after the Jewish state rejected international diplomatic efforts calling for a ceasefire.

After two days of rain and cloud cover which made the use of tanks and armoured infantry difficult, the skies over the Gaza Strip cleared today.

Israel's security cabinet of Ehud Olmert, prime minister, Ehud Barak, defence minister, and Tzipi Livni, Foreign Minister, were due to meet to decide on the next stage of Operation Cast Lead.

Since the attacks began last Saturday, a total of 450 targets have been struck by guided bombs and missiles. But with the number of potential targets now declining the cabinet will need to decide whether to keep up pressure on Hamas by sending in Israeli ground forces.

An Israeli security source said: "There is a strong sense that for the first time Hamas is on the back foot and the decision must be taken on how to push through our advantage."

Any ground operation is expected to lead to a surge in the number of civilian Palestinian casualties.

Israel's three major ground offensives into Gaza since 2005 – operations Summer Rains, Autumn Clouds, Hot Winter and Cast Lead – have all been targeted against militants but nevertheless caused hundreds of civilian deaths.

Israel has massed several brigades of infantry and Merkava main battle tanks on the perimeter fence around Gaza and has called up thousands of reservists to swell the number of combat soldiers available.

After five days of air attacks Israeli air force commanders have been running out of targets to hit from the air although it moves swiftly to bomb any groups inside Gaza assessed to be militants preparing to fire rockets. Overnight there was a relatively low level of activity.

You can read the rest of the report at this link: Weather

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:14 AM   4 comments


At 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 6:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since Israel left Gaza in 2005, terrorists have launched more than 6,300 rockets and mortars into Israel from Gaza. The attacks have killed 10 civilians, wounded more than 780 and traumatized hundreds of thousands of others.

During the past year, Iran-backed terrorist groups in Gaza have fired more than 3,000 rockets, missiles and mortars at Israeli civilians in the southern Negev region, killing four people, wounding more than 270, and psychologically traumatising hundreds of thousands.

Hamas and other Iran-backed Palestinian groups in Gaza continue to kill and wound Israeli civilians by launching almost daily attacks. Israel took action to defend its citizens with targeted airstrikes against terrorist leaders and their strongholds.

In the eight days after Israel's ceasefire with Iran-backed Hamas formally ended Friday (Dec. 19, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired more than 170 missiles, rockets and mortars at Israeli civilians, killing a 30-year-old resident of the southern Negev city of Netivot and wounding four.

Responding to the terrorism, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a televised interview to Gaza's citizens Dec. 25 on the Arabic TV network al-Arabiya "You the citizens of Gaza, you can stop it. I know how much you want to get up in the morning to quiet, to take your children to kindergarten or school, the way we do, the way they want to in Sderot and Netivot.

"We want to live as good neighbors with Gaza," Olmert said." We do not want to harm you. We will not allow a humanitarian crisis and that you should suffer from a lack of food or medicines. We do not want to fight the Palestinian people but we will not allow Hamas to strike our children."

Despite the ongoing rocket and missile attacks, Israel on Friday (Dec. 26) transferred more than 90 truckloads of vital goods to Gaza residents.

See for a comprehensive list of humanitarian aid delivered during the six-month ceasefire.

The only remaining Israeli in Gaza is Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit who was abducted from Israel on June 25, 2006 by Hamas in a bloody cross-border raid in which the terrorists killed two IDF soldiers and wounded four others.

During a visit five months ago to the southern Israeli city of Sderot, then-candidate and now President-elect Barack Obama defended Israel's right to protect itself from such attacks: "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything to stop that, and would expect Israel to do the same thing."

In addition to firing missiles at Israeli civilians, the terrorist groups have conducted a sustained campaign of attacks against the border crossings from Gaza into Israel. In 2008 alone, there have been more than 17 attacks or attempted attacks on the crossings.

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