Sunday, August 21, 2011

Terrorism, retaliation, and what next for Israel?

What's happening in Israel right now is very scary - not just the terrorist attack that occurred on Thursday, but also the extensive rocket fire and shelling of the southern part of the country. A man has been killed in Beersheba, at least 18 have been injured, and there has been extensive property damage.
One person was killed last night when a Grad rocket struck a home in the southern city of Be’er Sheva. A woman was in critical condition and three others was in serious condition from the rocket strike. Dozens more were treated for shock.

Also last night, three people − a man, a young girl and a female infant − sustained minor injuries after four Grad rockets landed in Ofakim.

Three people were injured, one seriously and two moderately, when several Grad rockets fired from the Gaza Strip Saturday morning hit the southern city of Ashdod.
On Friday morning two Grad rockets fired in close succession hit Ashdod. One landed in a synagogue, causing damage but no injuries. The second, however, exploded inside a Gur Hasidic yeshiva. One person was seriously injured in the explosion, one sustained moderate injuries and four were treated for mild injuries.

Grad missile strike
“There were around 180 pupils who were praying shahrit,” said Avraham Mordechai Zand, who was in the yeshiva when the rocket hit, referring to the morning prayer service. “When we heard the first siren we took cover and then we heard an explosion. When we went outside I heard another explosion, and the rocket exploded about five meters from where I was standing. There was white fog, I couldn’t see anything and then two people who were bleeding came in. We started treating them until the rescue services came. The administration told the children to go home, and we asked them to pray gomel,” referring to the blessing recited when one is saved from injury or death.
Report from Ynet:
Dozens injured over weekend
According to police officials, Saturday was the worst day in terms of the number of rockets fired into Israel since Operation Cast Lead two and a half years ago – almost 60 rockets and mortar shells in 24 hours.

Massive police forces have been deployed in the southern cities and are working to maintain the citizens' safety.

Dozens of people injured from the rocket fire were evacuated to hospitals over the weekend, including three illegal Palestinian residents, who were hurt while hiding in an orchard near Ashdod. Ten people injured from a Grad rocket fired at Ashdod on Friday morning were evacuated to the Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. Eight of the injured have already been released, while the other two are still hospitalized in serious and moderate condition.

Three people were evacuated to the same hospital on Saturday, and another woman was rushed to the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva. The Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba is still treating six Israelis who were injured in the terror attack on the Egyptian border. Three people, two of them children, were evacuated to the hospital on Saturday following a rocket attack on Ofakim. The hospital is also treating a woman in critical condition, three people who were seriously wounded and a person lightly hurt in Saturday evening's rocket attack on Beersheba.

More photos of Grad strike
From the reports in Haaretz and Ynet, it appears that Israel will now engage in graduated attacks on Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza, which I imagine will result in the deaths of civilians as well as terrorists. If we believe reports from Gaza, it already has - see the New York Times report from today:
An Islamic Jihad member was killed late Friday in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City. A boy, 5, and another civilian were killed in that attack, according to Gaza medical officials. Islamic Jihad’s military wing said that it would force Israel “to pay a high price.”

At least 14 Palestinians, four of them civilians, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since Thursday. The Israeli military says it has been striking at Hamas training facilities, weapons manufacturing sites, smugglers’ tunnels, and rocket and mortar teams preparing to attack.

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