July 18, 2012 Briefs
- Egypt holds Hamas responsible for Israeli invasion
Shortly after the Israeli prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that an Israeli ground operation had been launched on the Gaza Strip Thursday night, an Egyptian statement was issued in Cairo holding Hamas responsible for the Israeli invasion and hundreds of Palestinian deaths.
- Israeli Patriot downs another Hamas drone over Ashkelon
An Air Force Patriot anti-missile battery Thursday night shot down the second Hamas drone to take off from Gaza and fly over Israel. It came down over Ashkelon.
- Chancellor Merkel: Hamas has new weaponry
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that it had become clear that the Islamist militant group Hamas was targeting the Jewish state with a "new quality" of weaponry, and any country that is attacked in such a manner must have the right to defend itself.
Israel launched its Gaza ground operation cautiously in the South. Hamas ran from a fight by sheltering in the crowded towns
18 July. The first hours of Israel’s Operation Defensive Edge ground phase against Hamas were marked by heavy artillery and air pounding to soften up the terrain as the ground forces went in Thursday night, July 17. The troops advanced in two heads – one north to Jebalya and Beit Lahiya and the other south, where it went into action initially against Khan Younes and Rafah. The IDF took its first casualty before dawn Friday: Sgt. Eytan Barak, 20, from Herzliya, who served in the Nahal Brigade.
July 19, 2012 Briefs
- Israel mobilizes another 50,000 reservists
Saturday night, as fighting intensified in the Gaza Strip, the IDF announced a further call-up of another 50,000 reservists.
- Beersheba is hit with 17 rockets from noon
After the Hamas rocket barrage slowed for a few hours Saturday, it resumed furiously in the early evening, targeting Beersheba, Ashkelon and other points in southern Israel.
- Two Israeli officers killed fighting off Hamas infiltration from Gaza
They were shot by Hamas infiltrators who came out of a Gaza tunnel shooting. An IDF force with helicopter cover drove them back before they reached their target.
How Human Intelligence (HUMINT) works for Israel’s Gaza operation – its crucial eyes on the ground
19 July. The outcome of Israel’s Gaza operation may be determined just as much by its unseen battle as by hammering Hamas. This battle can’t be fought with sophisticated high-tech gadgetry. Only “boots on the ground” can provide eyes and ears among the local populace. They are the cover for agents trained to operate in an Arab environment to gather on site the information needed for charting the Gaza campaign. Informants may be enlisted by motives of financial gain, revenge or guarantee of safety.
July 20, 2012 Briefs
- Second Obama call to Netanyahu about Gaza operation
US President Barack Obama phoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday to voice serious concerns about the rising number of casualties in Gaza.
- Hamas requests, then violates truce in Shejaiya, Gaza City
Israeli commanders rejected, then accepted, the Hamas request relayed via the Red Cross for a three-hour truce Sunday afternoon for the removal of its dead and wounded from the embattled Shejaiya district. Palestinians report 60 dead and 200 injured in Sunday’s battles in that district, a storage and manufacturing center of Hamas rockets.
It was extended by two hours despite attacks by armed Hamas bands on Israeli troops in breach of the ceasefire, the third accepted by Israel in the 12 days of its Gaza operation.
Golani Brigade lose 13 officers and men in Gaza
20 July. The IDF Golani Brigade lost 13 soldiers Saturday overnight, July 19, in the Gaza Strip district of Shejayia, it was announced Sunday. Their commander, Col. Rosan Aliyan, was seriously injured. The urban stage of the IDF’s Operation Defensive Edge has taken Israel into one of its most perilous wars, launched as Hamas’ rocket barrage against the Israeli population continued without pause. When the troops are done cleansing Shejaia, they face similar tough challenges in three more Hamas Gaza City strongholds: Shaati, Al Bureij and Nuseirat, before its terrorist infrastructure can be accounted dismantled.
The IDF embarks on perilous urban stage of Gaza operation
20 July. Hamas is planting small commando units heavily armed with anti-tank rockets in the paths of advancing IDF armored forces, as well as bringing into play its deadly tunnels. Four Israeli soldiers were killed Saturday by these two tactics. debkafile: Hamas shows no sign of cracking so far. Its commanders are reported to be certain they can keep going for another 4 to 6 weeks, while also maintaining a steady hail of rockets against the Israeli population. The IDF is accordingly conducting a major buildup of strength to start breaching Hamas’ urban strongholds.
July 21, 2012 Briefs
- IDF death toll jumps to 25 in four days
By Day 4 of the IDF’s ground operation in Gaza, 25 officers and men had been killed in action. Four were killed while guarding the Israeli side of the Gaza border Monday when terrorists jumped out of a tunnel 200 meters from Kibbutz Nir Am, disguised in IDF uniforms, helmets and flak vests. Ten terrorists were killed in the counter-attack. All roads south of Ashkelon were blocked and people told to stay behind locked doors.
Kerry and Ban launch truce bid to save Hamas from defeat
21 June. Three rival groups are in a tug-o’-war over a ceasefire initiative for the Gaza conflict: The US and UN; Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia; Qatar, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Monday night, July 21, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo to press their case.
Kerry’s directive was outlined by President Barack Obama a few hours earlier, “to focus on bringing about a ceasefire that ends the fighting and can stop the death of innocent civilians.”
Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi told them he would not amend his original ceasefire proposal to suit Hamas’ demands. Israel has reserved its response, needing to give the IDF time to accomplish its counter-terror mission in the Gaza Strip.
The UN Secretary said there was no going back to the “status quo ante” for the Gaza Strip – an indirect vote of support for Hamas’s conditions for a ceasefire.
Five IDF task forces advance toward Gaza takeover
21 July. As Operation Defensive Edge morphed into all-out war, five IDF task forces drove Monday, July 21, into the heart of Gaza City. Israel’s war leaders were drafting an operational plan for the military takeover of the Gaza Strip, having gained the confidence from the Battle of Shejaiya to speed up the army’s advance. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and, from the field, Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, have taken charge of the war’s management. debkafile’s military sources report that each task force, the size of half a division, is an integrated amalgam of air, armored, artillery and engineering forces, capable of operating almost autonomously in field combat.
More arenas are scheduled to be added to the list of battle zones Monday.
The high IDF death toll – 13 Golani brigades fighters Sunday, 7 Monday – has invigorated the fighting forces in the field, making them more determined than ever to get the better of Hamas with all possible speed.
July 22, 2012 Briefs
- EU strongly urges the disarming of all terror groups in Gaza
The 28 European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels Tuesday issued a statement strongly condemning ‘’the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, directly harming civilians. These are criminal and unjustifiable acts.’’ The EU called on Hamas ‘’to immediately put an end to these acts and to renounce violence’’ and said ‘’all terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm.’’ The ministers also strongly condemned Hamas ‘’calls on the civilian population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields.’’
At a press conference after the ministerial meeting, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said all ministers recognized ‘’Israel's legitimate right to defend itself against any attacks’’ but underlines that the Israeli military operation “must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law.’’
- US and European airlines suspend flights to Israel
Tuesday, the US FAA advised all US airlines to suspend their flights to Israel. A number of European companies followed suit: Lufthansa, Air France, KLM, Swissair and Austrian Airlines. They cited a rocket that hit a house in Yahud not far from Ben Gurion Airport runways. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg bought an El Al ticket and flew to Israel as a mark of solidarity.
- 20,000 Maccabi fans attend 1st Sgt. Sean Carmeli’s funeral
1st Sgt. Sean Carmeli migrated to Israel from the US to join the Israeli army and died in combat with Hamas in Gaza. He was an ardent fan of the Maccabi soccer team.
His parents who arrived for his funeral from Texas were joined by 20,000 Maccabi fans, who came to pay tribute to the young volunteer soldier’s bravery and dedication.
- Israeli man injured in drive-by shooting on West Bank
A Palestinian car opened fire on an Israeli man of 21 waiting for a lift at the West Bank Rahelim junction east of Ariel. He was seriously injured.
- Ashdod school hit in first round of Hamas rockets Tuesday
The first Hamas rocket barrage early Tuesday was aimed at Beersheba and Ashdod. A school in Ashdod was one of the many educational institutions targeted by Hamas by a rocket that escaped Iron Dome. There were no casualties.
- Smugglers’ boat loaded with arms intercepted on Dead Sea
A smugglers’ boat carrying arms and drugs from Jordan for West Bank Palestinian terrorists was intercepted early Tuesday on the Dead Sea in a combined IDF-police operation.
The missing Israeli sergeant’s uncertain fate. His family won’t accept his death. Hamas claims his capture
22 July. The IDF finally Tuesday, July 22, listed Golani soldier Sgt. Oron Shaul, aged 20, from Poriya Elite, missing after an initial attempt to declare him presumed dead, mainly to head off Hamas extortions. This did not work. It was not accepted by the family without proof, and Hamas was quick to claim the missing soldier was in their hands, without offering evidence of his capture or specifying whether he was alive, dead or wounded. They said they would make Israel pay dear for every scrap of information on his fate. This was just one IDF bid to mold facts for public consumption which went awry.
Israeli forces are fighting hard to win their first battle against Hamas, a savage and tenacious enemy
22 July. The gap between the “official version” of the fighting on the battlefield and the real state of affairs is growing. The statistics issued by the IDF spokesman provide little information on Israel’s military movements. Since most people have access to relatives on the front – not to mention prolific rumor mills powered by the social media – the credibility of national war leaders suffers.
While the IDF has the military edge over Hamas, the battle still needs to be won. Hamas is confident enough to fight on for better truce terms. Israel faces a ticking clock.
July 23, 2012 Briefs
- Hamas leader turns down unconditional truce
Khaled Meshaal, Hamas’ politburo chief said in Qatar Wednesday that he would accept a truce in the Gaza war only on Hamas’ terms.
- Central Israel again under heavy rocket barrage
A dozen rockets from Gaza were aimed at metropolitan Tel Aviv, Lod and Airport City Wednesday night. None landed or caused casualties. Iron Dome intercepted four.
- Three Israel paratroops killed in Gaza Wednesday
The IDF lost three paratroopers in an explosion in the Gaza Strip Wednesday and three armored corps officers Tuesday night. Israel has lost a total of 32 fallen officers and men in the Gaza Operation and one missing. Seven of their comrades were wounded, three seriously, and evacuated under fire as their comrades fought back.
- 30,000 mourners pay last respects to Sgt. Max Steinberg
Some 30,000 mourners were moved spontaneously to attend the funeral of Sgt. Max Steinberg, 24, a lone soldier from Los Angeles who enlisted with the IDF and was one of the 13 Golani Brigades fighters who died in the Gaza Strip Sunday. Sgt. Steinberg was one of the two American IDF volunteers to be killed in action in the Gaza Strip.
- Israeli forces shell Wafa hospital after anti-tank rockets fired
The Wafa Hospital in the Shejaiya district came under IDF fire Wednesday after anti-tank rockets were fired from the building which Hamas and Jihad Islami have turned into a command and control center and arms store. Before shelling the building, Israeli forces told inmates to evacuate.
- Kerry arrives in Israel to promote Gaza ceasefire
US Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Tel Aviv from Cairo Wednesday to discuss ongoing ceasefire efforts with Israel’s leaders.
- Mortar fire from Gaza kills a foreign worker in S. Israel
A foreign worker was injured by mortar fire from Gaza while working in a greenhouse in a southern town. He was taken to Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon where he died of his wounds.
IDF Commanders: Time for decisive war move after three victories in Gaza war
23 July. Senior IDF commanders said Wednesday July 23 that it was time for a decisive war move. Breaking up the Hamas’ subterranean tunnels would take weeks, they said, but the critical encounter for completing their mission and bringing the war to a close remained to be fought after three key IDF victories: The battle for Shejaiya grabbed the headlines, but the confrontations in eastern Rafah and eastern Khan Younes in southern Gaza were just as important. The commanders urge a large-scale assault on the bunker complex housing Hamas’ top military command.
July 24, 2012 Briefs
- Brazil and Ecuador recall ambassadors for “consultations”
The two Latin American governments have recalled their ambassadors from Tel Aviv for “consultations” in protest against Israel’s Gaza operation.
- Egyptian soldiers foil a Palestinian terrorist attack on Israel
Egyptian security officials in Cairo disclosed Thursday that their troops had killed a band of Palestinians clad in explosive belts at the Kerem Shalom border crossing. The terrorists were heading into Israel to stage a twin attack.
- UK FM Hammond: Cycle of violence triggered by Hamas
The new British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Thursday that the current cycle of violence was triggered by Hamas fire on Israeli civilians. He spoke at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. “Britain has been very clear about Israel’s right to defend itself,” he said but is concerned by the heavy Palestinian toll.
- Ban Ki-moon”outraged” by weapons in UNWRA Gaza schools
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon "expresses his outrage and regret at the placing of weapons in a UN-administered school," a United Nations statement said.
- IDF: 150 Hamas operatives surrender to Israeli troops in Gaza
In an incident Wednesday night, the IDF hit a civilian site in Khan Younes from which fire and rockets emanated. Suddenly, 150 Palestinians came out of the compound with raised hands – not all of them terrorists. Around 70 were rounded up for Shin Bet interrogation.
- Israel denounces the UN decision to probe Israel’s actions in Gaza
The decision by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to probe Israel’s actions in Gaza on the day that 80 Palestinian rockets were fired at the Israeli population was a “travesty,” said the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. This is “a kangaroo court.” The Council acted on charges of war crimes brought against Israel by the Palestinian Authority at the initiative of its Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
- Europe joins US federal authority in lifting ban on flights to Israel
European Aviation Safety Agency Thursday followed the US Federation Aviation Administration in lifting their temporary ban on passenger flights to Israel.
Hamas needs truce to counter Israeli Chariot-4 tank’s Windbreaker armor
24 July. While talking tough, Hamas is keen on a “humanitarian” ceasefire – not out of sudden concern for Gaza’s civilians but in desperation for an answer to the Chariot-4 tank’s Armored Shield Protection-Active Trophy missile defense system, known as the Windbreaker. The Russian guided Kornet-E missile and the 9M113 Konkurs anti-tank guided missile which Hamas has fired against them don’t leave a scratch. Hamas fears that the IDF’s 401st armored brigade’s tanks, the only ones fitted with this armor, will spearhead Israel’s decisive assault on is underground command, and has asked Tehran to find a counter-measure.