A Digest of DEBKAfile Round-the-Clock Exclusives in Week Ending November 22, 2012

November 16, 2012 Briefs

  • Israeli air attack kills Hamas anti-tank chief
    Khaled Sheayer, commander of Hamas anti-tank forces, was killed in Gaza Friday by an air attack over the Palestinian Interior ministry in Tel al Hawa.
  • Morsi threatens Israel
    “You won’t stand up to Egyptian fury, so stop now!” said Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, as Israel troops stood by at the Gaza border for a ground operation to end the Palestinian missile offensive.
  • Israeli resumes air strikes after Palestinians intensify rocket fire
    Israel agreed to suspend its counter-missile operation during Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil's brief Gaza visit Friday. However, Palestinian rocket attacks intensified after his arrival and so Israel struck the terrorist targets in Jebalya, northern Gaza. The Palestinians report two dead.

Jerusalem, Tel Aviv under Palestinian rockets

16 Nov. Signs of an approaching full-scale war increased Friday afternoon, Nov. 16. The IDF obtained government approval to call up reserves in addition to the 30,000 already approved. Hospitals across the country were placed on emergency footing. The security cabinet meets urgently after 550 Palestinian rockets fired in three days. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were targeted Friday by Hamas without casualties.

November 17, 2012 Briefs

  • Hamas keeps on trying to hit Israel’s nuclear reactor
    More missile rounds Saturday reached the Merhavim and Tamar local councils in the general direction of the reactor. They landed on open ground outside the desert town of Dimona.
  • Four Israeli soldiers wounded in Eshkol
    The four Israeli soldiers were injured by an incoming rocket from the Gaza Strip early Saturday in the Eshkol district, after Sderot, Shear Hanegev, and Kibbutz Nahal Oz were hit without casualties. Salvoes were fired continuously against Ashkelon and Eshkol – some of the former stopped by Iron Dome.
  • Nuclear watchdog can’t confirm Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful
    In its latest statement, the IAEA reported Friday it was “unable to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.” Since the last report, Iran has installed some 640 new centrifuges at Fordo and a further 700 are “ready for feeding,” the report said. This could increase production of 20- percent grade uranium, easily convertible to weapons grade, from 15 kilos per month to 45 kilos.
  • Palestinians: Gaza government building razed
    The four-floor building housing the Hamas government in Gaza City was bombed five times by the Israeli Air Force before it was destroyed. There were no casualties. Other IAF raids targeted the underground tunnel network used to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip through Egypt.
  • OC Southern Command: Hamas has vast rocket arsenal
    Maj. Gen. Tal Rousso told reporters Saturday that Israel’s Gaza operation has achieved a lot and especially degraded Hamas’ long-range missile arsenal of Fajr rockets, but some still remain. There is still much to do to do. The Palestinians fired more than 400 rockets in four days, of which 250 were shot down by Iron Dome, including one for the first time in Tel Aviv. The Israeli air force struck 950 terrorist targets in that period. Osama Qadi, Hamas missile commander, was killed in one of those raids Saturday.

Iron Dome intercepts Gaza missile over Tel Aviv

17 Nov. Missile alert sirens were heard across the Greater Tel Aviv area Saturday, Nov. 17, before the explosion caused by Iron Dome’s interception of one of the two rockets incoming from the Gaza Strip to Israel’s largest conurbation for the third day in a row. The second rocket landed harmlessly on open ground.
The Iron Dome anti-missile battery, the fifth, was deployed for the first time in Greater Tel Aviv that same morning.

Israel will strike Gaza until Khamenei okays talks

17 Nov. President Barack Obama, in a phone conversation with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu early Saturday, reiterated his support for Israel’s right to defend itself. He also spoke to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Where does the sudden harmonious Obama-Netanyahu cooperation over the Gaza operation come from? debkafile: The US is using Israel’s Gaza operation to drag Iranian ruler Ali Khamenei to the negotiating table. Netanyahu hopes Obama will be led into a military confrontation with Iran.

November 18, 2012 Briefs

  • Hamas missile chief dies in Israel air strike
    Yihye a-Baya, head of the Hamas missile system who was large responsible for the Palestinian missile war on Israel, was killed Sunday by an Israeli air strike. Palestinians report that the air strike which hit the Gaza Shatti camp killed 13 members of one family including 5 children.
  • Rocket hurts 4 Israelis seriously in Ofakim
    Their car was hit in the continuous rocket assault on Ofakim Sunday afternoon. Two are in serious condition. Another rocket injured a woman in her home. Extensive damage was caused to buildings and vehicles in Beersheba, Ashdod and other locations by an unrelenting missile barrage.. A fireman was seriously hurt in Shear Hanegev when he was hit by a rocket while attending to a fire ignited by an earlier missile.
  • The mayors of southern Israel oppose premature truce
    A joint statement released by the mayors appealed to the Government not to interrupt the military operation in Gaza before it achieves all its objectives and brings to an end the long Palestinian terror and missile threat from the Gaza Strip. The population is ready for great sacrifice for this end, so long as the mistake of Israel’s f withdrawal from Gaza before finishing the 2008 Cast Lead operation is not repeated.
  • Exchange of fire on Golan
    Israeli artillery shot back across the Syrian Golan border after an IDF patrol near Tel Hazaka came under small arms fire from a Syrian position. A shell from the same Syrian position fell short on the Syrian side.

Israel reviews Gaza ground action under heavy pressure from Obama

18 Nov. The trio conducting Israel’s Gaza operation are reexamining their plan to launch a ground offensive now in view of strong pressure from US President Barack Obama to desist – although he solidly supported the Israeli operation until now. Netanyahu, Barak and Lieberman are weighing three options: Sending troops into Gaza regardless; delaying ground action until Wednesday or: launching limited ground sorties Sunday night to test the ground. An Israeli delegation flew to Cairo after Obama insisted on giving failed truce talks another chance.

Obama: The next 24-48 hours crucial for Gaza

18 Nov. “No country would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens,” said US president Barack Obama Sunday, Nov. 18 in Bangkok. “We will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself.” In a pointed message to would-be truce mediators in Cairo, he called for a genuine peace process starting with no more missiles, The next 24, 36, 48 hours are critical. Further escalation would push a two-state solution into the future. As Obama spoke, the US Ambassador to Israel joined the Israeli Defense Minister on a visit an Iron Dome battery. Barak thanked Obama and every American who helped make Iron Dome possible. This defense weapon has intercepted a total of 300 incoming Palestinian missiles, nearly 90 percent of the rockets threatening Israeli towns, he said. Its performance “made it possible for us to prepare the next stages of Operation Pillar of Cloud which may be even tougher.

No truce deal for Gaza. IDF offensive escalated

18 Nov. Israel launched heavy air-sea assaults in Gaza before dawn Sunday, Nov. 18 after daylong bargaining among Washington, Jerusalem, Cairo and Gaza, failed to produce a truce accord. Israel accused Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Turkish premier Tayyip Erdogan of pushing Hamas’s terms to support its pose as victor.

November 19, 2012 Briefs

  • Obama calls Morsi and Netanyahu
    As the Gaza crisis hung suspended between a ceasefire and an Israeli ground operation, US President Obama called the Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi who leads the bid to broker a ceasefire and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Monday. Hamas must be made to stop firing missiles, he said. UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon arrives in Israel Tuesday after talking with Egyptian leaders in Cairo. Five Palestinian rockets hit Beersheba late Monday followed by rockets against Ofakim and Hatzerim.
  • IAF hits four Jihad Islami commanders
    An Israeli air strike hit Jihad Islami’s second-tier command: Palestinian sources report one killed, the other three injured all involved in terrorist and missile attacks.
  • Gen. Gantz briefs commanders of force on Gaza border
    IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz Monday briefed commanders of the units poised at jumping-off points for orders to enter the Gaza Strip. Speaking to reporters Monday, a source close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that if diplomacy failed to achieve an agreed ceasefire, Israel would send troops into the Gaza Strip.
  • Ashkelon hit in around-the-clock Hamas missile barrage Monday
    Ashkelon was struck by four missiles from Gaza, of which three were intercepted by Iron Dome, after Eshkol, Shear Hanegev and Hof Ashkelon were hit early Monday. Before morning, 17 rockets were fired at Beersheba, Ashkelon, Ofakim, Ashdod and Shear Hanegev, of which Iron Dome intercepted seven. Ten people were injured.

US warships head for Israel for possible evacuation of Americans

19 Nov. The US has returned three amphibious warships with 2,500 Marines aboard for standby off Israel’s shore in case they are needed to evacuate American citizens. The USS Iwo Jima, the USS New York and the USS Gunston Hall, were sailing west of Gibraltar on their way to Norfolk, Virginia, when they were turned around.

Iranian ship carries fresh rocket supplies for Gaza

19 Nov. An Iranian freighter departed Bandar Abbas port Sunday, Nov. 18, with 220 short-range missiles and 50 improved long-range Fajar-5 rockets for the Gaza Strip, debkafile reports. The ship turned toward the Bab al-Mandeb Straits and the Red Sea. The new Fajar-5s have a 200-kilo warhead, packing a bigger punch than the 175 kilo-payload of the rockets in use with the Palestinian terrorists of Gaza. Hamas has removed part of this payload to extend their range as far as Tel Aviv 85 kilometers away.

November 20, 2012 Briefs

  • Israel bombs Hamas gas pipelines in Rafah
    The IAF Tuesday night bombed the gas pipelines bringing Egyptian gas to the Gaza Strip through Sinai. All four gas lines in Rafah were hit, igniting a huge fire. The attack cut off one of the Hamas government’s main sources of revenue.
  • IDF Corp. Yosef Partok, 18, was killed in Eshkol
    Shrapnel from a falling mortar shell critically injured IDF Corp. Yosef Partok, 18, from Immanuel Tuesday in the Eshkol district.
  • An Israeli woman seriously hurt by shooting near Beitar Ilit
    The woman, aged 60, was shot in the neck Tuesday night while driving on a road near Beitar Ilit just inside the West Bank. Her car ran into a pile of stones and was attacked with bottle bombs.
  • Fajr rocket injures four in Rishon Lezion apartment building
    Dozens of people were in shelters when the 90-kilo Iran-made Fajr rocket hit the roof of an 8-story building and destroyed the top three floors. In Ashkelon, a civilian was seriously hurt by another rocket. From early Tuesday, 51 Israelis were injured, three seriously, by more than 120 missiles from the Gaza Strip.
  • Netanyahu: No symmetry between terror and self-defense
    Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said to UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon Tuesday: Terrorists don’t share your concern for civilian casualties. They sacrifice their own children as human shields as well as victimizing Israeli innocents.

Tel Aviv bus bombing injurers 27, three seriously

21 Nov. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined world leaders in harshly condemning the bombing of a Tel Aviv bus Wednesday, Nov. 21, as a “terrorist attack” when she arrived in Cairo from Jerusalem and Ramallah.
The bomber placed a bomb under a bus seat and fled before it blew up opposite the defense ministry and IDF GHQ and injured 27 people. More than 90 Palestinian missiles were fired against Israel from Gaza before nightfall, a good proportion intercepted by Iron Dome. The IAF conducted 120 sorties against a wide range of Hamas government offices, banks, safe house and rocket positions in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza rockets again miss Jerusalem

21 Nov. A missile siren earlier alerted the towns and kibbutzim just west of Jerusalem – up to Beit Shemesh – Wednesday morning, Day 8 of the Gaza operation – the day after two Palestinian rockets missed the Israeli capital and landed at a West Bank Palestinian village. Two houses in Beir Tuvia took direct hits, injuring a woman and causing shock. Iron Dome saved Ashkelon and Beersheba from missile barrages.

November 22, 2012 Briefs

  • Gen. Gantz: The IDF has the tools for any contingency
    Reviewing the achievements of Israel’s eight-day operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz said Israeli air strikes backed by precise intelligence had crippled Hamas’ military capabilities, degraded its arsenal and decapitated its senior leadership. Israel had strengthened its deterrence and demonstrated an exceptionally high response rate to the call-up of reserves. The Palestinian terrorists would not recover in a hurry, said the chief of staff, and the IDF had all the tools it needed to deal with any contingency.
  • Ahmadinejad welcomes Gaza ceasefire with reservations
    Iran’s president welcomed the Gaza ceasefire announced Wednesday night, but express reservations about its effectiveness, in an interview to a Pakistani TV station.
  • Lt. Boris Yarmolnik, 28, from Netanya, dies of his wounds
    A reserve officer was critically injured in the head by shrapnel from a Gaza mortar attack Wednesday on the Eshkol district. He was the second IDF serviceman killed as a result of Israel’s Gaza operation.
  • Gaza truce holds from midnight after first Hamas violations
    Hamas lobbed 20 rockets from 9 pm Wednesday night when the Gaza truce brokered by Egypt and the US went into effect up until midnight. They targeted Beersheba, Beer Tuvia, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Sderot and the Eshkol and Shear Hanegev districts, directly hitting three buildings. After midnight up until Thursday the Gaza sector was quiet after eight days of the thunder of thousands of Palestinian missiles countered by hundreds of Israeli air sorties against terrorist targets. The schools of southern Israel remained closed Thursday as a precaution.
  • Mumbai bomber secretly executed in India
    The Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, the only survivor of the ten Lashkar e-Taibe gunmen who killed 166 people in a murderous three-day rampage in Mumbai in 2008, was quietly hanged in Pune. Among the victims were the couple who managed the local Habad center.
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