Hamas pounds Israel with missiles, rockets, mortars, suicide bombers all day Thursday

Under cover of a barrage of more than 50 missiles, mortars and rocket, Hamas made three attempts to breach the Gaza border fence for major suicide bombings, the last one late Thursday, June 12. They sent a bulldozer to ram Netiv Ha’asara, a bomb car to crash the border fence and gunmen on foot to blow up the Erez crossing. Israel ground and air units foiled them all.
Israeli locations from Ashkelon in the north down to Shear Hanegev, Kibbutz Nir Oz and Sderot were struck by 20 missiles, one Grad rocket and more than 35 mortar shells. A woman was injured at Kibbutz Yad Mordecai. Sirens warned people under attack to stay in indoors, as fires blazed and explosions erupted – one close to the Barzilai regional hospital in Ashkelon.
The first Hamas attempt to blow up Israeli military guard posts at the Erez crossing was mounted early Thursday as the Israeli defense ministry’s political coordinator Amos Gilead traveled to Cairo to hand over Israel’s acceptance of the Egyptian formula for a truce in Gaza.
They were intercepted and at least one was killed by Israeli ground and air fire.
Wednesday, Israel’s security cabinet approved the decision by prime minister Ehud Olmert and defense minister Ehud Barak to accept a ceasefire with Hamas (called “a lull”), instead of launching the large-scale military operation needed to finally relieve southwestern Israel of daily Palestinian missile, rocket and mortar attacks. Hamas greeted that decision with the heaviest Palestinian barrage in months.
Its spokesman replied to an Israeli demand with derision: The captive soldier Gilead Shalit will be released as part of truce accord only in Israel’s dreams. Hamas PM Ismail Haniya said: “Ariel Sharon is neither alive nor dead a fate all Israel’s leaders will share.”
The population is preparing further protest action, accusing the Olmert government of cowardice, sacrificing their security for self-serving political ends and risking the loss of the Negev, the southern half of Israel.

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