IDF explosives experts identified four phosphorus shells among the nine rounds fired from Gaza against Israeli civilian locations Wednesday, Sept. 15, as Israeli-Palestinian talks resumed in Jerusalem.
This was the first known use by Palestinian terrorists of phosphorus whose use against civilians is banned by international law against civilians.Phosphorus shells cause severe burning and set off fires.
Hamas has cranked up its attacks since Israeli and Palestinian leaders began talking at Sharm el-Sheikh under the aegis of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday.
None of the participants mentioned Hamas' escalating war on Israel and the IDF reprisal was understated, a belated Air Force strike against empty tunnels in southern Gaza.
debkafile reported earlier:
Tuesday and Wednesday morning, three missiles, almost certainly Iranian-made Grades, were fired from Gaza at the two Israeli port cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod, and another missile and nine mortar rounds by noon Wednesday – 7 against Eshkol region farms and two at Kibbutz Nirim. This was the most extensive Palestinian assault from Gaza since Israel's Cast Lead operation early last year.
debkafile's military sources report that at least three explosions were heard across the port-towns of Ashkelon and Ashdod, sending people scurrying to the nearest bomb shelters, although the "Red Color" alert was not switched on – apparently to fit the official government line, which is not to rock the diplomatic boat. In fact, the army spokesman tried insisting at first that only one rocket had been fired and only hours later did teams arrive to investigate the blasts.
Tuesday morning as Israeli, Palestinian and US leaders sat down to talk at Sharm el-Sheikh, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades were fired from Gaza at an Israeli unit patrolling the border fence running past Kibbutz Alumim's farmlands. They missed. Israeli tank guns returned the fire, hitting the assailants, one of whom was killed and four wounded.
According to Egyptian sources, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to continue talking to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas without pause even amid Palestinian terrorist attacks. He reportedly made this pledge when he met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak at Sharm el-Sheikh during the opening round of talks.
Hamas seems to have taken this as the go-ahead for more attacks without fear of Israeli retaliation. However, a fresh menace – and a challenge to Netanyahu's pledge – has raised its head. The same Tuesday, IDF Col. Nitzan Nuriel, head of the counter-terror center, revealed that both Hizballah and Hamas have recently acquired from Iran unmanned aerial vehicles, missiles with a range of 300 kilometers and an array of weapons more advanced than those found in most European arsenals.
The Israeli officer warned that international terrorist organizations worldwide had established strong ties with Palestinian terrorists based on the West Bank and inside pre-1967 Israel. The military and intelligence assistance rendered Hizballah and Hamas by Iran and Syria, he said, had raised their operational capabilities to a level on a par with regular armies.