Thursday, August 25, 2011

Operations Room - Israel Under Attack

"One million Israeli civilians maintain routine life under threat"

* Terrorism in southern Israel from Gaza

• Over all more than 100 rockets were fired toward Israeli territory since the terror attack on Thursday.

The "Iron Dome" batteries intercepted some of the rockets and the IAF attacked a number of targets and terrorist bases in the Gaza Strip.

30 rockets were fired throughout the weekend toward Israeli territory. The "Iron Dome" batteries intercepted some of the rockets and the IAF attacked a number of targets and terrorist bases in the Gaza Strip

At Yesterday (Saturday) only, 30 Qassam rockets, Grad Rockets and mortar bombs were fired toward southern Israeli cities, including Be'er Sheva, Ashdod, S'derot, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi, Ashkelon, and other neighboring communities. In the afternoon hours, two mortar bombs landed in open land in the Ashdod regional council area-sparing any injuries or damage. All The rockets and bombs caused one death case, four people injuries and 10 people were classified as trauma victims.

In response to the rocket launchings, the IAF attacked a number of targets in the Gaza Strip. Throughout the weekend, five terrorist teams that launched rockets toward Israel were attacked, and last night 15 terrorist targets were attacked throughout the Strip.

Likewise, a terrorist team was attacked a short while ago by an IAF aircraft, the same team that fired rockets toward Israel just a few minutes earlier. Additionally, two "Hamas" executives who were involved in terror incidents were killed.

* Rocket containing phosphorus launched at Israel despite ceasefire

Four rockets were fired on Sunday night (August 21) and Monday morning (August 22) from the Gaza Strip into southern Israeli in spite of a ceasefire with Hamas.

A rocket containing phosphorus was launched at Israel from the Gaza Strip on Sunday (August 21).

Over 20 rockets hit Israel on Sunday and more than a hundred have been fired from Gaza since the terrorist attacks near Eilat on Thursday (August 18).

On Sunday, a rocket hit a school in the city of Be'er Sheva.

The city of Ashkelon was also hit by a number of rockets.

Approximately ten rockets have been successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome system in recent days.

In response to rocket fire at Israel, IAF aircraft attacked two terrorist sites in the northern and southern Gaza Strip, in the early Sunday afternoon. Direct hits were confirmed and the aircraft returned safely to base.

IDF Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said on Sunday that "after the deadly terrorist attacks on the Egyptian border, Israeli communities are under constant Grad and Qassam rocket attacks from Gaza. The IDF holds the Hamas terrorist organization responsible."

Brig. Gen. Mordechai added that "the IDF's mission is to defend Israel and its civilians, who are threatened by Hamas rocket attacks originating in the Gaza Strip. The IDF will not hesitate to act in defense of its citizens."

* Defense Minister: Two more Iron Dome batteries to be acquired

Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited an Iron Dome battery in southern Israel on Sunday (August 21).

The battery successfully intercepted around ten rockets launched at Israel by terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

Barak mentioned that Israel has two operational Iron Dome batteries and that two additional batteries will be added in the near future.

Barak noted that Israel plans to have nine Iron Dome batteries by the end of 2013.

"This emergency situation may last for several more days and we will operate as necessary," Barak said.

"Several days elapsed since the terrorist attacks last Thursday," Barak said. "The IDF has been forcefully striking those responsible for the rocket fire from Gaza at communities in southern Israel. Most of the terrorists responsible for the attacks were killed in swift operations and we've been attacking terror sites and terrorist cells operating in Gaza."

* "One million Israeli civilians maintain routine life under threat"

The recent events on the Israel-Egypt border and the threat of rockets fired by terrorists in the Gaza Strip have placed the lives of the one million residents of Israel's southern region under existential threat.

While the Iron Dome anti-rocket system has been successful in intercepting a number of rockets over the past few days, it is necessary that southern residents abide by the civil defense instructions given by the Homefront Command.

"In order to save lives, Homefront Command instructions must be heeded as part of routine life," Col. Doron Mor Yosef, head of the Homefront Command's southern district. "We are in the midst of summer vacation, so there are many events and festivals planned in advance by local authorities. Having no choice, we had to cancel large events, in order to ensure the well-being of residents."

Col. Mor Yosef said that during recent events the Homefront Command's focus was on giving guidance to southern residents on seeking shelter, providing warnings of impending rocket attacks and assisting in providing protection to neighborhoods that had previously lacked proper sheltered space.

Col. Mor. Yosef said that Homefront Command soldiers were deployed to aid the population in a number of ways. Among other missions, Homefront Command soldiers cleaned up shelters that had been closed in recent months, supported local municipalities and government offices in responding to events and responded to media inquiries related to what was occurring.

As part of its efforts, the Homefront Command transferred the neonatal ward of Be'er Sheva's Soroka Hospital to a protected space and also provided maintenance and care for the shelters of various local authorities.

"We received many volunteers to help," Col. Mor Yosef said. "Requests from northern residents arrived offering to host southern residents for the near future. The mobilization and sense of solidarity warmed our hearts."

* Terrorism in southern Israel from Gaza

In the two years since Operation Cast Lead there has been a significant reduction in the extent and severity of terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. That created a new security situation, and improvement on that before Operation Cast Lead. The decrease in terrorism reflects Israel's power, restored by Operation Cast Lead, to deter the terrorist organizations. However, even the current level of rocket and mortar shell fire and the frequent attacks on IDF forces along the border fence disrupt the daily lives of the western Negev resident. On the ground, in 2009 and 2010 Hamas' restraint policy was effective both quantitatively
and qualitatively. The number of showcase attacks decreased and there was significantly less rocket and mortar shell fire from the Gaza Strip. In the two years since Operation Cast Lead, 261 rocket hits were identified in Israeli territory, 158 in 2009 and 103 in 2010. One hundred sixty-one mortar shell hits were identified, 108 in 2009 and 53 in 2010 (half of them in December). In addition, several hundred rockets and mortar shells misfired and landed in the Gaza Strip. The numbers are far lower than those recorded.

The use of indirect routes in 2010 was manifested by two instances of launching of 122 mm Grad rockets from the Sinai Peninsula at Eilat, Israel's southernmost city. Responsible for both attacks were operatives from Hamas' Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, however, did not admit responsibility for the attacks and in one instance even denied the attack had been carried out. In other instances Hamas and the other terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip sent terrorist squads into Israel through the Sinai Peninsula to carry out various types of attacks. Those plans included the abduction and murder of an IDF soldier, his body to be used as a bargaining chip, and mass-casualty attacks in crowded population center. The relative quiet was disrupted at the end of 2010 by increasing mortar shell fire aimed at military and civilian targets and by increasing rocket fire. In February 2011 a 122 mm Grad rocket attack was carried out against Beersheba, 42 kilometers (26 miles) from the Gaza Strip (for the first time since Operation Cast Lead). There was also an increase in the number of attempted attacks (IEDs, anti-tank fire, sniper attacks) on IDF forces conducting counterterrorism activities near the border fence, both within Israeli territory and inside the Gaza Strip (several hundred meters from the fence).

Summary of the Israel casualties resulting from terrorist attacks originating in the Gaza Strip In the two years since Operation Cast Lead there has been a significant decrease in the number of Israelis killed and wounded by terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. There have been five deaths, one civilian (a worker from Thailand) killed by a rocket attack and four IDF soldiers killed during counterterrorism activities. The number of casualties in 2009 and 2010 was lower than in the years preceding Operation Cast Lead, especially those caused by rocket and mortar shell fire, which were responsible for most of them. Between 2001 and 2008, until Operation Cast Lead, 14 civilians were killed by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, eight civilians and two IDF soldiers were killed by mortar shells and several hundred were wounded, while thousands, including children, suffered from anxiety, shock and post traumatic stress disorder.

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