A Major Escalation in Violence

Yesterday, Jerusalem Day turned into a day of significantly increased violence when terrorists fired a volley of rockets towards the city, causing air raid sirens to sound there for the first time in many months.

At a Jerusalem Day ceremony held at Ammunition Hill, Israel’s Prime Minister warned that they would respond with great force because the terrorists in Gaza had crossed a red line.

Netanyahu speaks at Jerusalem Day ceremonyNetanyahu speaks at Jerusalem Day ceremony (photo: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

 

“We will not tolerate attacks on our territory, on our capital, on our citizens
and on our soldiers. Whoever attacks us will pay a heavy price.”

He went on to say that Israel did not want an escalation, but the conflict “could continue for some time.”

So it was that Israel responded with airstrikes against terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip and the terrorists fired more rockets into southern Israel. According to the Health Ministry in Gaza, at least 23 people were killed overnight Monday into Tuesday, including nine children, with another 107 people injured.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) replied that at least 15 of those killed were members of Hamas who were caught in the process of launching rockets or anti-tank guided missiles at Israel. IDF spokesman Hidai Zilberman claimed that some of those killed in Gaza, including at least three children, were hit by terrorist rockets that went astray from their intended targets.

Rockets fired from the Gaza StripRockets fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel (photo: AP/Khalil Hamra)

He said Israel was taking steps to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties, but that such casualties were liable to occur because Hamas deliberately operates within densely populated areas to use civilians as human shields.

Reporting of the troubles by UK media has been mixed in terms of its accuracy, with the BBC posting an article that seemed to put the emphasis on the airstrikes launched by Israel, rather than the rocket attacks by the terrorists. The BBC’s Tuesday morning article seemed to be more balanced, emphasizing early on that ‘the violence escalated on Monday night after Palestinian militants fired rockets towards Jerusalem.’

ITV News’ headline this morning also put the emphasis on the Israeli airstrikes, although the included video report by their Senior International Correspondent, John Irvine, achieved a better balance in describing the impact of the terrorist rocket fire.

Similarly, the report on the Sky News website put the initial emphasis on the Israeli airstrikes, but quickly moved on to describing the number of rockets fired at Israel and an extensive quote from another IDF spokesman. Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus claimed:

“Thirty-three percent of the rockets fell short and exploded inside Gaza,
an abnormally high misfire rate, maybe indicating poor quality.
Hamas rockets are falling short and causing damage inside Gaza ...
we know they are falling short because of our radar systems.”

He added that:

“Hamas is nurturing a narrative that the IDF is killing non-combatants.
We take every effort to avoid killing non-combatants - but can’t confirm or
deny yet whether Israeli strikes have hit civilians.”

 

UPDATE 5:00 pm (BST)

Two women were killed and dozens injured in massive barrages of rockets fired into southern Israel this afternoon. A technical fault with an Iron Dome battery may have allowed some rockets through to hit their targets and inflict casualties.

Channel 12 in Israel reported that one rocket struck the home of an elderly woman and her carer, killing one of the women who did not manage to get to a public shelter in time. Unlike many homes in Israel, it did not have a safe room of its own.

This highlights the sheer wickedness of the terrorists in Gaza who say they are proud of firing 137 rockets in the space of 5 minutes to overwhelm the Iron Dome missile defence system.

These terrorists fire at unarmed civilians in Israel whilst hiding among unarmed civilians in the Gaza Strip.

 

House in Ashdod hit by terrorist rocketHouse in Ashdod hit by terrorist rocket today (photo: Flash90)