Friday, August 22, 2014

Rockets Barely Miss Packed Israeli Kindergarten Following Violent Day Which Saw Over 100 Rockets Launched

Rockets Barely Miss Packed Israeli Kindergarten

A salvo of rockets landed close to a packed Israeli kindergarten in the south on Friday, breaking the calm after a relatively quiet night.
A five-rocket salvo saw the Iron Dome intercept two rockets over Ashkelon. Three rockets struck the western Negev; one of them landed just 12 meters (roughly feet) from a packed kindergarten. Luckily, all children and staff are safe; the building was protected from rocket fire and all of the occupants were in safe areas.

Earlier Friday, an additional salvo was fired at the Ashkelon Regional Council, near the Gaza Belt, and in the Negev, but there are no injuriesnor damage reported.
The near-miss follows Education Minister Shai Piron's assertion Thursday that the school year would continue as usual, despite the ongoing rocket fire on civilians.

“The school year will begin as planned. We are prepared for any security-related occurrences,” the MK explained. “During the first two weeks of the school year, the education system will not be occupied with regular teaching, but rather with activities to dissipate the tensions and with discussions surrounding the events of the summer, including the arousal and demonstration of racism and incitement.”

The Ashklelon and Be'er Sheva Regional Councils have all pledged to ignore Piron's statement, according to Walla! News, citing security concerns and potential psychological toll on the area's children. 
This is the third time a rocket has struck near a school. The previous rocket strike wounded a 33 year-old man on Thursday, as he heroically was protecting children from the missile with his own body.
Later on Friday, two rockets were intercepted over Sderot. A 54 year-old Be'er Sheva man was wounded by shrapnel from a three-rocket salvo on the southern capital, according to Yediot Aharonot, and is being treated for moderate-level injuries. Local power outages have also been reported in the area and at least one car was hit by shrapnel. 

At least 30 rockets, mortars fired on southern Israel, with one landing near preschool, following violent day which saw over 100 rockets launched; IDF hit over 20 Gaza targets in response, two killed.

Over 30 rockets were fired at Israel's south Friday, with one landing a hit in Be'er Sheva and wounding a man. Another landed meters from a preschool, after a quiet night gave residents a much needed rest from renewed fighting which have seen a record number of rockets slam into Israel.

Meanwhile, a Gaza health official said four Palestinians were killed in an two seperate IAF airstrike as fighting continued for a third day after the collapse of Egyptian-led cease-fire talks.

A 52-year-old Israel man was moderately wounded from shrapnel in his legs after a rocket hit in Be'er Sheva noontime Friday; damage was also reported and he was taken to a local hospital.

As part of the salvo, three rockets were fired at the city, two were intercepted while a third fell in an open area. They were followed by a rocket barrage at Sderot, three of which were intercepted by Iron Dome. Two more rockets fell in Eshkol an hour later, causing damage to a local house.  

Earlier three rockets were intercepted and two fell outside communities in the Eshkol Regional Council and rockets were also intercepted over Ashkelon and Sderot.

Earlier, at least five rockets hit the south, mostly the Eshkol Regional Council, during the late morning hours, with one of the rockets landing 12 meters from a pre-school. Two rockets fired at Ashkelon were intercepted by Iron Dome and later two others fell in open areas near Netivot, with one also being intercepted above the town.

Sirens pierced the early morning silence, waking residents of the Eshkol Regional Council, which has suffered the majority of rocket hits in recent days, and informed them of incoming rocket fire shortly after dawn.

A rocket then exploded in an open area in Eshkol, and was followed by another rocket which fell outside one of the regional council's communities. Afterwards, a third rocket slammed into an open area in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council, while Iron Dome intercepted the fourth shortly after.

According to the IDF, five more rockets were fired since midnight, though no sirens were reported until 6 am.

It is not clear what has led to this successful shift in Shin Bet and Military Intelligence operations, but it has dealt Hamas a blow and may well put all of its leaders in mortal danger.

The third and fourth eliminations within the Hamas military wing came the night after what appears to have been a strike on their commander Mohammed Deif – this is apparently a pretty hard strike on the organization's command and control capabilities, not to mention damaging the morale of their subordinates.

Nonetheless, it is better that we in Israel do not enter into a state of euphoria over this. The ruins of the house where Deif was possibly located and the remains of the hiding place of the three commanders in Rafah are not images of victory.

This stage of the campaign will probably be short-lived and help to avoid a long war of attrition. But it does not eradicate the Hamas military wing, given that the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades have recently begun to function as a military institution.

Two of those killed overnight, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Abu Shamala, were Hamas' most important field commanders, while the third, Mohammed Barhoum, was the logistics man. But just as with an army, so it is with a quasi-military organization, and an assault on its top brass is not a paralyzing blow. There are replacements who will quickly fill their shoes.

The rocket fire will perhaps be more sporadic, however, and - more importantly - there may not be the bold initiatives that only an experienced and strategically nimble commander can conduct, reliant on the personal charisma that earns them such popularity among their people.

The bottom line: There will be a blow to the operational capability of Hamas's military wing, but it is hard to predict to what extent it will change the conduct of the war against Israel. For now, the indiscriminate firing and strident statements we see are an indication of the impact on Hamas and its leadership, but we should not view them as capitulation.

We have already seen with the killing of Hamas' military leader Ahmed Jabari, at the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, how quickly they can find a replacement. The organization continued to fire until the very end of the operation and even a little afterwards.

The United States has joined Britain, France and Germany in pressing a bid for a new UN Security Council resolution on Gaza, in an effort to end more than six weeks of conflict, diplomats said Thursday.

“This is not a competition,” said an American diplomat in Washington. “We share with other Security Council members a concern over the return to hostilities following the breach of the Egyptian-brokered humanitarian ceasefire. And the council has called on all parties to prevent the situation from escalating and to resume negotiations.”

Another diplomat said both Israeli and Palestinian officials have privately suggested Security Council action would be helpful in persuading their constituents to accept measures to end the conflict, which has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side.

Diplomats said the resolution would include opening up Gaza’s borders and a return of the Palestinian Authority to the territory, now controlled by Hamas. It would also include security assurances for the Israelis, including ways to prevent Hamas from acquiring more arms and building more tunnels. The resolution would incorporate a European Union offer to take charge of Gaza’s border crossings.
The international monitoring and verification mission would likely be a joint UN-EU effort, according to the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private and sensitive.

The so-called “elements” document lays out the parameters for a ceasefire deal that would address Israel’s security concerns and meet Palestinian demands.
It instructs UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to immediately come up with proposals to “implement the relevant provisions” in a move that could jump-start the peace negotiations.

It is a serious warning coming from Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe as he warns of the potential of another attack on American soil. The senator sat down with Fox 25 to talk about a variety of topics, but as ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the top issue was national security.
“We're in the most dangerous position we've ever been in as a nation,” Senator Inhofe told Fox 25's Phil Cross.
“ISIS, they are really bad terrorists, they're so bad even Al Qaida is afraid of them,” Inhofe said reflecting on the recent beheading of American journalist James Foley. Beyond the beheading, Inhofe said the current terror organizations are not going to stay contained to the Middle East. “They're crazy out there and they're rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city and people just can't believe that's happening.”
Inhofe blames policy decisions from the Obama administration and cuts in defense spending for putting the country in what he calls a dangerous situation.
“He's [President Obama] going to have to come up with something that we're going to do because they're holding another hostage in place and the problem is, the President says all these things and he never does them,” Inhofe said.
Inhofe said he hopes after the mid-term elections there will be more Republicans in the Senate and more of a willingness for both parties to work on restoring cuts to defense spending.

The ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee in the U.S. Senate is warning that ISIS terrorists, those who this week beheaded an American journalist, are trying to develop the capability of blowing up an entire American city.
The comments from Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., came in an interview with the Fox affiliate in Oklahoma City.

He said the U.S. now is in “the most dangerous position we’ve ever been in.”
Responding to questions about terror and the threat facing Americans, he said: “They’re crazy out there. And they are rapidly developing a method of blowing up a major U.S. city. You just can’t believe that’s happening.”
He told the station the threat is significant, and he blamed it on the cuts in defense spending made by President Obama.
“He’s going to have to come up with something we’re going to do because they’re holding another hostage … and the problem is the president, he says all these things and he never does them.”
ISIS members, he said, are “really bad terrorists.”
“They’re so bad that al-Qaida’s afraid of them.”
The threat to the U.S. should not be underestimated, he said.
“This idea they’re coming in, infiltrating the United States. Sure some are coming in that are associated with ISIS, but a majority of them are still over there and they are undoing a lot of the good that has been done,” he said.

According to a report in The Hill, ISIS, also known as Islamic State, “has long threatened to carry out a catastrophic attack on American soil, with a spokesman recently boasting that the militant group would fly its flag over the White House.”
WND reported just a day earlier that ISIS is training jihadists to attack targets in the U.S. and Europe.

ISIS could join forces with other al-Qaida groups such as Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula, or AQAP, and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM.
The development would make Europe particularly vulnerable from the south, especially through Spain, as WND recently reported.
WND also reported military experts are warning the Obama administration’s $1 trillion cut in defense spending will put U.S. military forces at a serious technological disadvantage in future conflicts.
In the past, U.S. technology has acted as a force multiplier, giving American fighting forces a huge advantage in combat situations.

The concern arises not only as ISIS threatens American interests in Syria, Iraq and possibly beyond. It also comes as Russia and communist China are increasing their defense spending for technological development.
“The loss of a long-held technical advantage would be a body blow to the U.S. military,” according to analysts of the open intelligence Langley Intelligence Group Network, or Lignet.
The technologies that would be affected include robotics for specialized combat duties, development of next-generation navigation and reconnaissance systems, unmanned mini-submarines and faster helicopters, the analysts said.
“Times are changing,” the analysts said. “After more than a decade of war, perennial federal budget deficits and a foreign policy notable for its reticence rather than vision, the U.S. defense budget for the next five to 10 years is likely to contract significantly” with a projected $1 trillion in cuts.

A team of Russian virologists, epidemiologists and bacteriologists is leaving for Africa to organize laboratory diagnosis of the Ebola virus in Guinea, where the outbreak of the deadly fever is spreading fast.
Russia’s consumer watchdog Rospotrbnadzor is dispatching a mobile laboratory to Guinea to help contain the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus in response to a direct request from Guinea’s government.
The cargo jet to Guinea’s capital Conakry leaves from Moscow’s Ramenskoye airfield on Thursday evening.
The team includes several dozen Russian epidemiologists, virologists and bacteriologists from medical centers in Novosibirsk and Saratov. They will arrive in Guinea in about a week to operate the mobile laboratory, Aleksandr Semyonov, lab chief at the Pasteur Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology in Saint-Petersburg, told the RIA news agency.
“We’ve agreed with Guinea authorities that our experts will launch a field laboratory to help with in vitro diagnostics to fight Ebola fever,” Semyonov said, specifying that the installation will operate in a tent camp specially equipped with KAMAZ trucks.
Russia already has a vaccine against Ebola that has proved to be successful, Semyonov revealed.“We’ll see what will happen next,” he added.
The latest Ebola epidemic has already claimed 1,229 lives, and 2,240 infected people remain quarantined in hospitals throughout Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra-Leone.
There is no internationally recognized vaccine against Ebola fever, although pharmaceutical companies from Canada, Japan and the US have announced development of potential vaccines.
Russia’s Vector State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology based in Koltsovo, in the Novosibirsk region, developed Reaferon-Lipint several years ago. This vaccine proved effective in dealing with Ebola virus during laboratory tests. Now it is hoped it can be brought to Guinea to save the lives of those infected with the deadly virus.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization does not expect a reliable vaccine against Ebola fever to be developed before 2015.

Senegal has closed the land border with Guinea, fearing the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, Agence France-Presse reported, citing the Interior Ministry of the West African state.
In a statement, the ministry also noted that the sea and air borders of Senegal will be closed to vessels and aircraft from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. These countries are the most affected by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The total number of deaths from virus in the region has reached 1,350 people, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Wednesday
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a deadly disease transmitted through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of the infected. There is no licensed treatment or vaccine for the Ebola virus yet, which has a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent.

Update: the farce is complete, although at least this time it didn't take Ukraine several hours to fabricate then unfabricate its plot line, because literally minutes after it accused Russia of invading, Ukraine's foreign minister said the convoy was "allowed" to avoid provocations, adding that the rebel militants are using mortars on the convoy route and that it had taken all necessary steps to ensure cargo safety but that Russia wouldn't discuss security for the convoy.  Nonetheless it still accused Russia's convoy of breaking international law and said that convoy would go to separatists, not civilians, and called on its "international partners" (we suppose it means the CIA here, which apparently is feeding it this ridiculous script) to condemn the Russian convoy/ From Bloomberg:


Clearly the "MH17 scenario" is now in play, with the question not so much if and who "provokes" the Russian convoy in the coming days, but how Russia will react to it.

Here we go again. Precisely a week after the fabricated headlines last Friday that Ukraine had blown up Russian military vehicles in Ukraine territory, "news" which promptly was forgotten when Russia denied and Ukraine couldn't produce any proof of said attack, now it is time for the real "humanitarian" convoy to become the topic du jour, and so it did a few hours ago when some 90 trucks from the convoy were said to have entered Ukraine territory, a move which Ukraine promptly denounced as a direct invasion.

The reason for the convoy movement came overnight when the Russian Foreign Ministry said Ukraine seems to be seeking military victory by country’s independence day, "deliberately" delaying delivery of humanitarian aid.  Russia added that is sees no reason to delay further, and the aid convoy starts moving toward Luhansk.  "We warn against any attempts to halt solely humanitarian mission" that was prepared transparently with cooperation from Ukraine, Red Cross, ministry says.

RT adds that Russia said it had met all imaginable and unimaginable demands, including handing exhaustive lists of cargo details to the Red Cross, and that Kiev was inventing new pretexts each day for delaying humanitarian convoy, while the Red Cross reportedly said it was frustrated with Kiev in letting the convoy into Ukraine. That said, because it could not obtain security assurances, the Red Cross would not accompany the Russian convoy.

It is this perhaps why moments ago, Interfax (the Ukraine version that is) blasted the following headline via Bloomberg:
With the head of security council Nalyvaychenko cited as the source. Additionally Ukraine speaker Lysenko added that Russia aid convoy ignored agreement on cargo processing.
This promptly resulted in a drop in S&P 500 futures fall 0.3% to 1983.40, Stoxx Europe 600 falls 0.6% to session low after the Interfax report that Ukraine sees Russian aid convoy as invasion.
Expect much more disinformation out of Ukraine over the next few. hours as last Friday plays out once again.

1 comment:

Caver said...

How far we have fallen....
The Russian government is now viewed as the rock of stability, truth, and purity of purpose. Its our side seen with playing with the facts, fabricating, deception, and disregard for the lives of innocents.

And there's factual basis for this. My heart weeps.