Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Violence Escalates From Gaza

First, two news stories from Israel, and then an analysis by Debka:

Girl injured as Kassam lands near Ashkelon-area school

A Kassam rocket hit near a kindergarten in a kibbutz near Ashkelon on Tuesday morning, injuring a 14-year-old girl. Four more Israelis were treated for shock.

The IAF stuck seven terror targets early Tuesday morning following the firing of 10 mortar shells into Israeli territory on Monday.

Ten mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into the Eshkol regional council Monday.

The 'Army of Islam' organization in Gaza claimed responsibility for the Kassam rocket.

In their statement the Army of Islam said the Kassam was in response to the three members of the organization that were killed during an Israeli attack last month.

IDF Beefs Up Tanks in Gaza as Terrorists Improve Weapons

The IDF is deploying the Trophy “Windbreaking” defense system on its tanks in the Gaza Belt in the wake of the use of more advanced and precise weapons by terrorists in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Terrorists have escalated Kassam rocket and mortar shell strikes on civilians and soldiers over the past week, but IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi says he does not think Hamas is trying to draw Israel into a repeat of the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign that began two years ago this month.

Hamas and allied terrorists have introduced advanced weapons in their attacks. Last week, one rocket that was fired from a longer-than-usual distance struck and damaged an IDF tank. The soldiers inside were not injured.

Debka weighs in:

Why Hamas has revived its missile, kidnapping attacks

The escalating Palestinian violence from the Gaza Strip is the direct result of the Damascus-based Khahled Meshaal's victory in his power struggle with the Gaza wing's leadership.

Today, this hardliner is in complete control of all wings of the fundamentalist Palestinian movement. Dec. 13, He celebrated the 23rd anniversary of Hamas's foundation by reiterating the Palestinian goal to seize all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

His signature is clearly marked in escalating missile, mortar and raiding attacks, murderous kidnapping operations inside Israel and the deadlocked negotiations for liberating the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit in a prisoner swap.

Under his orders, Hamas-Gaza has itself taken over the missile, mortar and raiding attacks on Israel from the fringe groups like Jihad Islami and Al Qaeda-linked cells heretofore. When they land on empty ground it is deliberate; of late Hamas has taken delivery of guidance instruments to improve their precision.

The 10-mortar barrages of Monday, Dec. 20, marked a change in tactics, aiming straight for a military target in the Eshkol district abutting on the Gaza Strip; only by a miracle no one was hurt. Monday night, therefore, the Israeli air force spread out to hit seven sites in the Gaza Strip. Because most were unmanned, only three Hamas operatives were injured, one critically.

Then, early Tuesday, a Qassam missile came dangerously close to a kibbutz nursery school in the Hof Ashkelon area north of Gaza Strip, injuring a small girl and an adult and leaving shock victims.

The two "Arabs" who murdered the American tourist Christine Luken (correcting the misnomer in the first official announcements) and stabbed her companion, Kaye Wilson, Saturday, Dec. 18 near Mata in the Jerusalem hills, were in fact a Hamas kidnap gang.

They planned to abduct the two women, smuggle them to the Gaza Strip possibly through the long Sinai border and hold them hostage. When Wilson managed to get away, they decided to murder their captive and escape the scene ahead of pursuit.

Getting away with this crime encouraged Hamas to redouble its efforts, possibly with the same kidnap team already operating in the vicinity of Jerusalem and using the same tactics. Monday, Dec. 20, saw not only a 10-mortar barrage from the Gaza Strip, but three Palestinians armed with long knives trying to assault an Israeli soldier at Givat Zeev. They fled when he cocked his sidearm.

There is more and this article is worth reading in its entirety. If correct, then we can expect to see a major escalation in violent acts in and around Gaza.

The question then becomes: What will the IDF do, in response to these attacks?

Stay tuned, because any significant escalation could have prophetic significance. We'll be watching closely.

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