Rockets explode in Beersheba and Eshkol
Two rockets exploded in Beersheba on Wednesday morning, and ten mortar shells fell in Shaar Hanegev and Eshkol Regional Councils.
Seven mortar shells fell in the Eshkol Regional Council, followed shortly after by three more near a kibbutz in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council. No injuries were reported in either explosion.
No deaths were reported in the Beersheba blast, however, one 56-year-old man was injured moderately in his chest by flying debris when he witnessed the grad's explosion from his third story window. He was treated by paramedics who arrived on the scene. Three others were treated for shock.
Only hours before, a Grad rocket launched from the northern Gaza Strip exploded south of Ashdod. There were no reports of injuries or damage to property.
Islamic Jihad reportedly took responsibility for the Ashdod attack as well.
On Tuesday evening, the IDF attacked a terrorist cell, killing four who military sources said were behind the Grad-model Katyusha attack on Beersheba last month. IDF troops also shot mortars into Gaza, accidentally hitting civilians in the norther town of Sajaya.
According to the statement, Netanyahu stressed that the IDF mortar-firing had been a reaction to Hamas shelling of Israeli civilians.
“It is unfortunate that Hamas continues to rain down dozens of rockets on Israeli civilians intentionally, while using [their own] civilians as human shields. Israel has no intention of bringing about a deterioration of the situation, but at the same time, the IDF will continue to act decisively to protect Israeli citizens,” the statement read.
IDF: Syria may provoke Israel to distract from domestic unrest
The Israel Defense Forces is readying for the possibility that Syria might create a provocation along the northern border to divert attention from the growing protests against President Bashar Assad's regime.
Intelligence officials said that despite their earlier assessments that the Syrian regime was stable, and that the unrest sweeping other Arab countries would not affect it, they now believe it will be very hard for Assad to restore the status quo ante.
The IDF is also preparing for the possibility that Damascus might use Hezbollah or other militant organizations in Lebanon to heat up that front to divert attention from events in Syria.
PM will convene security council to formulate Gaza plan
Netanyahu says "no country would absorb rockets on cities, citizens"; he's determined to take away terror groups' ability to harm Israelis; PM set to depart for Russia, Barak overseas.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday addressed the ongoing rocket and mortar fire coming from the Gaza Strip and IDF artillery and air strikes in response. He was expected to convene his national security council before departing for Russia Wednesday evening.
"The IDF is acting and will act against the terror organizations in Gaza," the prime minister said. "We will firmly and decisively defend our citizens."
"Perhaps it will come to exchanging blows, it may continue for some time, but we are very determined to take away the terrorist organizations' ability to harm our citizens."
The last article is priceless:
Abbas to Russia: Pressure Israel to halt Gaza escalation
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas asked Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to put pressure on Israel to end the "escalation" of strikes in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.
In addition to requesting that the Russians pressure Netanyahu over the escalation of violence in Gaza, he also criticized him for commenting on Palestinian reconciliation efforts.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was set to depart for Russia Wednesday evening but officials said there was no plan for him to meet with Abbas while they are both in Moscow.
The Kremlin has a penchant for inviting Israeli and Palestinian leaders around the same time. Netanyahu last visited the Kremlin in February 2010, when he was preceded by both Abbas, who was there two weeks earlier, and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who was there just a matter of days before Netanyahu.
The prime minister was scheduled to hold talks with Medvedev, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday.
Netanyahu obviously hasn't read the "Middle East Rulebook". Doesn't he know that Israel is supposed to "take" these daily missiles launched into Israel and not do anything about it?
Its just too "fascinating" that we live in a world in which Abbas both allows and ignores a "barrage" of missile attacks into Israel but as soon as Israel takes any retaliatory actions in response, Abbas complains to "the nations". Priceless.
Unfortunately, "the nations" will predictably respond exactly as Abbas desires, and it won't be long before we see Israeli actions condemned while the ongoing missile "barrage" into Israel will conveniently be ignored.
Its a strange world that we are living in during these last days.