Grad rocket blasts injure three Palestinians in Ashdod
Three Palestinian workers working in Israel were seriously injured Saturday morning when an unidentified number of Grad rockets exploded in southern Ashdod, Magen David Adom paramedics reported. A number of hours prior, Hamas's armed wing had announced an end to a two-year old truce with Israel.
Israel Radio reported at least 35 rockets landing in Israel since Thursday afternoon.
A short while earlier, a separate Kassam rocket exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council in an open field, causing no injuries or damage.
Hamas announced early on Saturday they were no longer committed to a more than two-year de facto truce with Israel since the end of a war in early 2009.
The statement was broadcast over a Hamas radio station in Gaza after Israel pounded the Strip for two days with air strikes in response to rocket fire and terror attacks on Thursday that killed eight people.
Hamas Ends Ceasefire with Israel
Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, called off a ceasefire with Israel late Friday, Hamas’ Al-Aqsa radio reported.
According to the report, which was quoted by the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, Hamas will allow terror factions in Gaza to respond to Israeli attacks in the Strip.
A representative of the militant group was quoted as having said, “There can be no truce with the Israeli occupation while it commits massacres against the Palestinian people without justification.”
The representative added that Al-Qassam “calls on all factions to respond to the Israeli occupation’s crimes.”
More than 20 rockets, missiles and mortars were fired by terrorists from Gaza into Israeli territory on Friday. Luckily, most of them exploded in open areas and did not cause physical injuries or damage. In at least one case, the Iron Dome defense system was able to shoot down a rocket before it hit the city of Ashkelon.
One attack on the city of Ashdod resulted in a rocket landing in a synagogue in the city. Several people were wounded.
The IAF retaliated several times, identifying terror targets and striking them.
Egypt Complains Over Deaths of its Security Forces
Egypt lodged a formal complaint with Israel on Friday over the killings of three members of its security forces overnight Thursday, Reuters reported.
The three, an Egyptian army officer and two other security men, were killed when Israeli forces launched an operation to pursue terrorists who launched the multiple attacks in southern Israel on Thursday. Seven other security men were injured.
“Egypt has filed an official protest to Israel over the incidents at the border yesterday (Thursday) and demands an urgent investigation over the reasons and circumstances surrounding the deaths of three of Egypt’s forces,”
The circumstances of the deaths were not immediately clear. An official in the Egyptian army had told Reuters following the incident that the three were caught in the line of fire, but the army said Friday it had launched its own investigation.
Egypt summons Israeli ambassador over killings
Egypt's cabinet has summoned the Israeli ambassador in Cairo to protest shootings on the Israeli side of the border that led to the killing of three Egyptian security personnel, state TV reported on Saturday.
"The Cabinet assigns the Egyptian foreign minister to summon the Israeli ambassador in Cairo ... in protest over shootings on the Israeli side of the border that led to deaths on the Egyptian side," state TV reported.
"The Cabinet demands a joint official probe to ascertain the circumstances of the incident ... and take the necessary legal action to protect the rights of Egyptian victims and injured," state TV said.
if that isn't enough, we also see this:
Thursday's attack represented a major test for ties between Israel and Egypt following an uprising that ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and strengthened forces hostile to the Jewish state.
A cabinet spokesman said the government of Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf also planned to hold an emergency meeting later on Friday to assess the situation in Sinai. The spokesman said members of the ruling military council and Egyptian intelligence would attend.
The protests have already started - public pressure will be immediate and it will request strong action against Israel - you can count on that:
Egyptian protesters amassed outside of the Israeli embassy in Cairo and the consulate in Alexandria Friday, Israel Radio reported. Some called for the annulment of the Camp David accords, while in Alexandria a group of men climbed on a car and attempted to hang Egyptian flags on the building itself, the report said.
Dozens of Egyptians demonstrated outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo following Friday prayers, denouncing the Israeli attack on the Egyptian border.
Egyptian presidential candidates Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabbahi also denounced the killing of three Egyptian security men.
"Israel must realize that the day when Egypt's sons are killed without an appropriate and strong reaction are over," Moussa said in comments on his web site.
This situation could spiral out of control quickly.
Hamas triggered this episode and now states that it wants out of the mythical ceasefire. It seems obvious that they were attempting to trigger this last round of violence. The question becomes "why?". We know that Iran controls things with Hamas, so we really need to look towards Iran to see why this is happening now, and those answers aren't readily available.
Regardless, if Hamas states that they will continue to attack Israel, and we already have Netanyahu stating that he hasn't even finished responding to the first round of violence, where does that leave the Middle East?
It appears that we are in for a significant cycle of violence. Both sides are promising more, that much is clear.
We may be seeing the beginning of the last epic battles in the Middle East. Most of us assume that we'll see the scenario described in Isaiah 17 before the Gog-MaGog scenario of Ezekiel 38-39.
Could we be seeing the very beginnings of this series of battles?
The key could be what happens in Egypt and Syria. Egypt, because of public pressure to hit Israel in response to these deaths (which will become a story in a matter of days - just watch), and Syria, because of the Golan Heights and as a diversion to their internal problems.
We should know soon enough.
Is it September yet?