Thursday, July 10, 2014

Escalation Continues In The Middle East

Another day in the Middle East, another day of escalation:

Code Red sirens sounded in several communities throughout Israel on Thursday afternoon as Israel's anti-rocket system successfully intercepted a barrage of Hamas-fired projectiles over the Shfela region. Audible explosions were also heard in the Tel Aviv area , although no Code Red siren proceeded the explosions.

Sirens sounded in areas of central Israel surrounding Tel Aviv, such as Lod, Ramle, and the Shfela, which absorbed a heavy barrage.

The Iron Dome anti-rocket system intercepted 8 projectiles over the skies of the Shfela region, including greater Rehovot. Remnants of the rockets were spotted near the city as well just minutes after sirens were heard in the Bilu District, Beit Hanan, Yavne, and Nes Ziona.
Siren were also sounded in southern cities Ashdod and Ashkelon and the smaller communities adjacent to the Gaza frontier.
Since early Thursday morning, Palestinians have launched 50 rockets at southern and central Israel.

Hamas is claiming that ten of those rockets included a new type of projectile that it maintained in its arsenal and used for the first time ever - the Iranian-manufactured "Sejil-55."
Earlier on Thursday, the Iron Dome anti-rocket system intercepted at least five projectiles over the metropolitan Tel Aviv area and two others landed in open areas nearby on Thursday, as Code Red rocket alert sirens also sounded in the southern city of Dimona, home of Israel's nuclear reactor, for the second straight day. 

Missiles downed in Beersheba; Shrapnel falls in south Tel Aviv, damaging cars and gas station; Fatah-linked group claims to shoot rocket; Dimona targeted; Palestinian death toll rises while rocket fire from Gaza increases in range

Operation Protective Edge entered its third day on Thursday. At least 80 rockets were fired into Israel on Wednesday, hitting as far north as Zichron Ya’akov, bringing the total since Monday night to over 200. In the Israeli Air Force’s hundreds of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, at least 53 Palestinians have been killed and around 500 injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Follow the Times of Israel’s live coverage of the ongoing crisis on our liveblog. (You can find Tuesday’s liveblog here, and Wednesday’s here.)

Jerusalem is not interested in an immediate ceasefire with Gaza, a senior government official said Thursday morning, indicating that Israel seeks to deal Hamas a blow so heavy as to ensure the terrorist organization will be unable to resume rocket fire against Israel in the long-term future.

“It is quite possible that Hamas would agree to an immediate ceasefire — we’re hitting them hard, they want the situation to cool down,” the senior official told The Times of Israel, speaking on condition of anonymity. Brokering a ceasefire with Hamas would have been possible a week or a two ago, but an agreement that would leave in place the group’s offensive capacities not what Israel wants, the official said.

“Today, we’re not interested in a Band-Aid. We don’t want to give Hamas just a timeout to rest, regroup and recharge batteries, and then next week or in two weeks they start again to shoot rockets at Israel. Such a quick-fix solution is not something we’re interested in.”

While refusing to discuss concrete steps the Israel Defense Forces plan to take in the coming hours and days, the official said that the government is discussing a ground invasion of Gaza “very seriously.”
The security cabinet was convening Thursday for more discussion.
Asked about Israel’s objectives, the senior official said that Operation Protective Edge’s overriding goal is to “bring peace and quiet to the citizens of Israel.”

Armed groups linked to Fatah say they began launching rockets and mortar shells into Israel Wednesday evening, in the first indication of Mahmoud Abbas’s movement actively taking part in violence emanating from Gaza.

The Nidal Al-Amody force of Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades claimed responsibility for firing Grad and 107 millimeter rockets toward Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot, Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha and the Sufa Crossing from Gaza, starting at 5 p.m Wednesday. Communiques specifying the attacks were published on Fatah’s official Facebook page.

Early Thursday morning, another armed force associated with Fatah, the Abdul Qader Husseini Battalions, claimed responsibility for launching two Grad rockets at Ashkelon and four mortar shells at Kibbutz Nir Oz near Khan Yunis shortly after one a.m.

Hamas has emerged from a 19-month cease-fire stronger, savvier, and more effective at hitting Israel where it will hurt the most.
Hamas's arsenal, estimated at 10,000 rockets, is only marginally bigger than it was heading into its last conflict with Israel, in November 2012. But its mid-range rockets are much more accurate, and it has acquired long-range missiles that reach beyond Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, putting as many as 5 million of Israel’s 8 million citizens at risk.
These new capabilities were revealed last night when a rocket landed in the coastal city of Hadera, nearly 70 miles from the Gaza Strip, almost twice as far away as Tel Aviv. Today Israel detected a rocket targeting an area north of Zichron Yaakov, another 12 miles north.

As Israel launched dozens of air strikes on Gaza, militants from Hamas and other organizations also targeted Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the country's main international airport, and a number of other cities, setting off rocket sirens across the country. While many were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome system, two missiles from Gaza landed within the Jerusalem city limits for the first time.

“They have more [rockets and missiles], but more important, the majority of what they have is from the longer-range side,” says former national security adviser Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror (res.), who estimates that about 10 percent of the arsenal is now long-range. “They understand where Israel’s weak point is…. Tel Aviv or Jerusalem are much more attractive than Sderot."

Hamas militants launched a salvo of missiles at Israel’s main nuclear facility Wednesday night, raising the likelihood of an Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Three rockets were aimed towards the southern Israeli town of Dimona and the nearby Negev nuclear reactor and research centre, where Israel’s atomic weapons program is thought to be based.
Two of the rockets fell in open areas and the other was intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome defensive shield, with none causing casualties, an Israeli army spokesman said.
However, the symbolic aggression of the act may raise expectations that Israel will press ahead with threats to launch a full-scale ground operation to dismantle Hamas’s military infrastructure.

The threat to the nuclear facility came as Gaza saw its bloodiest day of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, with at least 22 people, reportedly including nine children and six women, killed in air strikes.
But the strikes failed to staunch the rocket fire from Hamas, which unleashed its full arsenal of long-range missiles as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The exchanges were matched by bellicose political language on either side.
Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, accused Israel of committing “genocide” in Gaza.

That claim was brushed aside by Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, who accused Hamas of starting the conflict by firing rockets. “We asked them to stop. We waited one day, two days, three days and they continued, and they spread their fire on more areas in Israel,” he said.
He added that a ground offensive on Gaza “may happen quite soon.” Referring to rockets being fired from Gaza, he added: “If they will stop for example tonight, there won’t be any ground entrance – but if they will continue, sooner or later this will be the response.”

Iraq says “terrorist groups” have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country's north. Iraq's UN envoy has appealed for help to "stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad."
According to Iraq's UN ambassador, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, about 40 kilograms of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University. He added that such materials "can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction."

"Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state," Alhakim told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the July 8 letter obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.
Alhakim warned that the materials could be smuggled out of Iraq.
"The Republic of Iraq is notifying the international community of these dangerous developments and asking for help and the needed support to stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad," Alhakim said in a letter.

Hamas terrorists on Thursday afternoon launched yet another heavy barrage of rockets at Israeli cities in the center of the country. Sirens were heard in Ramle, Lod, Nes Tziyona, Yavne, and other areas south of Rishon Lezion. Several of the missiles were destroyed in mid-air by the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, while others fell in open areas. No injuries or damage were reported.

The rockets at the central plain cities were a continuation of the heavy barrage that Israel faced on Thursday, the third day of Operation Protective Edge. Six missiles were fired at Tel Aviv Thursday, with a barrage of four missiles fired at about 8 AM, as tens of thousands of commuters were driving into the Tel Aviv area. Two more missiles were fired at about 11:30 AM. All six were shot down by Iron Dome missiles. No damage to any buildings was reported, although several cars were said to have been struck by shrapnel. One woman was treated for shock in Ramat Gan, Magen David Adom officials said.

Seeking Human Shields, Hamas Tells  Gazans To Ignore IDF Warnings

Also see:

50 more cases of Ebola have been reported this week and a further 25 people have died in what is the largest and most widespread outbreak of Ebola ever to date. A World Health organization spokesman has said that health workers in Sierra Leone,Liberia and Guinea are struggling to control the spread of the disease.

In a statement on Tuesday, the WHO said the latest figures from health ministries in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea showed a total of 844 cases since the epidemic began in February.
Guinea’s ministry reported two deaths since 3 July but no new cases in the past week, the WHO said, calling the situation in the affected region of West Africa a “mixed picture”.
It said Sierra Leone had accounted for 34 of the new cases and 14 deaths, while Liberia reported 16 new cases and 9 deaths.
“These numbers indicate that active viral transmission continues in the community,” the statement said. (source)

A U.S citizen suspected of having the virus is still under investigation. The man had recently traveled to West Africa and was quarantined after showing signs of the virus. No further details are available at this point.

Trouble is looming at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, as a leak has forced the shutdown of a cooling system that could cause temperatures to exceed dangerous levels.
Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) was forced to switch off the cooling system at Reactor Unit 5, after engineers discovered it had been leaking water. If the system is not repaired within the next nine days, temperatures are expected to soar,  Russian news site RT reported Sunday.

More than 340 gallons of water leaked from the cooling system intended to stabilize the temperature of the spent fuel at Reactor Unit 5. The system was offline but loaded with fuel rods when the plant was damaged by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011. That accident caused three of the plant’s six nuclear reactors to meltdown, releasing extensive amounts of radioactive material. It was the largest nuclear accident since Russia’s Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
The source of the leak was apparently a 3-millimeter diameter hole near a flow valve, a TEPCO statement released Sunday said. When the cooling system was turned off at around noon Sunday, the temperature in the pool that holds the rods was about 73 degrees Fahrenheit but started increasing by 0.193 degrees per hour, TEPCO says.
If no new cold water is pumped in at this rate, it will reach the dangerous threshold of 149 degrees (F) in roughly the next week. Such temperatures would increase the possibility of dangerous reactions and more radiation leaks in the plant.

The French government wants to break the monopoly the dollar has on international transactions after the country’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, was slapped with a record $9 billion fine and a 1-year dollar trading ban.
Michel Sapin, the French finance minister, called for a “rebalancing” of the currencies used for global payments, saying the BNP Paribas case should “make us realize the necessity of using a variety of currencies” the Financial Times reports.
“We [Europeans] are selling to ourselves in dollars, for instance when we sell planes. Is that necessary? I don’t think so. I think a rebalancing is possible and necessary, not just regarding the euro, but also for the big currencies of the emerging countries, which account for more and more of global trade,” the finance minister told the FT at a conference over the weekend.
France wants to bring the euro to greater prominence in international trade. Sapin said he would raise the idea on Monday when he meets in Brussels with eurozone finance ministers.

Ecologist Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, warned “I fear a global cooling,” during his keynote address to the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Moore, who left Greenpeace in 1986 because he felt it had become too radical, is the author of “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist.”(Watch climate conference live here)
Moore noted that a cooling would adversely impact agriculture, and said:  “Let’s hope for a little warming as opposed to a little cooling. I would rather it got a little warmer.” (Watch Moore video here at the Heartland Institute event)
Moore noted that “the U.S. is currently been cooling” and noted that there has been “no global warming for nearly 18 years.” He also mocked the notion that “everything is due to global warming.”
“If it warms two degrees, hopefully more in Canada in the North…maybe it would be a good thing if it did,” Moore explained.
Moore noted that carbon dioxide is a trace essential gas in the atmosphere and is not the control knob of the Earth’s climate.
“CO2 is the most important nutrient for all life on earth,” he noted.
“There are so many [climate] variables that we can’t control and when you do an experiment you have to control all the variables except the one you are studying if you want to get a clean result. There are even variables we do not even understand that we cannot control,” he said.
“So it is virtually impossible to think of doing an experiment where we would be able to tweeze out the impact of CO2 versus the hundreds of other variables at work. Which is why you could never make a model that would predict the climate,” he added.
Moore also took criticized President Barack Obama.
“The President seems to say it is sufficient to say the ‘science is settled’. It is hollow statement with no content,” Moore noted.
He also warned that the education system was failing children when it comes to climate change science.
“Change the way our kids are being taught about this subject because if we don’t there will be a whole generation of people who are just blindly following this climate hysteria,” Moore said.
“Our children are not taught logic, they are not taught what the scientific method is, and they are taught that carbon dioxide is pollution. They are told it is carbon now as if it were soot,” he added.


Mrs.C said... is another link for live cam in Gaza...the other one I posted for Reuters, takes breaks saying back in a minute kinda thing.
This is from a blog, but the source of the cam is "occupied air" which are basically paly supporters as I recall.

This one is from inside the city of Gaza live, right now. Explosions, dogs barking, you can here the drones overhead, just like 2009. BTW, its about 9:00pm or so there now.

Mrs.C said...

Oh brother, yup, this new link you can hear their annoying calls to prayer to their false god...just waiting to here the rooster crowing when explosions start to happen...yes indeed, as before, there most likely will be roosters just switched to Bibi making an address, speaking in Hebrew though...

AudioOutlaw said...

Looks like they're getting ready. This could be something that sets the whole thing off or it could be something where they go in, take of what they need to do and nothing comes of it.

We'll see. I pray that this starts the dominoes. I'm ready to go Home. Come, Lord Jesus, come!

Scott said...

Audio - I was having that conversation today...I do believe once they send in ground troops, that could inflame the surrounding Islamic groups - including Hezbollah and ISIS.....Iran is worth watching as well. But the ground operation could easily escalate this whole mess. We will - of course - get the perfunctory pictures of suffering Palestinians sent throughout the region etc...Regardless, this Gaza stuff is taking us to thr brink moreso than anything in a few years