Cross posted by Findalis of Monkey in the Middle
I woke up this morning to a wonderful Chanukah gift. The IAF attacking Gaza. I know I shouldn’t be ecstatic, that I shouldn’t be joyful at the death of my fellow human, but I feel like dancing and singing this day.
It is only fitting that at this time of the year when Jews all over the world are celebrating the Maccabees’s victory over the Greeks (a war in which military expert would have said they couldn’t win) that the murderers of Gaza start feeling the flames of war themselves.
This just didn’t happen overnight. It has been 8 years in the making. 8 years of Sderot and the Western Negev being attacked on a daily basis. 8 years of death and destruction. Yet Hamas is screaming that they are being attacked without cause.
Over 80 rockets and mortar shells struck areas throughout the western Negev. In Netivot, 58-year-old Beber Vaknin was killed, one person was seriously wounded, and four others sustained light to moderate injuries when their house was hit by a rocket.
All the wounded were evacuated to Soroka hospital in Beersheva.
Later, a rocket hit a house in the community of Mivtahim, seriously wounding one person and lightly wounding another. A Magen David Adom team treated the wounded at the scene.
In Ashkelon, at least 10 rocket strikes were reported, with one hitting an apartment building.
For the first time ever, a Kassam rocket struck Kiryat Gat. The “Color Red” warning siren also sounded in Ashdod, although the location of a rocket strike had yet to be reported.
Beber Vaknin had a right to live in his nation in peace and safety. His only crime was being a citizen of Israel and a Jew. To Hamas that is the greatest crime in the world.
While Hamas indiscriminately attacks civilian targets while calling everywhere in Israel a military target. The IAF is selecting true military targets and wiping them out.
At least 200 people were reported killed – the majority of them Hamas operatives – and nearly 400 wounded in the attacks. It was not clear if the aerial offensive would be coupled with a ground offensive. Asked if Hamas political leaders might be targeted next, military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said, “Any Hamas target is a target.”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a press conference that the IAF had succeeded in eliminating senior Hamas commanders during the offensive. According to witnesses, among the dead was Hamas police chief Maj.-Gen. Tawfik Jaber.
Despite the massive casualties, Hamas remained defiant, vowing revenge and calling on all other Palestinian factions to join in the fight.
“Today we are stronger then we’ve ever been,” one spokesperson for the group said at a press conference. “We won’t raise the white flag, we won’t give anything up, we won’t retreat.”
Minutes after the first wave of air strikes hit areas in the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinians reported a second wave which targeted installations in the center and the north of the Strip. Channel 2 reported that 60 planes were involved in the attack, and nearly 100 targets were hit. Military officials said more than 100 tons of bombs were dropped on Gaza by mid-afternoon.
If Hamas thinks this is a limited operation like other times, they are in for a rude awakening. For the IDF is amassing on the border, just itching to go.
The IDF was beefing up forces around the Gaza Strip on Saturday evening in preparation of a possible ground operation following a massive air assault earlier in the day.
Israel’s goals, officials added, was to end Hamas rocket fire, end smuggling of arms into Gaza and severely disrupt any Hamas military activity.
In a press conference held earlier in Tel Aviv, Barak said the IDF would deepen and widen its offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip as much as needed.
“There is a time for cease-fires and a time to fight, and now is the time to fight,” Barak said. “For months the IDF and security forces have been preparing for the operation that began today.”
Barak stated that Israel had not intended to allow Hamas to continue to fire rockets into Israel without responding.
The defense minister warned that tough times lay ahead. “I don’t want to deceive anyone,” he said. “It won’t be easy and won’t be quick. We must be resolute.” Rocket attacks were expected to continue and to increase during the operation, he added.
“For weeks Hamas and its satellite groups have rained [Israel] with rockets…and mortar shells. We did not intend to let this situation continue,” he said.
Happy Chanukah Sderot! You and your children are getting the best Chanukah gift possible. And maybe this time the IDF will be able to stop those horrible rockets once and for all.
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