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December 27, 2008

After Weeks of Intense Rocket Attacks, Israel Strikes Back

The "fragile peace" is over.

You know -- all that peace Hamas has offered.

Israeli warplanes retaliating for rocket fire from the Gaza Strip pounded dozens of security compounds across the Hamas-ruled territory in unprecedented waves of airstrikes Saturday, killing nearly 200 people and wounding 270 others in the single bloodiest day of fighting in years.

Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were also among the dead. Hamas said all of its security installations were hit and responded with several medium-range Grad rockets at Israel, reaching deeper than in the past. One Israeli was killed and at least four people were wounded in the rocket attacks. With so many wounded, the Palestinian death toll was likely to rise.

The air offensive followed weeks of intense Palestinian rocket and mortar fire on southern Israel, and Israeli leaders had issued increasingly tough warnings in recent days that they would not tolerate continued attacks.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel would expand the operation if necessary. "There is a time for calm and there is a time for fighting, and now is the time for fighting," he told a news conference. He would not comment when asked if a ground offensive was planned.

But asked earlier if Hamas political leaders might be targeted next, military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said, "Any Hamas target is a target."
The strikes caused widespread panic and confusion in Gaza, as black clouds of smoke rose above the territory, ruled by Hamas for the past 18 months. Some of the Israeli missiles struck in densely populated areas as children were leaving school, and women rushed into the streets frantically looking for their children. Most of those killed were security men, but civilians were among the dead.

Civilians among the dead? Fortunately Hamas rockets have special no-civilian-casualties technology to prevent that...

A crude rocket fired by Palestinian militants fell short of its target in Israel on Friday, striking a house in the northern Gaza Strip and killing two schoolgirls.

... although sometimes the advanced fail-safes fail to work.

Hey, here's an idea: Let's cut down on both civilian and belligerent casualties by pressuring Hamas to stop launching rockets.

Or is that not nuanced enough?

Thanks to Morgen for that last tip.


UPDATE [DinT]: Because a "cease-fire" means so much.

Past limited ground incursions and air strikes have not halted rocket barrages from Gaza. But with 200 mortars and rockets raining down on Israel since the truce expired a week ago, and 3,000 since the beginning of the year, according to the military's count, pressure had been mounting in Israel for the military to crush the gunmen.

I was told there would be no math on this blog, by my reckoning that's 200 attacks a week after the truce ended, but only 59 a week when there's a "cease-fire" in place.

You keep using this word, "cease-fire". I do not think it means what you think it means.


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posted by Ace at 12:10 PM

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