26 February 2008

Gaza Flashpoint

It occurred to me when nothing much developed from Hamas' threat to break through the Gaza/Israel border, that maybe it was a rehearsal to test the Israeli response, or just more psychological warfare.

The same could be said of this report, but we must be ever vigilant and prepared. There is no doubt at all that an attack is coming.

Kuwaiti Paper: Mega-Attack on Israel in March
(IsraelNN.com) The Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan quoted "top Western sources" Monday saying that, "according to reliable intelligence information, Hizbullah has begun planning a large-scale attack on Israel in retaliation for its [alleged] assassination of senior Hizbullah commander Imad Mughniya."

According to the report, translated by MEMRI, the attack is being planned in coordination with Syria and Iran, and is to take place before the Arab summit next month.
It was also reported that there would be a simultaneous terrorist escalation by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other PA groups in Gaza.

Syria to host Arab League summit March 29-30


FINAL UPDATE (25/2, 4:10pm): Gaza rally: Siege will only make us stronger

Thousands of Palestinians form human chain in protest of Israel's blockade, 50 rioters arrested by Israeli forces near Erez Crossing. Meanwhile, two Qassam rockets fired from Beit Hanoun; one lands in Palestinian territory, the other just south of Ashkelon. No injuries reported.

...Most of the IDF forces and the 6,000-strong Israel Police and Border Guard force deployed near Gaza have remained inactive for the most part, as fears of possible attempts by protesters to infiltrate Israel have not materialized.

UPDATE (25/2, 12:35pm): Hundreds of Gazan protesters form human chain

Hard to tell right now how serious this might become, but our situation might be very different at this time tomorrow night...

Palestinians plan mass rush on Gazan-Israeli border Monday
Beefed-up Israeli military and security forces prepared to repulse thousands of Palestinians planning to crash the full length of the Gazan-Israeli border and its crossings at 10:00 a.m. IT Monday, Feb. 25.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report Hamas is engineering a “popular” protest to be much more violent than the Jan. 23 Palestinian surge into Egypt through the border wall smashed by its bulldozers.
Behind the human shield of women, children and elderly leading the assault on Monday, Hamas, Jihad Islami and Fatah are expected to shoot, send in suicide bombers and unleash a Qassam barrage. If Israeli forces are goaded into opening fire, civilian casualties may be heavy enough to draw international condemnation. If they hold back, the Palestinian terrorists will capture the border fence and knock it over.
...Israel’s military and security chiefs are conferring urgently Sunday night with chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi.

...It looks now as though the long-delayed big confrontation between the IDF and Hamas will not take place inside the Gaza Strip but on Israeli soil.
Btw, Olmert is on his way to Japan to meet with Rice and 'Dippy' Livni is acting PM in his absence.

Israeli foreign and defense ministers pledge defense of sovereign territory
Israeli foreign minister and acting PM Tzipi Livni and defense minister Ehud Barak released a joint statement ahead of the Palestinians planned march on the Gaza-Israel border Monday. Israel will defend its territory and prevent infiltration to its sovereign borders,” the two ministers stated Sunday night.
“Hamas is directly responsible for activity which puts civilian population at jeopardy – and not for the first time,” said the statement.
DEBKAfile: On Feb. 20, Israeli chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi indicated Hizballah planned to seize on an Israeli ground offensive against Gazan missiles to launch a revenge attack in the north.

I suppose a confrontation with a mass Gazan offensive against the border would accomplish the same thing.

Stay tuned...

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