Operation Protective Edge – Ground op day 2

Over Shabbat the pattern of preceding days repeated itself: multiple rocket and missile launches at Israel, scores of Air Force attacks against Hamas targets, terror tunnels discovered and destroyed, and several terrorists killed.

The IDF’s figures as of 2 a.m. this morning are as follows:

2:00 a.m. The IDF has targeted 500 Gaza sites in the past two days and 2,500 targets altogether. Thirteen tunnels have been discovered, five of which lead into Israel. Furthermore, 34 tunnel opening have been uncovered, which the IDF is in the process of investigating. Thirteen terror suspects have been arrested.

Sgt. Adar Barsano, 20, from Nahariya (left) and Maj. (Res.) Amotz Greenberg, 45,

Sgt. Adar Barsano, 20, from Nahariya (left) and Maj. (Res.) Amotz Greenberg, 45, from Hod Hasharon, who were killed when Hamas gunmen inflitrated into southern Israel on July 19

In the worst incident of the ground operation so far two more soldiers were killed over Shabbat when Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel on the Israeli side of the border and opened fire at an IDF patrol:

The two were named as Amotz Greenberg, 45, a major in the reserves from Hod Hasharon, and Sgt. Adar Barsano, 20, from Nahariya. The information was cleared for publication after the families were informed.

The deaths were the first of soldiers killed by Hamas since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8.

The terrorist cell infiltrated Israeli territory through a tunnel, in an apparent attempt to carry out a major attack on one of the nearby communities, the army said. The IDF vehicle was not the intended target. Its presence at the scene prevented a much larger planned attack, military sources said late Saturday.

The army believes there are 20 more such tunnels, and that further efforts to infiltrate and kill Israelis are likely. Larger contingents of soldiers were deployed to the Israeli side of the Gaza border area after the incident, military sources said, to guard against further such attacks.

An initial investigation indicated that eight or nine Hamas gunmen clad in IDF uniforms infiltrated beneath the border fence.The gunmen encountered the IDF patrol and opened fire with machine guns and anti-tank weaponry, killing the two officers, moderately wounding two other soldiers and lightly wounding two others.Troops returned fire, killing one of the terrorists; others fled back into Gaza.

Military sources said that material found at the scene, including plastic handcuffs, indicated that the terrorists intended to kill and kidnap Israeli civilians and/or soldiers.

Residents in nearby areas, including Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha, were told to stay indoors for several hours while the IDF searched for other gunmen.

The wounded soldiers were evacuated to hospitals, and the families of the dead soldiers notified.

The army said afterwards it had carried out an air strike in Gaza targeting several terrorists involved in the attack, although it was unclear if there were casualties.

The army was investigating why the tunnel was not spotted earlier and the infiltration thwarted.

To understand the difficulty of discovering and destroying the terror tunnels, read this chilling article by Mitch Ginsburg in the Times of Israel:

The tunnel threat, the unknowingness of it, has eclipsed the threat of rockets in Israel’s war with Gaza.

Conversations with current and former officers illustrate some of the challenges those forces now face in Gaza.

Brig. Gen. Miki Edelstein, the Gaza division commander, told reporters near an offensive tunnel discovered in October 2013 that the entrance to that tunnel was likely in the back yard of a civilian’s home in Rafah.

IDF soldiers stand near the entrance to a tunnel on July 18 2014

Brig. Gen. (res) Shimi Daniel, a former commander of the combat engineering corps, painted a more complex picture. He said Thursday on Channel 2 news that the entrance shafts of the tunnels are located within civilian homes and that, by the time troops arrive, “they’ve already poured fresh concrete over the opening.”

Once detected, soldiers from the SAMUR unit, specializing in counter-tunnel operations, lower a robot into the shaft. Major Ido, the commander of the combat engineering special forces school, said in a phone interview several months ago that the robots can send back video to the squad on the ground and have the capacity to map the contours of the tunnel.

Afterward, the army will usually send explosive-detecting dogs from the Oketz unit into the channel. On Thursday, an Oketz soldier was lightly wounded and a dog was killed in the tunnel near Kibbutz Sufa. Ordinarily, if the dog detects explosives a bomb disposal robot can be summoned.

Hamas terror tunnel from July 18 2014

Hamas terror tunnel from July 18 2014

Only then are the troops lowered into the darkness. Some of the recently discovered tunnels have been more than 60-feet-deep and over a mile long. Many have branched out near the border, with multiple exits, so as to enable a more complex attack. The army has discovered at least eight and reportedly as many as 30 offensive tunnels, thus far, and the channels are now, the army says, “under comprehensive investigation.

Read the rest of the article to gain an insight into the complexity of the challenge.

Besides dealing with tunnels, the IDF have to watch out for booby-trapped civilian buildings. Watch this IDF video of how troops discovered a booby trapped house rigged with explosives (via the Muqata’s facebook page):

We can see from the sheer number of tunnels discovered so far, and the estimate of those yet to be found, how the determination of the terrorists to kidnap Israelis, whether soldiers or civilians, and from the Israeli side of the border puts the lie to any claim made by them that they are fighting for “freedom”.  Their entire and sole purpose is to kill Israelis, terrorise the populace and eradicate Israel as a country.  I know I’m repeating myself here, but if they would only invest their energies into building instead of destroying, the Palestinians could have been one of the richest countries in the world.

Sadly, a Bedouin man was also killed in his village by a direct hit from a rocket, and his entire family was wounded.

Contrary to initial reports, a Bedouin family hit by a rocket near Dimona earlier has suffered grave casualties.

A man, 32, was killed in the attack. Four other family members, two women and two children, were wounded in the attack. Reports on their conditions vary; some reports say a baby is in serious condition.

(On a personal note, that Dimona attack had my daughter and her family taking shelter twice over Shabbat morning.)

In other news of the day, the bestial terrorists used (and abused) a helpless donkey to carry out a suicide bombing:

Hamas militants sent a donkey laden with explosives on a suicide mission in one of the most unconventional tactics yet seen in the fighting in Gaza, the Israeli army has said.

Troops said they were forced to open fire on the animal – blowing it up – as it approached their position in the southern city of Rafah, near the Egyptian border.

The Israeli army had received prior intelligence that militants were going to try to use animals to carry out attacks, according to a press release on the Israeli Defence Forces website.

“They used this donkey as a human shield, or an animal shield, if you like,” said Major Arye Shalicar, an army spokesman. “Anything, an animal or an international building, that can help make use of innocent people or international [citizens], they will use it. We see it time and again.”

Every time we think Hamas can’t sink any lower … they do.

However, it is not Hamas against whom the nations protest all over the world. It is against Israel, and the Jews, upon whom the nations pour their ire.

Turkish demonstrators burn the Israeli flag at an anti-Israel demo outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul

Turkey has taken the crown in antisemitic protests, headed by its own leader who called Israel “more barbaric than Hitler“.

Early Saturday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning to Israeli citizens against nonessential travel to Turkey. “Given the public atmosphere in Turkey in light of Operation Protective Edge, we are honing our recommendation to avoid visits to the state that aren’t essential,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Israel decided Friday to pull some of its diplomatic staff out of Turkey in the wake of violent protests targeting the buildings of its embassy and consulate in Ankara and Istanbul, an embassy spokesman said, as well as recent statements that accused Israel of attempting a “systematic genocide” on the Palestinian people.

After protests against Operation Protective Edge in front of Israel’s missions in Ankara and Istanbul turned violent Thursday night, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman instructed Israeli diplomats stationed in Turkey to return home.

And demonstrations in London also displayed some vile antisemitic signs  (via Tom Gross’s facebook page):

Anti-Semitic signs at anti-Israel demo in London

Anti-Semitic signs at anti-Israel demo in London

Douglas Murray at the Spectator once again exposes the hypocrisy as well as the inherent antisemitism of these anti-Israel demonstrations:

But what a picture. These are the people who stayed at home throughout the Syrian civil war, stayed at home when ISIS rampaged across Iraq, stayed at home when Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab carried out their atrocities across central Africa and showed no concern whatsoever when the Muslim Brotherhood was running Egypt into the ground. Yet they pretend to care about Muslims.

And here they all are, coming out to scream because Israel is carrying out the most specific and targeted campaign in the history of warfare in order to stop Hamas – a group dedicated to the annihilation of all Jews – from firing thousands of rockets into the Jewish homeland.

Astonishingly enough, anti-Israel protests were also held – in Israel! The good news is that traitorous MK Hanin Zouabi found herself in handcuffs, albeit only for a short while:

Over a thousand Arab Israeli protesters massed in the northern city of Haifa on Friday evening to rally against the IDF’s ongoing ground incursion in the Gaza Strip. The demonstrators, led by controversial Balad MK Hanin Zoabi, clashed with police as they attempted to block several roads in the coastal city.

A number of police officers and protesters, among them Balad MK Jamal Zahalka, who also took part in the rally, were lightly injured and received medical treatment at the spot.

Some of the protesters were reported to have waved Palestinian flags as they chanted slogans welcoming Hamas rocket fire at Tel Aviv. The demonstrators also shouted out slogans against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Thirty protesters were arrested, including Zoabi, who was handcuffed by police officers at the site. The Balad MK was released from police custody a short while later.

Police maintained the rally was unauthorized as the demonstrators had failed to alert authorities of its existence.

Speaking of rockets, the only good thing about all that massive rocket fire is that Hamas are using up their stock:

[IDF Spokesman Peter] Lerner went on to say that the army had already eliminated close to 3,000 rockets in Gaza. Considering the fact that terrorists in the Strip have fired some 1,100 projectiles, it is estimated that half of the projected 10,000 rockets in the possession of Gaza terror groups have been used or destroyed.

That is probably small comfort to the communities of the south who are undergoing a heavy bombardment as I write:

Code Red alerts Saturday night 20th July 2014

May we hope for a quieter night and for quieter and safer days ahead.

May Hashem protect the soldiers and citizens of Israel and keep them all safe.

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4 Responses to Operation Protective Edge – Ground op day 2

  1. Linda says:

    It is unbelievable how the world is all so misled. And I feel often abandoned by my ‘friends’ (and they are good friends, and many are Jewish) in ch”ul who don’t even think to share all my Facebook pro-Israel propaganda so that their friends can learn and spread the truth. Reading talkbacks just depresses me. Thanks for you continued coverage.

    • anneinpt says:

      Hi Linda, I don’t know if the world is misled, or if they WANT to be misled. They just want to believe the worst of Israel because it enables them to justify their own antisemitism.

      If your friends are abandoning you (or Israel) then they are not true friends and you’re better off without them, even if that is a painful thing to contemplate.

      As for talkbacks – don’t bother! Most talkbacks at news sites are barely literate and add nothing to the discussion or to one’s knowledge. Some journalist once remarked that talkbacks are like a car’s exhaust – lots of gas and air but poisonous. It was such a good analogy.

  2. lewy14 says:

    Fabulous coverage here, annie – it’s almost all I need to keep up. You are doing the world a great service. Godspeed to the soldiers of the IDF carrying out these missions.

    I get the sense that the mission to end the threat of rockets and kidnapping against Israelis is really possible here and will be pursued tenaciously. I hope so.

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you Lewy. I’m flattered but humbled by your compliment. I’m just trying to keep up with the news while it races ahead without me.

      I agree with your speculation that we have a singular opportunity to root out the terror threat of Hamas, and that the gov’t and people are united in this aim in an unprecedented way.

      Now just let the world let us get on with the job…

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