Tuesday, August 03, 2010

3-Aug-10: Were they on the Lebanese side? We mean the IDF soldiers, not the Reuters editors

Below is a screen shot of a Reuters image that is being used by media channels all round the world right now. The caption reads: "Israeli soldier is seen on crane | An Israeli soldier is seen on a crane on the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border near Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli artillery shelled the Lebanese village on Tuesday, wounding two people, after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers along the usually quiet but tense frontier, witnesses said".

Let's hope the Reuters fact-checking people and picture editors have done a better job than on those previous occasions involving Israel where Reuters ended up with red faces. Because from what we have been hearing, the tree cutting and general maintenance being done by the IDF soldiers in the images was co-ordinated ahead of time with the UNIFIL offiers, and took place on the Israeli side of the so-called Blue Line.

3-Aug-10: A reminder of how much terror the Lebanese have visited upon us before today

A long, depressing list.

And the even more depressing perpetrators (below): the Iran-funded, Iran-nurtured Hezbollah jihadists who today constitute the central and most important element in the tensions and terror that plague Israel's northern border.

3-Aug-10: Minutes before the shooting broke out today

The upper of the two images on the right (from AP) is captioned: "A Lebanese soldier holds his rifle as Israeli troops patrol the border fence in the southern border village of Adaisseh, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010. Lebanon and Israeli troops exchanged fire on the border Tuesday in the most serious clashes since a fierce war four years ago."

The Israelis are the soldiers in the background, on their own side of the fence, working with a mechanical mobile crane to install something (according to some reports, a camera.) The distance between the two forces could hardly be closer.

By the way, how odd do you think it that newsagency photographers AND offiers from UNIFILwere present as the Lebanese took position, aimed, and eventually fired?

The lower image, more or less a counterpart to the first, shows the broader picture. It's captioned: "An Israeli soldier is seen on a crane on the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border near Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli artillery shelled the Lebanese village on Tuesday, wounding two people, after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers along the usually quiet but tense frontier, witnesses said."

Meanwhile the day is wearing on and so is the shooting and rising tension. A few minutes ago (Tuesday 4:00pm Israel time), the IDF spokesperson's office issued a statement laying out its view of what has been going on up north. Around the middle of the day, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) fired on an IDF position along the Lebanese border in northern Israel, says the IDF spokesperson. The force was inside Israeli territory, carrying out routine maintenance that had been co-ordinated with the United Nations force in the area, UNIFIL. The location of the clash is east of Metula, an Israeli town. The incident occurred west of the internationally recognized "Blue Line" (the border between Israel and Lebanon) and east of the security fence. In other words, the attack was made on Israeli soldiers operating inside Israeli territory.

The statement says IDF forces returned fire with light arms right away, aiming at the LAF forces. The IDF also used artillery fire, and shortly after that, an Israel Air Force (IAF) helicopter fired at the LAF Battalion Command Center in Al-Taybeh, damaging several LAF armored combat vehicles. It closes with the traditional life-must-go-on formulation: "The Israeli public in the Galilee region to carry on with their routine way of life."

Routine, this surely is not.

There is considerable tension here, given what Israeli intelligence has been saying for months: the Lebanese and the Hizbullah forces are equipped with tens of thousands of missiles and rockets, targeting our cities, towns and homes. We blogged about this two weeks ago - read "20-Jul-10: Protecting the lives of ordinary people... who happen to be Arabs", and please view the video there.

3-Aug-10: Shooting and sounds of explosions on Israel-Lebanon border for past 2 hours

It's too early to be able to put things into a responsible perspective, but it's clear that a non-trivial flare-up of hostilities broke out on the Israel-Lebanon border within the past two hours. This comes a day after terrorists fired rockets into Israel's southern-most reaches.

The little we can say at this stage from a variety of partial sources is that Israeli and Lebanese (not Hizbullah) forces exchanged heavy fire, with massive explosions being reported in the general region of Israel's northern border; according to one source, all the explosions are on the Lebanese side of the fence. An IDF statement issued in the last few minutes says IDF soldiers "were on routine activity in Israeli territory, in an area that lies between the 'blue line' (the internationally recognized border between Israel and Lebanon) and the security fence, and thus within Israeli territory" when the shooting began from the Lebanese side.

IDF soldiers were performing routine operations in a border-area enclave within Israeli territory when, according to YNet, they came under fire. Residents throughout the northern areas of Israel, familiar with what it means to live in the shadow and firing range of missile-rich enemy forces, have been instructed by Israeli Home Command to enter their secured rooms and bomb shelters.

Monday, August 02, 2010

2-Aug-10: When they try to convince you the Qassams are not a serious threat...

Think of these scenes below when some journalist or editor tries to convince you (as happens chronically in some parts of the media) the Qassams are not a serious threat. The video shows the facility we mentioned in 1-Aug-10 More Incoming Qassams. The good people at Sderot Media Center say the hydrotherapy rehab center at Sapir College provides therapy and workshops for special-needs adults and children from the Western Negev. The incoming Qassam totally destroyed it. Don't overlook the shrapnel holes.

2-Aug-10: More rockets, more sources, more targets - same ongoing war

Eilat - the hotel zone
The reports this morning (Monday) are still not entirely coherent. But it's clear that someone, somewhere, has given the instruction for the jihadists across the fence to increase the stakes.

This is not happening in a vacuum. We (but not the mainstream media) have reported on a steady shower of Qassams, Grads, mortars and other projectiles fired by the terrorists of Hamas-occupied Gaza into anything Israeli over the past few days. [They don't care what or whom they hit, damage, injure or kill. This is exactly why they qualify to be called terrorists. There is no larger strategy.]

In the past few hours, several rockets evidently originating in Egyptian-controlled Sinai were fired in the general direction of the southern Israeli holiday resort of Eilat. Two (according to the Jerusalem Post) fell into the Red Sea; two more crashed into Jordan and did real damage; one landed in the vicinity of Eilat, fortunately in an open area just north of the hotels zone.

YNet is reporting that the one that reached Jordan landed near the Intercontinental Hotel in Aqaba. AFP says, quoting Jordan's interior minister, that it was a Grad-type rocket and that it injured four people, one of them seriously. Our readers will remember that a Grad was fired into Ashkelon this past Friday, narrowly missing a high-rise apartment complex. Grads are not so common in these parts, though it seems we had better start getting used to them.

Eilat, Israel's most popular tourist city, is hardly a stranger to terror attacks though the editors at the BBC give the impression that they think otherwise. In its inimitable style, BBC World is currently reporting that "Eilat, which is a popular tourist resort, has largely been spared from rocket and other attacks."

Well, not exactly. This past April, two rockets landed in Eilat and in Aqaba which abuts it. In 2005, a rocket fired from Jordan landed next to Eilat airport and two others missed a US Navy vessel docked in the port of Aqaba. Someone claimed credit in the name of "Al-Qaida", whatever that means, but the culprits have never been conclusively identified. A Palestinian bomber killed three men working at an Eilat bakery in January 2007. Both Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs (one of Arafat's enduring contributions to the culture of the Palestinian Arabs) claimed the credit for that attack.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

1-Aug-10: More incoming Qassams

Idealized image of a Qassam rocket as a gift
being delivered to us Israelis, depicted
on the Hamas Al Qassam website [www.alqassam.ps]
A Qassam rocket fired by terrorists in northern Gaza Saturday night crashed into the roof of a regional therapy center for people with disabilities, located in the Shaar Hanegev area, near Sderot. Fortunately there are no reports of injury. YNet quotes a firefighter, seeing smoke billowing from the building: "I have no doubt that had there been people in the building – it would have been a major disaster. It's a miracle..." Serious damage was caused to the building, according to Haaretz which reports that the structure's rooftop and most of the second floor of the building were destroyed.

[For the record, this was the fourth time - according to YNet - that the western Negev rehabilitation center took direct hits from incoming jihadist-terror rockets. The facility serves children with special needs, disabled IDF veterans, victims of terrorist attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder patients.]

Tonight's rocket fire comes after the IDF responded to Friday's daytime rocket attacks on Israeli civilians from jihadist Gaza. We reported that here: 30-Jul-10: Firing on Ashkelon again

During Friday night, IDF aircraft mounted a pinpoint aerial attack on targets in Gaza during which a well-known Hamas figure, Issa Abdul-Hadi Al-Batran, was reportedly killed. An Iranian news-site calls him one of Hamas' commanders. AFP is a little more precise, terming him "a senior field commander". UPI says he was "a senior Hamas military commander and had survived five previous attempts on his life by Israeli forces". Maan News, a Palestinian Arab source, calls him the leader of the Al-Qassam Brigades. The Guardian reports that he was also a rocket-maker, adding that the targets hit in Friday night's air strike included a military training camp in Gaza City, smuggling tunnels under Gaza's closed border with Egypt and Al-Batran's shack on the outskirts of the Nusseirat refugee camp.