News from the Front and the Homeland at War from Arutz Sheva
- From: jgarbuz <jgarbuz@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2009 16:18:36 -0800 (PST)
1. 'Cast Lead' Leaves Phoneless Terrorists Confused
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
The "Cast Lead" counterterrorist campaign has spread to cyberspace and
cell phones, leaving Hamas's terrorist army in confusion, unable to
issue and receive orders efficiently. Almost of all of Gaza's cell
phone system is out of order, television stations have been hit and
the Hamas website is down.
The local phone company Paltel said that 90 percent of Gaza's cellular
system is out of order. Compounding the problem are the downing of
landlines and the inability of technicians to reach work sites.
Switchboards and mobile communications equipment have sustained heavy
damage in air raids.
Hamas's leaders, who have been forced underground, have been forced to
rely on old-fashioned walkie-talkies to maintain communication with
terrorists. Most of the upper echelon orders are coming from Hamas
headquarters in Damascus, manned by Khaled Mashaal.
Paltel has warned subscribers that they may be completely cut off from
the outside world. Electricity blackouts have made it difficult for
the population to receive radio and television programs, and
television stations that have not been destroyed by aerial strikes
often are not able to broadcast.
Paltel said three of its technicians have died or have suffered
The Hamas website is down after several attempts to put in back on the
Internet. Israel previously has hacked other Arab-language sites with
messages to the public that it is being exploited by Hamas leaders.
Hamas issued a statement accusing the "The Americans and Zionists" of
trying to silence communications. One website that was hacked issued
calls for Jihad, the Arabic term for "holy war" on Israel.
2. Golani Soldiers Foiled Kidnapping Attempt
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Golani troops and IAF helicopters foiled an attempt by Hamas to kidnap
a solder in a tunnel near Gaza City Sunday morning. The IDF refused to
comment on the report.
The incident was said to have occurred after Golani troops entered a
Hamas command center in a house on the eastern outskirts of Gaza City
and discovered smuggling tunnels underneath. A clash broke out between
the troops and Hamas terrorists, who began to drag away one soldier,
according to Israeli and foreign media.
Helicopter cover and efforts by his comrades forced the terrorists to
release the solider. The IDF refused to discuss the incident, saying
it would not comment on "rumors," but its spokesmen on Sunday denied a
Hamas claim to the media that it had kidnapped two soldiers. The
denial was issued after Reuters published the report, and the source
of the claim may have been the clash that was not reported until
Ground troops advanced deeper and slowly and carefully into Gaza. One
soldier suffered moderate wounds and four others were lightly injured
in heavy fighting with Hamas guerrilla fighters.
Five soldiers remained in serious condition in Soroka Medical Center
in Be'er Sheva on Monday morning. One of the wounded is Dvir Bar Chai,
son of Southern Hevron Hills Regional Council leader Tzviki Bar Chai.
Twenty-three soldiers suffered light to moderate wounds.
Twelve other soldiers are recovering from light injuries in Bellinson,
Barzilai and Sheba hospitals, and one other soldier is recovering
The Air Force struck 30 terrorist targets overnight, including a
mosque and four Hamas terrorists' homes used for storing a large
amount of weaponry, while southern Israel residents spent a quiet
night. Gaza terrorists launched their first rocket of the day at 7:00
a.m. on Sderot. The missile exploded at a kibbutz outside of the town
and caused no injuries or damage.
Two more Kassams hit the Eshkol region and also landed in open areas.
3. Bless the IDF Soldiers As They Enter Battle
by Baruch Gordon
IDF Chief Rabbi Avi Ronsky came to the Gaza front lines Sunday night
in full war gear to bless Israel's soldiers moments before they
entered battle. Rabbi Ronsky served as a former commander in an elite
combat unit and fought in the Yom Kippur War.
Rabbis throughout Israel and the Diaspora have asked the public to
recite daily prayers and Psalms for the success of Israel's troops.
Israel National News has added English subtitles to the video below of
Rabbi Ronsky blessing the troops so that viewers can pray together
with the IDF Chief Rabbi for the success of the Gaza operation to halt
terrorism. [Answer "Amen" after the Chief Rabbi's prayer.]
Email readers, click here to view the video and pray for Israeli
In conjunction with the instruction of Israel's spiritual leaders,
please link to this page to enable viewers to pray together with the
Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces at the Gaza front lines once
4. Grad Rockets Hit Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva
by Hana Levi Julian
Hamas and allied terrorist attacked southern Israel with 28 rockets
since 7 a.m. Monday, appearing to focus primarily on the coastal city
At about 2:00 p.m. the Color Red incoming rocket alert siren wailed in
the city, sending residents racing for shelters for what seemed to be
the umpteenth time within a two-hour span. Officials said at least one
long-range Grad-type Katyusha rocket was discovered a short time
later, having landed in an open area. No injuries or damage was
reported in that attack.
An earlier barrage was more dangerous, however. A Grad rocket slammed
into an open area in Ashkelon at approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday and
landed next to a single-family home. Initial reports by Magen David
Adom medics racing to the scene said early reports indicated that at
least two people were lightly injured by shrapnel and a number of
people suffered severe emotional trauma.
A second Grad rocket exploded elsewhere in the city at about the same
time as well, but there were no reports of injuries or damage in that
attack. Within 15 minutes, another barrage struck Ashkelon; at least
one Grad rocket landed in an open area in the city, according to city
officials, but caused no injuries or damage.
In Be'er Sheva, the "capital of the Negev," a Grad rocket struck the
city for the first time since last Friday and landed near an apartment
building. According to initial reports, no one suffered physical
injuries in the attack although there were a number of people who were
treated for severe emotional trauma.
Gaza terrorists aimed most of their rocket fire Monday at the
Mediterranean coastal cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod. At least one and
possibly two long-range rockets exploded between the two cities
shortly before 12:00 noon. One landed in the Yavneh region, sending
several people into emotional shock but causing no physical injuries
At the same time, a barrage of shorter-range Kassam rockets was fired
at the Gaza Belt city of Sderot. Three rockets slammed in the
community, one exploding in the center of town in an area usually
filled with people at midday. Although the rocket caused significant
damage and a number of people suffered severe emotional trauma, there
were no physical injuries in any of the attacks. The other two rockets
landed in open areas.
Ashkelon was also hit by two Grad-type Katyusha rockets at about 10:30
"Another miracle," said the announcer on Radio Darom (Radio of the
South), as a listener described how one of the missiles landed right
on the sidewalk of the main street in Ashkelon. "No one injured, and
it landed right on Main Street. Unbelievable!" he exclaimed. The
second missile exploded in an open area on the northern outskirts of
the city. There were no reports of injuries in either attack.
Three rockets exploded at about the same time near Ashdod, Kiryat
Malachi and Yavneh, all landing in open areas. A mortar shell was also
fired at the Sha'ar HaNegev region. No injuries or damage were
About half an hour earlier, a rocket landed for the first time in the
Gush Shafir region, north of the Kiryat Malachi-Ashkelon area, near
the community of Merkaz Shapira, according to Radio Darom.
Asher Abargil, head of the Regional Council of Gush Shafir, said the
exact landing site had not yet been identified and there were no
reports of injuries or damage. He advised residents to "calm down,
drink some water, relax a little and follow the instructions of the
Home Front Command."
Two Grad-type Katyusha rockets exploded barely five minutes prior to
that attack, also in the area of Kiryat Malachi and Yavne. No one was
hurt and no damage was reported.
A Kassam rocket exploded at a kibbutz near Sderot at 7 a.m., one other
exploded in an open area near a Gaza Belt community and two short-
range missiles landed in the Eshkol region. All of the rockets landed
in open areas. The mood of the town is generally relaxed, and
residents say they feel more reassured since the IDF intensified its
counterterrorism campaign in Gaza.
Sunday night was quiet, with no rocket attacks reported.
Visiting Jewish community leaders from the United States who had
arrived on a solidarity tour narrowly escaped injury during a Kassam
rocket attack Sunday during a visit to Sderot.
Upon hearing the Color Red incoming missile alert siren, the leaders
of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations fled en
masse to a fortified police building, which was struck by the rocket
5. IDF: Ground Assault is Needed to Take Out Tunnels, Silos
by IsraelNN Staff
Hamas has built an 'incredible' military infrastructure in Gaza,
including tunnels and launch silos, and the only way to destroy it is
by using ground troops, IDF Spokesman Captain Benjamin Rutland told
Can't see video? Click here.
A prime objective of the ground operation in Gaza is to take control
of areas used as launching pads for terror rockets, he said. The IDF
intends to vastly reduce Hamas's ability to launch missiles at Israeli
civilians and to damage the terrorist infrastructure.
6. Humanitarian Aid Reaching Gaza
by Hana Levi Julian
Shipments of humanitarian aid to Gaza resumed Monday after a two-day
pause to allow the entry of ground troops into the region in Stage Two
of Operation Cast Lead.
Some 200,000 liters of heavy diesel fuel are being pumped through the
Nahal Oz terminal, enough for the Gaza power station and other
humanitarian needs as well. The depot was closed for the last week due
to security concerns that blocked Israel's ability to operate the
crossing, notably terrorist attacks aimed specifically at personnel
manning the terminal.
Approximately 80 truckloads of medical supplies, medications and basic
food commodities are also being delivered to the region through the
Kerem Shalom Crossing. Among the shipments are donations from Greece,
Jordan and Egypt, in addition to supplies being sent from various
international aid organizations.
The International Committee of the Red Cross complained on Sunday that
Israel has refused to allow its medical teams into the region to
assist Gaza doctors with complex surgeries. Attempts by Israel
National News to check the veracity of the claim were unsuccessful and
calls to COGAT, the office for Coordination of Government Activities
in the Territories, were not returned.
Dual Citizens Assisted to Leave
The evacuation of dual citizens is also continuing. Last week, 226
Gazans holding foreign passports, among them U.S. nationals, were
assisted to leave the region.
On Monday, "at the request of various embassies, an evacuation of some
200 dual nationals is also planned," said a spokesman for the Foreign
Gazans holding passports from Norway, Germany, Philippines, Poland,
Romania, Spain, Malta, France, Greece, Austria and Canada have made
arrangements to travel to Jordan via the Allenby Bridge. They will
travel through Israel in order to reach the border crossing into
Jordan, where they will continue on to their final destinations.
Hundreds of Trucks of Aid Reach Gaza
Since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead, and on a daily basis, the
international community has been able to increase the amount of goods
supplied to Gaza, according to a release disseminated by the Foreign
Some 400 truckloads of humanitarian aid have been transferred since
the operation began, at the request of the international
organizations, the Palestinian Authority and various governments.
According to the report, 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid was delivered
to Gaza throughout the week, 2,000 units of blood were donated by
Jordan, five ambulances were donated by Turkey, five ambulances
transferred from Judea and Samaria on behalf of the Palestinian Red
Crescent Society and 20 people were evacuated to Israel for medical
needs, including two injured children.
7. War Won't Delay Elections-Yet; Postponement 'Victory for Hamas'
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
Israelis are to vote on the next government in five weeks, but the war
against Hamas has shelved campaigning. Pensioners party chairman Rafi
Eitan wants a postponement of six weeks. All major parties are opposed
to the idea, but an extended battle may change the picture.
Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism - UTJ) MK Moshe Gafne said, "For
the time being, we have postponed our campaign. We have to wait and
see in the next few days what will happen. If the war continues, there
will be a need to delay the election."
If the war continues, there will be a need to delay the election.
MK Eitan, Tzomet chairman MK Elchanan Glazer and a relatively unknown
party representing young Israelis have appealed to the Knesset
Elections Committee to delay the February 10 voting. MK Eitan argued
that it is deceptive to allow election campaigning when soldiers are
on the battlefield and civilians are in bomb shelters.
The Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign has helped the larger parties
maintain their strength, with Labor winning more support at the cost
of the smaller parties.
General elections have been postponed only once - during the Yom
Kippur War in 1973 in order to maintain national unity. A postponement
effort today would involve a complicated and uncertain procedure that
would require the support of 61 MKs and possibly 80 MKs to change the
Basic Law and allow a dissolved government to continue to stay in
MK Eitan's proposal for a vote at the end of March also would cause a
legal nightmare for the next government, which legally must pass a
budget for the current year by March 31 or face dissolution. His
suggested timing would require a coalition to be formed in the record
time of several days and then pass an emergency budget.
Kadima leaders maintained that "there is no reason to postpone the
elections and no reason to discuss it" for the time being. Similar
comments were made by Labor, Shas and Likud leaders.
Israel Is Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu) spokesmen stated, "This is the
time to talk about defeating terror and not about elections."
The rejuvenated National Union party, headed by Israel National News
executive director Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz and MKs Uri Ariel and Prof.
Aryeh Eldad, opposes a delay for two reasons. "We have no faith in
this government that agreed to the 'calm' with Hamas that is the
reason Grad-type Katyushas are falling in Be'er Sheva. Moreover, we
cannot let terrorists determine the country's schedule," a party
Meretz claimed that Israel would not be at war if the government would
reach a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. All three Arab parties
condemned Israel for the war and have opposed pushing back the
February 10 date.
8. Shin Bet Says Hamas Feeling the Pain, Looking for Way Out
by Gil Ronen
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency/ISA) chief Yuval Diskin told the
government Sunday that "there are initial signs that Hamas is becoming
less intransigent about the possible ceasefire."
"Their leadership is under heavy pressure and wants the Israeli
operation halted, while looking for an honorable exit that will not
humiliate them," he told the ministers in the weekly cabinet session.
The session, which is normally held in Jerusalem, was held in Tel
Aviv, in the military-government complex known as Hakirya.
Hamas leaders under pressure
"There is a willingness on the part of Hamas to reach an
accomodation," Diskin said. "The Hamas leadership abroad and in Gaza
is under pressure and is acting to achieve a ceasefire," he explained.
"It is disappointed with the Arab countries which are not standing by
"Everything Hamas has created in Gaza is under real threat and its
leadership feels an existential danger," he added.
Close range urban fighting
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said that more than 400
Arabs, most of them Hamas terrorists, have been killed in Operation
Cast Lead so far. "Not much is left of the Hamas government," he said.
The fighting between the IDF and Hamas is mostly being carried out at
close range and in urban settings, where Hamas prefers to engage the
Military Intelligence Chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the cabinet
that "Hamas understands that it made a strategic mistake in violating
the 'calm.' It has been dealt a serious blow," he said.
"Dozens of command posts have been hit, ammunition depots and [weapon]
production infrastructure have been destroyed," Yadlin continued. "The
ability to smuggle through tunnels has been impaired. The group's
leaders are busy taking care of themselves. Hamas finds itself hated
Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen said 600 Arabs had been arrested within
Israel over the past week, and 230 are still behind bars in connection
with violent demonstrations against the Gaza operation. 50 police
officers were injured in the rioting by Arab citizens of Israel.
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