LIVE BLOG DAY 4: Operation Pillar Of Defense [UPDATED 11:59PM IL]

(Saturday, November 17th, 2012)

UPDATE: 11:59PM IL: Maccabi HMO launches psychological trauma hotline for rocket victims- 3555.

UPDATE: 10:54PM IL: Sirens in Eshkol Regional Council a short time ago.

The sirens sounded 11 times in Beersheva today. 31 rockets were fired at Beersheva, of which 16 were intercepted by the Iron Dome. The remainder landed in open areas.

UPDATE: 10:28PM IL: Israel denies Arab reports of an emissary heading to Egypt for an imminent ceasefire agreement

UPDATE: 10:26PM IL: GAZA reports IAF strike home of Hamas leader in Rafiach, Atiya Abu Nakita. Six wounded according to preliminary information.

UPDATE: 9:51PM IL: Channel 2 Arab Affairs correspondent Ehud Ya’ari reports Arab sources claim Israeli emissary en route to Cairo to review draft ceasefire agreement that would begin tonight. This is not confirmed by any official sources in Israel. He states the draft agreement involves guarantees from Turkey, Qatar, Egypt and the USA.

Channel 1 News carrying the same report.

UPDATE: 9:40PM IL: Sirens sounding in Shar HaNegev, Eshkol and S’dot Negev Regional Councils. 

UPDATE: 9:33PM IL: Residents of Sderot and neighboring areas are about to celebrate a bas mitzvah, 12 years of rocket fire. While Jerusalemites and Tel Aviv residents discuss the sirens heard over recent days, the residents of Sderot and Gaza border communities have raised a generation of children who have grown accustomed to awakening from sleep and running for their lives within 15 seconds.

Children celebrating bas mitzvah and bar mitzvah have not known life without sirens.

UPDATE: 9:30PM IL:  Former IDF Gaza Division Commander Brigadier-General (retired) Chico Tamir reminds the nation that “a ground forces operation demands us to be ready for sacrifice, which includes loss of life. I do not feel the nation’s leaders or the people are ready. Warfare demands everything or nothing. We do have the luxury of going halfway, for this leads to disaster as we have seen in recent years. Therefore I recommend halting an infantry operation to preserve the victory of the past days”.

During Operation Cast Lead, Ehud Barak served as defense minister as well, under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and he called for ending the operation after three days, before a major ground forces incursion.

UPDATE: 9:23PM IL: IDF concerned with some Facebook postings, which may compromise security, calling on residents to please act responsibly.

UPDATE: 9:21PM IL: After meeting with security officials, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat calls on residents to maintain regular schedule but to remain increasingly vigilant

UPDATE: 9:15PM IL: Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon remains unfortified at this time. The new fortified facility is under construction. The hospital has discharged as many patients as possible due to the warfare. The preemie ward was moved to a large bomb shelter.

UPDATE: 9:13PM IL: The Homefront Command’s 1207 information hotline has received 50,000 calls in the past 48 hours.

UPDATE: 9:10PM IL: Four rockets heading to Netivot intercepted by the Iron Dome.

UPDATE: 8:59PM IL: Sirens sounding in Netivot, Eshkol Council, Bnei Shimon Council, S’dot HaNegev Council and Shar HaNegev Council.

UPDATE: 8:51PM IL: IDF Twitter list increases to over 160,000 from a few thousands before Operation Pillar of Defense.

UPDATE: 8:47PM IL: HEBRON: B’chasdei Hashem no injuries or loss of life reported in a firebomb attack against a Jewish motorist near Beit Hadassah. The firebomb ignited. Damage reported.

UPDATE: 8:45PM IL: No reports of injuries in rocket attacks to Gan Yavne, Ashkelon and Ashdod.

Gaza: IAF attacks a vehicle near Khan Yunis, killing two.

UPDATE: 8:16PM IL: Over 150 rockets fired at Israel by terrorists on shabbos day.

UPDATE: 8:12PM IL: Ashdod residents are being increasingly vigilant in adhering to instructions after a rocket slammed into an apartment building on shabbos, now more aware that listening to Homefront Command instructions can save lives.

Israel Police is stepping up efforts to apprehend PA (Palestinian Authority) residents inside “Israel proper” illegally in an effort to prevent a terror attack. Police believe many of these people have relatives in Gaza and may wish to carry out a revenge attack.

UPDATE: 8:08PM IL: The rocket fired into the Gush Dan area near motzei shabbos was an 8 inch cylinder manufactured in Gaza by the Islamic Jihad. The technology for the rocket comes from Iran.

While the rocket is somewhat primitive, it has the capability to make the 70km (42 mile) distance to the heart of the country and is deadly.

UPDATE: 8:04PM IL: Prime Minister Netanyahu today spoke with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas. During his conversation with German Chancellor Merkel, the Prime Minister said that no country in the world would agree to a situation in which its population lives under a constant missile threat.

Yesterday (Friday, 2 Kislev), Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke with US President Barack Obama for the second time since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense and expressed his appreciation for the US position regarding Israel’s right to defend itself. The Prime Minister also thanked him for the American assistance in purchasing Iron Dome batteries.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to speak with other world leaders this evening and in the coming days.

UPDATE: 8:01PM IL: PM Netanyahu now meeting with DM Barak, FM Lieberman, Mossad chief and Shin Bet director as they plan the next step in Operation Pillar of Defense.

UPDATE: 8:00PM IL: Thousands of IDF reservists making their way to their units and bases as they are activated by ‘Tzav 8’ wartime emergency call-up orders.

UPDATE: 7:57PM IL: PM Netanyahu sends a condolence message to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi after accident in that country today involving a bus and a train. The bus was carrying kindergarten children. At least 49 fatalities reported.

UPDATE: 7:55PM IL: Now permitted to report new Iron Dome battery, 5th operating nationwide, was placed in Gush Dan area.

UPDATE: 7:55PM IL: Now permitted to report new Iron Dome battery, 5th operating nationwide, was placed in Gush Dan area.

UPDATE: 7:53PM IL: Ashdod Mayor Dr. Yechiel Lasri reports 10-12 sirens in his city today, adding “Baruch Hashem we see the miracles here daily” as only a few rockets resulted in damage and there was no loss of life. Five people were lightly injured when a rocket slammed into a home.

The mayor explains the citizens of the city are living in a state of war and they except it as they want the rocket fire to end. “The children are home and we are dealing with it. Schools are closed.”

UPDATE: 7:49PM IL: Former IDF Gaza Division Commander Brigadier-General (retired) Chico Tamir explains that to date, 50 terrorists have been eliminated in this operation, as compared to 1,400 killed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, praising the accuracy of IAF strikes, based on outstanding intelligence information.

Tamir feels “we must lower our expectations regarding the outcome of this operation” because if ground forces are sent in, “the amount of force needed [to protect soldiers] will exceed all proportions and therefore the gain by sending in ground forces is minimal in my opinion”.

Tamir feels that the mission as it is may buy quiet for a period of time but “Hamas measures the blow in the number of killed and this operation will not buy us years of quiet to my sorrow. For that to happen, the use of force would have to be beyond what we would view as acceptable”.

He basically feels it is unrealistic to believe when this operation ends Hamas is going to fold up and go away.

UPDATE: 7:45PM IL: Iron Dome has downed 30 rockets today.

UPDATE: 7:43PM IL: Deputy Prime Minister (Shas) Eli Yishai: “We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water.”

When asked if he fears public outcry, he stated “Now that Tel Aviv had sirens they too will remain silent”.

UPDATE: 7:40PM IL: Jerusalem firefighters trying to control blaze near IDF Ofarit base in Mount Scopus area which is the result of a firebomb.

UPDATE: 7:38PM IL: About 40% of residents of Gaza border communities are elsewhere as they try to get a break from the warfare.

UPDATE: 7:38PM IL: Schools to remain closed in the entire 40km range from Gaza border on Sunday.

UPDATE: 7:36PM IL: The IDF reports the Kerem Shalom Crossing will operate for a number of hours on Sunday to permit deliveries of food and humanitarian supplies to Gaza.

UPDATE: 7:34PM IL: While many rockets are still being fired into Israel, the number has dropped. The IAF reports 120 rocket launchers have been eliminated throughout Gaza.

IDF Southern District Commander Major-General Tal Russo announced on motzei shabbos most of their rockets are stored and launched from private homes and this makes things very difficult as the IDF is doing its utmost to minimize collateral damage.

Channel 2 News reports Hamas has rejected a draft ceasefire agreement prepared by Egypt.

UPDATE: 7:30PM IL: 20 “miguniyot” small shelters to be placed around Ashkelon Sunday to reduce time to shelters for residents outdoors.

This is what was done in Sderot years ago, where all the bus stops are fortified so a person can always find cover within a 15 second run.

The long-range rocket fired at Tel Aviv towards the end of shabbos was intercepted by the new Iron Dome placed into operation today.

UPDATE: 7:27PM IL: Sirens sounding in the Ashkelon Coast Regional Counil.

UPDATE: 7:00PM IL: IDF reports that of 758 rockets fired at Israel since the beginning of the operation, only 29 hit inhabited urban areas B’chasdei Hashem/ The air force has conducted 950 sorties since the beginning of the operation, 300 today.

UPDATE: Motzei Shabbos Recap: Following is a brief recap of the warfare in Eretz Yisrael over shabbos.

As was already published by YWN-NYC, sirens sounded in Yerushalayim on Friday night while mispallalim were in shul. Baruch Hashem that rocket landed without loss of life or physical injuries, falling short of it’s indeed target. Sirens also sounded in Gush Etzion.

Friday night was relatively quiet in the south and some areas actually went over 11 hours without a rocket attack. That all changed during the late morning hours on shabbos. Rockets began activating alarm sirens and the Iron Dome as the entire southern area was under attack once again.

Miraculously, there were no physical injuries from rockets. One woman in Be’er Tuvia explains her “miracle” as she took cover in their safe room and the rocket landed outside where they were standing moments earlier.

There were a number of ‘direct hits’ to homes and property, and one rocket fired to the Eshkol Regional Council district left three IDF soldiers with light shrapnel injuries.

IDF Homefront Command officials are pleading with the public, instructing residents to look at maps to learn how much time exists between siren and impact, to know where the nearest shelter is, and to plan a route where one will run in the event of an attack. In short, adhering to Homefront Command directives saves lives.

Later in the day the rocket attacks continues sporadically. As shabbos was coming to an end sirens sounded again in Tel Aviv. That rocket landed without loss of life and injuries too.

The inner cabinet met on Friday night, made kiddush and motzei, and then got down to business. As was reported by YWN World Desk, approval was given for activating up to 75,000 reservists. That is not to say these soldiers will be called up, but the approval was given, permitting the defense minister to act if and when necessary.

Over 1,000 residents of the rocket strike areas spent shabbos in Shomron as part of the ongoing program in Shomron, “We Embrace Our Brothers in the South with  Love”.

Down in the south, somewhere in proximity to the Gaza border, troops remain ‘on the ready’ for the order to begin a ground force operation. If such an operation is launched, the infantry will be escorted by an array of armored vehicles, tanks and with an umbrella of IAF support.

After the sirens have sounded in both Yerushalayim and Tel Aviv, the country is now in a ‘war mode’, and while life continues more or less without disruption north of the 40km area from the Gaza border the population has shifted gear, many seeing their loved ones packing bags and reporting for duty, wondering if they will return.

Israel Police, MDA, Ichud Hatzalah, and Zaka all remain on high operational alert status. Police are working to prevent a terror attack inside Israel, aware the terrorists are highly motivated to perpetrate a ‘quality attack’ against Israelis at this time.

The Siyata Dishmaya over the past days has been overwhelming as over 650 rockets have been fired at Eretz Yisrael in the first days of the warfare. The IAF motzei shabbos reports 300 sorties were carried out over Gaza over shabbos. as a result, a number of additional senior terrorist commanders have been eliminated. Also eliminated were the central police headquarters in Gaza City, as well as the office of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, the very same office seen on international television when Haniyeh held a press conference on Friday standing alongside Egypt’s prime minister, who was visiting Gaza.

Senior Hamas leaders are hiding out in mosques and hospitals, using civilians as a shield the hope the IAF technology will not snuff them out along with the growing list of senior terrorists already eliminated.

The air force announced on shabbos that a fifth Iron Battery became operational, expanding the coverage of the defense system. For obvious reasons the location of the battery is not disclosed.

The nation now sits by and hopefully davens for the success the IAF. While we would hope ground forces are not required, preferring not to see infantry soldiers entering the Hamas battleground, such a reality is not likely and it appears the question is not if soldiers will enter, but when.

FRIDAY 3:35PM IL: YWN-ISRAEL has signed off for Shabbos. Our team of veteran reporters at the YWN Israel Desk in Jerusalem will resume live-blogging “Operation Pillar Of Defense” after Shabbos. For the previous 3 days of stellar reporting on the situation in Eretz Yisroel, please see the following three links below.

CLICK HERE FOR THE YWN LIVE BLOG FROM DAY 3 OF OPERATION PILLAR OF DEFENSE

CLICK HERE FOR THE YWN LIVE BLOG FROM DAY 2 OF OPERATION PILLAR OF DEFENSE

CLICK HERE FOR THE YWN LIVE BLOG FROM DAY 1 OF OPERATION PILLAR OF DEFENSE

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


3 Comments

  1. baron says:

    i like your writing style its very officious and very world war 2 newsreel like!

  2. avreimi says:

    “The IDF reports the Kerem Shalom Crossing will operate for a number of hours on Sunday to permit deliveries of food and humanitarian supplies to Gaza.” Is it Purim today?

  3. Yanky55 says:

    #2- Unfortunately, Israel acts as if it is. If Israel would simply shut the power and water to Gaza, the missiles would end in a few days, as the people would grow weary of living like that. It would be way more effective than what is now being done, and certainly much safer for the IDF, if they decide to go in with ground forces.

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