Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – Middle East Theatre – Israel/Gaza Strip: Jerusalem/Gaza City – Tehran; DM Peretz “Time for Restraint is Over” – IAF Destroys Islamic Jihad Van Transporting Grad Missiles
Night Watch: GAZA CITY – Debka quoted Israel Defense Minister Amir Peretz as saying the time for restraint is over. That Israel’s Defense Force had shown restraint for the past few days because of the international outcry over Palestinian civilians killed on a beach perhaps by Israeli fire. Israel’s investigation has shown that the deaths may have actually been caused by a landmine planted by Hamas. [Regnum]
Peretz stated that no matter who caused the killings that is now behind them. As evidence of that Debka and Reuters report that the Israel Air Force (IAF) hit a van with an Islamic Jihad rocket unit inside that was transporting Grad (Katyusha) rockets. An Israeli military spokeswoman said, “The car that we hit was loaded with Katyusha (Grad) rockets and launchers and they were on their way to launch those Katyusha rockets at Israel.”
The Katyusha’s have a 12 mile (20 km) range, nearly twice the range of the weaker and less accurate Qassam missile. More than 100 Qassams have been fired since the Palestinian civilians were killed causing Hamas to end the 16-month truce with Israel. Debka reported earlier this year that Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups were being supplied with the more powerful and more accurate Katyusha (Grad) rocket.
Their training in the use of them had been provided by Tehran. It will be interesting to see how much violence has to occur between Israel and Palestinians for Damascus – Tehran to join the war. I suspect Israel will have to launch a large-scale offensive, at least into Gaza for that to happen.
In the meantime, in sideline action, there was fighting between rival Palestinian parties Hamas and Fatah somewhere on the West Bank. The Palestinians are fighting a war on two fronts, against Israel and against each other. They are running the risk of reducing their support from Islamic governments and the international community.
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