Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Gaza – Beirut Watch – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Tripoli – Khartoum – Baghdad – El Arish – Ramallah – Damascus – Beirut – Gaza/Jerusalem – Cairo – Amman – Paris – Rome – London – Washington; Palestinian Militants Conduct Effective Raid on Fuel Depot at Karni Terminal on Israel/Gaza Border – Egypt Masses Troops at Rafah Terminal After Hamas Threat – Kosovo Independence on Verge of Collapse
Night Watch: KARNI TERMINAL – “We are talking of a unique and complicated operation.” That was the quote from an extremely satisfied Abu Ahmad, spokesman for Islamic Jihad, after three Palestinian militant groups combined their efforts to stage an effective raid Wednesday afternoon against the fuel depot at the Karni Terminal on the Israel/Gaza border under the cover of rocket-mortar fire. Ahmad added details will be released later. Haaretz reports elements of three Palestinian militant organizations took part: Islamic Jihad, Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC). The infiltrators, four gunmen, are believed to have come from Central Gaza with the terminal less than five miles from Gaza City. They were not only able to penetrate into the fuel depot and set it on fire, killing two Israelis, but their attack was covered by heavy mortar-rocket fire on the Israeli communities of Nahal Oz and Alumin which delayed the arrival of ambulances and emergency services. Israel Defence Forces (IDF) responded quickly with tanks and helicopters which forced the gunmen back into Gaza and search operations are in progress in case other militants are in the immediate area. An Israeli government spokesman said they will hold Hamas responsible and accountable which implies a large scale retaliation. [HAARETZ]
This action comes the day after Hamas threatened to force open not only border crossings into Israel but also the Rafah Terminal leading into Egypt which Tehran had Hamas force open with explosions in January. Debka is commenting this especially sophisticated raid has raised the conflict on this front to a new level with Palestinian militants now able to combine ground attacks with suppressive mortar-rocket fire. The IDF involved in Gaza operations are not used to such effective offensive tactics and there is now the prospect of Palestinians staging the same kind of attacks with larger units, this again only had four gunmen. This is obviously the result of the new training a lot of the militants have been receiving in Syria-Iran and on the same level as Hezbollah. I suspect today’s operation will have the same impact the Hamas raid did in late June 2006 when they captured an Israeli soldier. Not only did it increase the escalation of the fighting in Gaza but just two weeks later Hezbollah staged its ambush across the Lebanese border and with Israel’s response the war that year began with a month of heavy fighting in south Lebanon. Tehran-Damascus had just made official their defense agreements in early June. [DEBKA]
War in this regional theatre is about to increase with a level of turmoil and intensity that will eclipse 2006, for which every government is poised and ready (armed). Debka for instance is also reporting in today’s news ticker Egypt is massing troops on the Rafah Terminal which no doubt is in response to Hamas’ threat yesterday.
Jerusalem – Intelligence reports have forced security services to place Jerusalem and Gush Etzion on full alert with reports of terrorists having already entered the city scouting for targets. INN reports roadblocks have been set up in Jerusalem’s northern districts and there are unconfirmed reports a truck full of terrorists were prevented from entering Gush Etzion. [INN]
Pristina – According to Albert Rohan, Deputy of the former Special Envoy of United Nations for Kosovo, the province’s independence is on the verge of collapse. Serbianna quotes Rohan as saying, “Serbs continue to rebuff the plan, then most of the Ahtisaari (UN Special Envoy) plan will not be possible to implement.” Merely accusing Belgrade is not enough. Serious analysts had been saying, months before the February independence declaration, that Kosovo had no chance to survive economically even if no Serbian embargo was imposed and none has been. There is no new massive influx of investment leading to economic growth coming from Brussels and the European Union and all Washington is willing to offer is weapon exports in the name of stability. But the Kosovo Albanian government in Pristina, instead of realizing their own shortsightedness and unrealistic decision, is most likely to accuse Belgrade of causing their economic collapse and therefore justifying Albanian groups attacking the Serbian institutions Belgrade has maintained in the province. Serbia will then intervene militarily to protect them and the next war will be underway. [SERBIANNA]
With the collapse of Kosovo’s independence will come the collapse of a lot of European security.