Crossfire War – Palestinians Unleash Rocket-Mortar Barrage on Eve of ‘Truce’

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Crossfire War – RAPID FIRE NEWS=TEHRAN – GAZA – BEIRUT WATCH – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Palestinian Unleash Rocket-Mortar Barrage on Eve of “Truce” – Mahdi Army Special Group Cause Massive Car Bomb Attack – NATO-Afghan Army Begin Offensive in Arghandab – India DM Antony Supports “Hot Pursuit” Policy Targeting Islamic Militants

Night Watch: SDEROT – Tuesday: Egypt Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki announced optimistically, “Both sides have pledged to halt all hostilities and all military activities against each other.” He was of course referring to the Cairo negotiations between Hamas/Israel which the Egyptian government of President Hosni Mubarak hopes will prevent a war which will inspire more Islamic extremism which would threaten his control over the country, while Tehran-Hamas will use the lull or calm to ship more weapons through the Rafah Terminal between Sinai and Gaza. Haaretz reports Jerusalem’s negotiatior, Major-General (res.)

Amos Gilad, responded more gravely, “This is not a peace agreement. There is an understanding that is based on the effectiveness of military activities until now, and the will to stop it. At this point we are exhausting the possibilities.” Israel Prime Minister Olmert, who supports the agreement, stated realistically, “We have no illusions. The calm is temporary and may be very short. Hamas has not changed its skin. These are bloodthirsty and despicable terrorists who even today are doing all they can to harm Israeli civilians.” [HAARETZ]

Sderot – Wednesday: Based on news from INN the truce is non-existent. Wednesday morning Palestinian militants fired more than twenty Qassam rockets into Israel’s Negev region which caused the Color Red alert system in Sderot to sound five times. No serious damage or casualties were caused but the Israel Defense Force has already claimed to have hit two Qassam squads by the afternoon. [INN]

Hurriyah – Despite Tehran’s close military relations with the Baghdad administration of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, part of their defense-security Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) they just signed, agrees to allow Iran to continue to take any measures to display the ineffectiveness of the occupation to provide security for the population. A horrific example of that took place yesterday in the Hurriyah district of Baghdad when a powerful car bomb, timed to go off when the market area was at its fullest, killed 63 people and wounded 78.

Asharq al-Awsat/AP are reporting U. S. military investigators believe it was carried out by one of the “Special Groups” Washington says has broken away from the Mahdi Army of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Actually these groups are an extension of the Mahdi Army and used by Tehran to maintain a high level of violence in Shia areas from Baghdad east to the Iranian border and south to Basra and the Persian Gulf. al-Sadr himself recently announced he is forming another Special Group to exclusively attack U. S. units. [ASHARQALAWSAT]

Taalabaya – Xinhua reports one of the leaders of Lebanon’s majority coalition in Parliament MP Saad Hariri has accused Hezbollah of starting a firefight at dawn Tuesday to cover their weapons traffic and supply operations. “Lebanese army discovered unloading weapons in Taalabaya, at Hezbollah headquarters, then, Hezbollah militants started shooting artilleries in every direction for a cover-up.” Hezbollah’s headquarters are situated in the Beqaa Valley in northeast Lebanon adjacent to the Syrian border which has made it extremely easy for Damascus-Tehran to constantly ship more powerful weaponry and longer range rockets non-stop since the 2006 fighting. [XINHUA]

Ta-Been – France24/AFP report NATO and the Afghan Army have begun a major offensive, what they are calling a “clean-up” operation against Taliban forces in Arghandab district less than twenty miles north of Kandahar. The heaviest fighting so far has been in Ta-Been village that caused the death of 20 Taliban and two NATO soldiers. The offensive is being led by Canadian troops in armored vehicles with air cover provided by helicopter gunships. A Taliban spokesman, Yousuf Ahmadi stated, “We will use Arghandab for special attacks with mortars and cannons on targets in Kandahar. We have also planned a suicide attack which will be carried out in Kandahar.” [FRANCE24]

Srinagar – India Defense Minister A. K. Antony called on army units to continue they policy of “hot pursuit” of Islamic militants in Kashmir. It is a policy of the Indian government in Delhi that implies the pursuit will require Indian forces to attack militant bases in Pakistan’s part of the province which has been the flashpoint for two of the three wars between Pakistan/India since their independence in 1947 and it is obviously the flashpoint for the fourth. Pakistan has always stated if India ever attacks Islamic bases inside Pakistan they will have to respond.

Fayaz Wani, NewsBlaze news agent on the ground reports Antony is conducting a two day visit and chaired a high level security meeting that included Army Chief General Deepak Kadoor. The Defense Minister stated they should concentrate not only on attacking the destabilizing forces within Kashmir, a province with a Muslim majority population, but they should also concentrate on the destabilizing influences outside the province (Pakistan). It is quite possible at the security meeting it was agreed to allow Indian units to return fire the next time Pakistani troop’s fire on Indian positions as they did twice in May.

In the meantime it is no secret the militant units are supported by Tehran-Islamabad and in February last year President General Pervez Musharraf presented Tehran his offensive Action Plan. Fighting and infiltration attempts increased last month and since then during a visit to Pakistan by Iran’s most powerful decision making body the Council of Guardians.

Willard Payne is an international affairs analyst who specializes in International Relations. A graduate of Western Illinois University with a concentration in East-West Trade and East-West Industrial Cooperation, he has been providing incisive analysis to NewsBlaze. He is the author of Imagery: The Day Before.