Crossfire War – Rapid Fire News=Tehran – Gaza – Beirut – West Asia – North – Northeast Africa Theatre: Israel Declares State of Emergency for Coastal Region of Ashkelon as Area Hit by Massive Rocket-Missile-Mortar Barrage – Palestinians Make Three Assaults on Gaza Border – Israel Envoy Amos Gilad Heads to Cairo for Possible Planning of Joint Operation Around Rafah Terminal – Police in Japan Raid Companies Supplying Equipment to North Korea Nuclear Program
Night Watch: ASHKELON – Fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant units in Gaza/Southwest Israel has already escalated even before Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip.
The Jerusalem Post/AP is reporting a State of Emergency was declared for the coastal region of Ashkelon, a city of 110,000 and the site of one of Israel’s most important oil terminals after the urban area was hit by a massive rocket-missile barrage. No warning sirens sounded from the Red Alert system as residents in the coastal areas went into bomb shelters for the first time since the 2006 war with Hezbollah on the Lebanon border. Some of the missiles fired were the larger and more powerful Katyusha (Grad) rocket as other Israeli communities south of Ashkelon were also hit by rocket-mortar fire. Hamas stated this massive bombardment of a combination of fifty rockets-missiles-mortars was in response to what they claimed was an Israel Air Force (IAF) strike on a two story house which was owned by one of Hamas’ major bomb makers Ahmed Hamoudi. Two people were killed, more than 25 wounded and it appears Hamoudi was not in the house at the time.
The IAF stated they had no aircraft operating in the area and Hamas official Abu Obeida admitted afterward Hamas would investigate the explosion which was probably the result of mishandled explosives which happens quite frequently in Palestinian militant circles. [JPOST]
Erez – Haaretz/News Agencies report the Israel Defense Force (IDF) said the missile-rocket barrage from northern Gaza was really a cover for a large assault Hamas attempted to carry out on the border fence. A large vehicle, some reports say a bulldozer, carrying Hamas gunmen approached the fence at an alarming speed and was stopped by IDF fire. This has nothing to do with retaliation for any air strike.
These are the types of assaults and attacks Hamas had been warning about all year as their attempt to break Israel’s blockade which was imposed since Hamas took over the territory last June. As Hamas-Islamic Jihad and other units begin their war against the blockade Israel envoy Amos Gilad met in Cairo with Egyptian officials for about two hours Thursday. Officially he is there to discuss the potential ceasefire but in reality Cairo-Jerusalem know that is not about to take place so I suspect they are really meeting to plan joint operations especially around the Rafah Terminal on the Egypt/Gaza/Israel border. Tehran had Hamas explode open the border for twelve days in January which enabled Hamas to ship in tons of weaponry by truck instead of through smuggling tunnels. [HAARETZ]
Erez Terminal -Debka is reporting Palestinian militants actually made three attempts to break through the border fence. One used the larger vehicle mentioned earlier, then gunmen on foot attacked the Erez crossing and a third attempt used a car bomb. Each attack was to prepare the way for a major suicide bombing. As a cover for these attacks a line of every Israeli city-community from Ashkelon in the north, less than ten miles from Gaza, running south through Shear Hanegev, Netiv Ha’asara and Sderot were hit by the rocket-missile-mortar barrage. This is the widest spread of targeted communities on the same day. [DEBKA]
Tokyo – “I didn’t know they went to North Korea until the police told me.” That was the statement from Hiroshi Nakano, President of Nakano Corporation as they were raided by Japanese police after the government was informed machinery used in nuclear weapons production, from Nakano and other Japanese firms were being shipped to North Korea through Taiwan.
Al Jazeera and the Japanese paper Yomiuri report the police in Kanagawa, south of the capital, were concentrating on what are called “sync pumps” which are used for separating uranium as part of the enrichment process for nuclear weapons. This is part of the network Beijing established to ship nuclear weapons material and machinery to Iran which is why I have always ignored government statements in the West-Israel-Russia that say Iran has yet to develop nuclear weapons.
Tehran revived its nuclear program in 1986 and with the massive support arranged by Beijing it would not take Iran any longer than Pakistan to develop nuclear bombs or warheads and nothing has ever disrupted Iran’s production timetable. [ALJAZEERA]
Governments of course know the truth but they are not going to say that publicly perhaps as a way of combating fear among the population.