[dehai-news] Israel Braces for Revenge Attacks


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From: wolda002@umn.edu
Date: Tue Dec 30 2008 - 22:08:09 EST


http://www.metimes.com/International/2008/12/29/israel_braces_for_revenge_attacks/1057/

Israel Braces for Revenge Attacks
MEL FRYKBERG
Published: December 29, 2008
A child cries among the rubble of a building following an Israeli airstrike
in Rafah city on Dec. 29. Israeli warplanes pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza
Strip for a third consecutive day Monday and the Jewish state prepared to
launch a possible invasion after killing 313 Palestinians in the air raids.
(Photo by MaanImages via Newscom)
JERUSALEM -- Following the deaths of at least 300 Palestinians and the
wounding of more than 1,000 during Israel's air blitz over Gaza over the
weekend, in response to barrages of rockets fired at Israeli towns and
cities bordering the coastal territory, the country is bracing for revenge
attacks.

A state of emergency has been declared. Seven thousand reservists have been
called up as tanks and hundreds of troops from the armored corps amass on
Gaza's border in preparation for a possible ground operation into Gaza.

Israelis within a 10-kilometer radius of Gaza were ordered to enter bomb
shelters within 15 seconds of a siren warning. Residents within a
20-30-kilometer radius were ordered to enter shelters within 45 seconds of
siren warnings.

However, over half the factories surrounding Gaza were still operating on
Sunday despite instruction from the Home Front Command to close down some
80 plants within five kilometers of Gaza. Only about 15 percent of
employees failed to attend work.

Furthermore, the Israeli Defense Forces says it is expecting a possible
increased daily rocket barrage of up to 100 missiles, some of which are
expected to reach cities and towns located further away as Hamas uses
upgraded projectiles with a 40-kilometer range as opposed to the current
range of only 20 kilometers.

Israeli intelligence has just cleared for publication a report that an
upgraded missile from Gaza struck Gan Yavne, the northernmost Israeli
community to be targeted by rocket fire from Gaza.

The military censors had ordered a blackout on the report to prevent Hamas
from acquiring information as to how deeply into Israel one of its missiles
had managed to penetrate. The attack stirred panic among the residents of
the city.

An Israeli-Arab construction worker was killed Monday morning after a Grad
rocket fired from Gaza hit a construction site inside the city where he was
working. Nine other people were injured four of them sustaining moderate
wounds and the rest light injuries.

Israeli police are also preparing for further revenge attacks from
Palestinian resistance groups or individuals.

Although no specific information has been received, security sources expect
simple attacks, which do not require complex organization, such as
shootings, stabbings, and assaults with vehicles to be carried out.

Four Israeli settlers residing in Kiryat Sefer, near the illegal Israeli
settlement of Modi'in in the Palestinian West Bank were stabbed on Monday
morning by two Palestinian handymen hired to carry out repairs for a family
living in the settlement.

In an apparent revenge attack for the carnage in Gaza, the handymen ran
amok and started stabbing people randomly with sharp tools. One settler was
seriously injured and the other three lightly wounded.

One of the attackers was shot and captured while the other managed to
escape with Israeli security forces in hot pursuit.

On Saturday an Israeli policeman was lightly injured when a Palestinian
from East Jerusalem deliberately ran him over, also allegedly in revenge
for the Gaza attacks.

Earlier in the year several Palestinians from East Jerusalem used
bulldozers and a motor vehicle to ram and run over Israeli pedestrians,
soldiers and vehicles, killing several Israelis in the process.

Security sources have also warned that suicide bombings might resume
following statements made by Hamas.

As soon as Israeli intelligence has specific information about possible
attacks being carried out, Palestinian cities in the West Bank will be
closed off.

Meanwhile, in the war of words and the continuing psychological games being
played between Hamas and Israel, a Hamas spokesman said that captured
Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit had been injured during Israel's aerial
assault over Gaza during the weekend.

Noam Shalit, the father of the captured soldier, expressed concern for the
wellbeing of his son. However, some analysts have postulated that Shalit
junior may not have in fact been hurt during the bombardment but that this
was merely a trick to undermine Israeli morale.

In the interim as international criticism condemns Israel for the excessive
force used during the Gaza operation, Israel has been hitting back on the
diplomatic front.

During a press conference hours after the assault on Gaza, Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert said no country in the world would put up with the
rocket and missile strikes Israel had suffered and that the time had come
to react.

"Israel has done all it could to preserve the ceasefire with Hamas, but our
desire for quiet was met with terror. Israel is not itching for a fight,
but we will not back down from one either," Olmert said.

The Israeli premier further promised to restore peace and quiet to the
lives of residents in the southern cities and towns that border the Gaza
strip and added that although the Gaza operation might take time, they had
not been forgotten.

However, although more rockets hit Israel, including a Qassem and a mortar
fired Monday morning, causing no injuries or damage, Israeli security
officials expressed surprise at the relatively restrained response from
Hamas.

But they are not ruling out that the Islamic resistance organization is
still planning revenge on a large scale and that only the timing and the
opportunity is the issue.

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