“Massive presence” of Israeli warplanes over Gaza

The Israeli military bombed three sites in Gaza Jan. 12, after five rockets were fired by militants across the border over the past three days. The air-strike came shortly after the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that further military action in Gaza would follow continued rocket fire. Speaking to the press in Jerusalem, he said Hamas would “make a terrible mistake to test our will to defend our people; I think they will make a terrible, terrible mistake.”

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed direct hits on three sites. Reports from Gaza said Hamas compounds and a training base for Islamic Jihad militants had been struck. There were no injuries reported in either the IDF bombings or the militant rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

It was the third air-strike this week. Mohammed A-Najar, 25, an Islamic Jihad militant, was killed in a targeted assassination while driving a motorbike in southern Gaza the previous afternoon, and Israeli warplanes bombed two sites early on Jan 10. A 65-year-old farmer died after being shot close to the border fence on that day as well, Gaza officials said. Local media reported a “massive presence” of Israeli warplanes above Gaza.

There have been some two dozen rockets fired into Israel this month. Hamas has reportedly opened talks with other militant factions to urge them to stop launching rockets amid fears of a new war with Israel. (The Guardian, Jan. 12)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, spoke before at Tel Aviv University on Iran’s supposed nuclear threat last week, was repeatedly interrupted by protesters who held pictures of Palestinian victims, who shouted “You murder children in Gaza,” and called Barak “a phony liar.” (YNet, Jan. 4)

WikiLeaks Gaza
A 2008 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks reveals an Israeli official’s comment to US embassy personnel that Israel wants Gaza’s economy “functioning at the lowest level possible” while avoiding a humanitarian crisis. The cable indicates that the Israeli government kept the US embassy in Tel Aviv briefed on its blockade of the Gaza Strip. “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to [US embassy officers) on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge,” one of the cables reads. (JTA, Jan. 5)

See our last posts on Israel/Palestine and Gaza.

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