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Israel Protects Her People
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Old 07-11-2014
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Default Israel Protects Her People





Middle East Descends Further into Chaos,
Endangering Israel and US Influence





Published July 11, 2014 FoxNews.com

President Obama's call back in 2009 for a "new beginning" between America and the Muslim world -- a relationship defined over the prior decade by 9/11 and the Iraq war -- has descended into a foreign policy sandstorm that has left Washington dizzied by ever-changing powerbrokers, and its closest ally in the region more isolated and threatened.

The deadly conflict between Hamas and Israel, which is intensifying and widening by the day, is just the latest symptom of the Middle East mess.

The "Arab Spring," which the Obama administration roundly cheered, has resulted in only one full-fledged and stable democracy taking hold, in Tunisia. Syria remains gripped by bloody civil war, Egypt and Libya have struggled to establish stable governments, and Islamic extremists wreaking havoc in Iraq have declared their own "caliphate" in territory across a wide swath of land across both Syria and northern Iraq.

And now reported rocket strikes out of Lebanon into Israel are raising concerns of a renewed conflict with Hezbollah.

Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said the environment now is "much worse" than it was during Israel's war with Hezbollah in 2006, noting Syria is in chaos and nearby Jordan -- a U.S. ally -- is feeling the strain.

"You can really see why what's happening now has the potential for much wider conflict," Bolton said.

He added: "And another significant fact, the United States is almost absent here."

With no end in sight to the rocket fire and airstrikes between Gaza and Israel's interior, President Obama did get personally involved on Thursday, speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- backing Israel's "right to defend itself" and offering to help broker a cease-fire. He urged both sides to de-escalate and protect the lives of civilians.

But his administration is being accused in some corners of losing its way in the Middle East, with the peace process in disarray and the administration allegedly struggling to articulate its own policy toward the current conflict.

Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said the U.S. "appears out to lunch on Middle East challenges."

The administration's message on Israel got murkier earlier this week when White House adviser Philip Gordon delivered an address in Tel Aviv that was highly critical of the key U.S. ally.


"Israel confronts an undeniable reality: It cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely," he said Tuesday, according to The Times of Israel. He praised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as a reliable partner, but questioned whether Israel was committed to peace.

Pressed on Gordon's comments the next day, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not explicitly defend them.

"Both sides haven't ... made the difficult choices needed to continue the peace process. And when there's an absence of peace or a peace process, there's a vacuum left that, at times, is filled by violence. So that's the circumstance we're looking at right now," she said.

Pressed again on Gordon's comments, she said: "I'm not going to parse his words."

She added that the U.S. is "keeping the door open to a peace process in the future."

Yet in an op-ed in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz stressing the importance of the peace process, Obama likewise praised Abbas with little mention of Netanyahu.

In a conference call Wednesday hosted by The Israel Project, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren suggested the U.S. and others are letting Abbas off the hook and questioned why there was scant criticism of the Fatah-Hamas unity deal that Abbas is party to.

He said the Gordon speech put the "onus" squarely on Israel for the failure of peace talks.

"Right now the administration sees no contradiction between condemning the Hamas rocket fire and maintaining its recognition of the Hamas-Fatah unity government," Oren said.

A senior administration official, though, told The Washington Free Beacon the administration is "fully coordinated in our message".

Republicans have urged the Obama administration to be more aggressive in pressuring Abbas as well as Iran, which according to The Wall Street Journal is supplying weapons to clients in Gaza. Several have even pressed the U.S. government to strike funding for the Palestinian Authority over the Hamas agreement.

"All the words that [Obama] has said up to now are good. But this is the one thing he hasn't done, called for a divorce from the Palestinian Authority to Hamas," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., told Fox News earlier this week. "I say enough is enough, they've got to divorce themselves."

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest noted earlier this week that Secretary of State John Kerry is involved, having spoken with Netanyahu "a couple times over the weekend" to reiterate U.S. concern about the conflict and "our willingness to engage robustly in helping to stop the rocket fire and restore the 2012 ceasefire as soon as possible."

"It is not in the interest of either side for this violence to continue and even to escalate," Earnest said.

In his op-ed, Obama said he still believes a peace plan is achievable.

"As I said last year in Jerusalem, peace is necessary, just, and possible. I believed it then. I believe it now. Peace is necessary because it's the only way to ensure a secure and democratic future for the Jewish state of Israel," he wrote.

But Obama's Mideast peace effort is effectively on hold, after special Mideast envoy Martin Indyk resigned in late June. He was the second envoy to leave the position, amid little progress in bringing both sides together, after former Sen. George Mitchell also stepped down in 2011.

They were hardly the only Obama officials to leave the administration under frustrating circumstances.

Robert Ford, the ex-ambassador to Syria, revealed a month ago that he left because he didn't think he could "defend the American policy."

The conflagration recently in Iraq, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has seized several northern cities and towns, has generated the most heated criticism by Republicans of Obama administration policy.

Senate Republicans voiced concern Thursday that the violence could spread beyond Iraq and into the territory of U.S. ally Jordan, urging him to send an assessment team to the country to determine what it needs.

"We view King Abdallah II as an invaluable ally, and view the defense of Jordan as critical to the national security interests of the U.S. - and Israel," they wrote.

The senators backed Obama's decision to send military advisers to Iraq and reinforce the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad but said that considering the threat posed by ISIS to Jordan, "we believe that this is not enough."

SOURCE

Ed Note: Anybody with a lick of common sense saw that Barry POTUS was selling out Israel and our other Allies in the Middle East in his first year. Now, we see the net results. Wait until the UAE falls, it'll be WW3. This Administration is cutting our Armed Force back further than pre-WW2 levels. Pure Insanity in an unstable world. In the USA, we are all aboard a "Ship of Fools".
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Israel Downs Drone
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Old 07-14-2014
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Israel Downs Drone




Published July 14, 2014 FoxNews.com

Israel military says it has shot down drone along southern coastline

Israel's military said Monday that it had downed a drone along its southern coastline, marking the first time it had encountered such a weapon in its week-long campaign against Islamic militants in the Gaza Strip.

The drone came from Gaza and was shot down by a Patriot surface-to-air missile near the southern city of Ashdod, the military said. It did not say what the drone was carrying and there was no immediate confirmation from Gaza on the use of unmanned aircraft.

However, the use of drones with an offensive capacity could potentially inflict significant casualties -- something the rockets from Gaza have failed to do, largely because of the success of the military's 'Iron Dome' air defense system in shooting them down.

In addition to the drone, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) says that militants have launched 971 rockets at Israeli cities in the six days since Israel launched "Operation Protective Edge," a bid to halt such attacks. No Israeli fatalities have been reported, though a teenage boy was seriously injured by rocket shrapnel in the town of Ashkelon on Sunday.

The military says that due to years of generous Iranian shipments, thousands of rockets remain in Gaza, and there is no quick way to eliminate the threat. The army says Hamas has an arsenal of some 10,000 rockets, including longer-range, foreign-made weapons capable of reaching virtually anywhere in Israel. The current round of fighting has seen air-raid sirens sound in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel's three largest cities.



Israeli analysts say that most of the remaining long-range rockets are believed to be stashed beneath residential buildings, and that the only way to completely remove the threat would be to re-conquer Gaza, from which Israel withdrew in 2005, and stay there for a lengthy period. Such a scenario would carry great risk, and Israeli leaders are wary.

On Monday morning, The Times of Israel reported that the IDF had declared an area just north of the Gaza Strip border to be a closed military zone. The significance of the declaration was not immediately clear, but the paper reported that ground forces were continuing to muster on the border.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the current Israeli operation could last for "a long time" and that the military was prepared "for all possibilities." That includes a wide-ranging Gaza ground operation, which would likely cause heavy casualties in the coastal strip.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza says 172 people have been killed by Israeli airstrikes, though it is not clear how many are civilians and how many are operatives of Hamas or other militant groups.

The IDF says its goal is to inflict so much pain on Hamas that it will be deterred from attacking Israel again — just like Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon have largely remained on the sidelines for the past eight years.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said the military estimated 20 percent of the rockets in Gaza have either been fired or destroyed by Israel. Besides diminishing Hamas' future capabilities, he said Israel's assaults were mostly aimed at convincing Hamas never to try it again.

"When they come out of their bunkers and they look around, they are going to have to make a serious estimation of whether what they have done was worth it," he said. "And people will look in their eyes and say 'Why did you do this? What did you gain from this?'"

But Netanyahu is coming under increasing international pressure to end the operation soon. On Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate cease-fire while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry voiced American "readiness" to help restore calm. Egypt, a key mediator between Israel and Hamas, continued to work behind the scenes to stop the conflict.

Hamas has sent signals it may be ready to consider a cease-fire but appears to be waiting for some tangible military or diplomatic achievement before moving ahead on that front. For his part, Netanyahu wants to show the Israeli public that he has succeeded in significantly degrading Hamas's ability to strike at its Israeli targets before moving ahead diplomatically.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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HAMAS REJECTS CEASE FIRE
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Old 07-15-2014
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Default HAMAS REJECTS CEASE FIRE





Netanyahu Warns Hamas after Rejection
of Gaza Cease-Fire Proposal



Published July 15, 2014 FoxNews.com

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he is willing to intensify the country's military campaign against the Islamic militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip after a proposed cease-fire aimed at ending the week-long conflict was approved by Israel's Security Cabinet, but rejected by Hamas minutes later.

"If Hamas rejects the Egyptian proposal and the rocket fire from Gaza does not cease, and that appears to be the case, we are prepared to continue and intensify our operation," Netanyahu said in a statement.

Israeli officials said that the truce proposed by Egypt's Foreign Ministry had been accepted by the cabinet shortly after it was due to take effect at 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. Eastern Time). Less than half an hour later, a senior Hamas official told The Associated Press that the group had rejected the proposal, claiming that Cairo had not consulted them.

"We did not receive any official draft of this Egyptian proposal," Sami Abu Zuhri said, adding that the plan, as is, was "not acceptable."

Earlier Tuesday, the armed wing of Hamas said the Egyptian plan "wasn't worth the ink it was written with." Reuters reported that a statement on the website of the al-Qassam Brigades called the proposal "an initiative of kneeling and submission" before vowing that "our battle with the enemy continues, and will increase in ferocity and intensity."

Since the start of the proposed cease-fire, the Israeli military says that 24 rockets have been fired at Israeli territory from Gaza.

In addition, the military says 3 rockets were fired at the southern city of Eilat early Tuesday, injuring two people and sparking a fire. The military did not immediately know who was behind the rocket fire. Previous rocket attacks on the city have come from radical Islamic militants in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula.

Word of Hamas' rejection came hours after State Department officials told The Associated Press that Secretary of State John Kerry had opted not to travel to the region on his way back to Washington from talks regarding Iran's nuclear program in Vienna. There was no immediate word of whether Kerry would reconsider his decision in light of the cease-fire's rejection.

The militant group appeared to be holding out for better cease-fire conditions, with senior officials saying the current proposal offers no tangible achievements, particularly on easing a border blockade of Gaza enforced by Israel and Egypt.

Hamas also wants to be recognized by Egypt as a partner in any truce efforts.

Hamas officials are weary of promises by Egypt and Israel to ease the border blockade. Such promises were also part of a truce that ended more than a week of fighting in 2012, but were quickly broken as violence flared again.

An easing of the blockade of the coastal strip is key to the survival of Hamas.

Before the outbreak of the latest round of fighting, the militant group found itself in a serious financial crisis because a particularly tight closure by Egypt had prevented cash and goods from coming into the strip through hundreds of smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border.

Israel launched an offensive July 8, saying it was a response to weeks of heavy rocket fire out of Hamas-ruled Gaza. The Health Ministry in Gaza claims 185 people have been killed, and more than 1,000 people wounded, though it is not clear how many of those casualties were civilians and how many of those were Hamas operatives.

There have been no Israelis killed, although several have been wounded by rocket shrapnel, including two sisters, ages 11 and 13, who were seriously hurt Monday. Ahead of the Egyptian announcement, there appeared to be no slowdown in the fighting, with Hamas for the first time launching an unmanned drone into Israeli airspace that was shot down.

The violence followed the kidnappings and killings of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last month, as well as the subsequent kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager in an apparent revenge attack, along with Israeli raids against Hamas militants and infrastructure in the West Bank.

Israeli officials have said the goal of the military campaign is to restore quiet to Israel's south, which has absorbed hundreds of rocket strikes, and that any cease-fire would have to include guarantees of an extended period of calm. Hamas officials say they will not accept "calm for calm."

With the death toll mounting, both sides have come under increasing international pressure to halt the fighting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SOURCE
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HAMAS Violates Cease Fire
  #4  
Old 07-17-2014
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Default HAMAS Violates Cease Fire





Israel:

Hamas Fires Three Mortars During Humanitarian
Cease-Fire Window




July 17, 2014: Palestinians gather to withdraw money from ATM machines in Gaza City. The Bank of Palestine opened one of its branches
in Gaza City's Rimal neighborhood as the cease-fire began, drawing hundreds of people trying to withdraw money.
(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)



Published July 17, 2014 FoxNews.com

Israel's military said Hamas had fired three mortars into southern Israel from the Gaza Strip during a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire window Thursday.

The Israeli Defense Forces tweeted that the mortars hit the community of Eshkol. There was no immediate word of any injuries or damage. Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfield had earlier told the Associated Press that two rockets fell in open areas in southern Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Rosenfield said the rockets landed at 12 p.m. local time (5 a.m. Eastern Time), two hours after the cease-fire began.

It was not immediately clear whether the Israeli military would respond.

Shortly before the cease-fire took effect, Israel said it had thwarted an attempted attack by 13 Islamic militants. Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told The Associated Press that the would-be attackers attempted to sneak into Israel through a tunnel. They were spotted at the tunnel's opening approximately 820 feet inside Israel, near a kibbutz, and were struck by Israeli aircraft. Lerner said the military believed at least one militant was killed in the strike and that the remaining fighters appeared to have returned to Gaza through the tunnel.

Lerner said the attack "could have had devastating consequences" and said the militants were armed with "extensive weapons," including rocket-propelled grenades.

The attack was preceded by a volley of 15 rockets fired from Gaza into central Israel. The Times of Israel reported that IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz told Israeli television Channel 2 that the rockets were meant to be "an envelope for this attack."

"We knew this would come," Almoz said. "We knew specifically about this tunnel. We knew Hamas would try [to launch a terror attack] in any way it can."

Neither Hamas nor other Palestinian militant groups immediately claimed the attack. Lerner said that the incursion had not affected Israel's plan to support the truce. However, Almoz told The Times of Israel that the Israeli Defense Forces would not hesitate to launch new attacks to prevent rocket fire by Hamas, adding that the five-hour period was a "humanitarian window" to help "the population trapped in Gaza under a regime that uses it as hostages."

In the lead-up to the start of the temporary cease-fire at 10 a.m. local time (3 a.m. Eastern Time), Israeli aircraft struck 37 targets in Gaza early Thursday, including homes of two Hamas leaders, Fathi Hamad and Khalil al-Haya, according to the military.

The cease-fire had been requested by the United Nations so that emergency supplies, including food and water could be delivered into Gaza.

The cross-border fighting has so far killed more than 220 Palestinians and an Israeli, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials.

Egypt has meanwhile resumed efforts to broker a longer-term truce after its initial plan was rejected by Hamas earlier in the week. Hamas, which seized Gaza seven years ago, wants international guarantees that the territory's blockade by Israel and Egypt will be eased significantly and that Israel will release Palestinian prisoners.

An Egyptian newspaper reporting on the cease-fire negotiations claimed that Israel had refused to consider a Hamas demand that Gaza residents be allowed access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, considered Islam's third-holiest site.

Another reported sticking point was Hamas' demand for the release of six prisoners initially freed by Israel as part of an exchange for a captured IDF soldier, but later re-arrested in the West Bank.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from The Times of Israel

SOURCE
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Israel To Begin Significant Expansion
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Old 07-18-2014
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Default Israel To Begin Significant Expansion





Netanyahu Orders Israeli Military to prepare for
"Significant Expansion"
of Gaza Ground Offensive





Published July 18, 2014 FoxNews.com

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the military Friday to prepare for a "significant expansion" of its ground operation against Gaza militants.

Netanyahu said the military's primary goal would be to destroy underground tunnels used by Hamas to attack the Jewish State. The announcement came hours after Israeli ground troops and tanks struck more than 100 terror targets in Israel's first major ground offensive in Gaza in just over five years.

The offensive follows an Egyptian effort earlier this week to halt hostilities. Israel accepted the terms, but Hamas refused, demanding that Israel and Egypt first give guarantees to ease the blockade on Gaza.

“Since there is no way to deal with the tunnels only from the air, our soldiers are doing it now from the ground," Netanyahu said at the opening of an emergency cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, the Jerusalem Post reported. “We decided to launch the action after we tried all the other ways, and with an understanding that without this operation the price we will have to pay later would be much higher."

Tanks, infantry and engineering forces were operating inside the coastal strip. In a statement, the military said it targeted rocket launchers, tunnels and more than 100 other targets. Throughout the night, the thud of tank shells echoed across Gaza, often just a few seconds apart. Several explosions from Israeli missile strikes shook high-rise buildings in central Gaza City. Pillars of smoke could be seen from the Israeli side of the border.

At Gaza's main Shifa Hospital, casualties quickly began arriving, including several members of the same family wounded by shrapnel from tank shells. Among those hurt were a toddler and a boy of elementary school age, their bodies pocked by small bloody wounds.

At least 20 Palestinians have been killed in the early stage of the ground operation, including three teenage siblings and a 3-month-old boy who died after a shell hit his family's Bedouin tent in southern Gaza, The Associated Press reported, citing Gaza health officials.

The Israeli military said a number of soldiers were wounded throughout the night, and one soldier, Staff Sgt. Eitan Barak, 20, was killed in the fighting. The circumstances behind his death were not immediately clear. Hamas' military wing said it ambushed Israeli units in the northern town of Beit Lahiya and caused casualties but Israeli media said it was likely a case of friendly fire between Israeli troops.

"The ground offensive does not scare us and we pledge to drown the occupation army in Gaza mud," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

Israeli officials have said the goal is to weaken Hamas militarily and have not addressed the possibility of driving the Islamic militants from power.

However, Hamas has survived Israeli offensives in the past, including a major ground operation in January 2009 from which it emerged militarily weaker, but then recovered. Hamas has since assembled thousands of rockets and built a system of underground bunkers.

Israel had been reticent about launching a ground offensive for fear of endangering its own soldiers and drawing international condemnation over Palestinian civilian deaths.

Since the July 8 start of the air campaign, more than 260 Palestinians have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded, Palestinian health officials said. In Israel, one civilian died and several were wounded.

Israeli public opinion appears to strongly support the offensive after days of unrelenting rocket fire from Gaza and years of southern Israeli residents living under the threat. Gaza militants have fired more than 1,500 rockets at Israel over the past 11 days.


Israel said it launched an open-ended assault on several fronts, with the primary aim being to destroy underground tunnels into Israel built by Hamas that could be used to carry out attacks.

On Thursday, 13 heavily armed Hamas militants tried to sneak in through such a tunnel, but were stopped by an airstrike after they emerged some 820 feet inside Israel.

Israeli defense officials said soldiers faced little resistance during the first night of the ground operation, but the longer troops remain in Gaza, the greater the risk for heavy casualties on both sides.

Forces are expected to spend a day or two staking out positions and are working in the north, east and south of the Gaza Strip. Then, they are expected to move to the second phase, which is to destroy tunnels, an operation that could take up to two weeks.

Once Hamas is able to study the military's positions and movements, it may push back more forcefully, the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the military's strategy.

"The mission is progressing well," said Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Israel's military chief. "There were a number of incidents overnight that we overcame and moved forward."

Prior to the Israeli Cabinet meeting, several ministers said they expected a prolonged offensive.

"This operation must be completed to its end and that includes a significant incursion into Gaza," said Uri Ariel, a Cabinet minister from the hardline Jewish Home party.

"We need to go in and finish the job. We need to eliminate every terrorist. They have no immunity."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SOURCE

Ed Note: Its about time Hamas and its brutal tactics were brought to an end.
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  #6  
Old 07-24-2014
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Why Israel Cannot Relent in this Fight


JIM HOLLANDER/EPA


BY Ido Aharoni - NEW YORK DAILY NEWS - Thursday, July 24, 2014, 4:30 AM

If Hamas is allowed to rearm and launch another assault, the deadly cycle will only continue

Under assault.

Enough is enough. We cannot let history keep repeating itself.

For the third time in five years, Israel is being forced to combat a barrage of rockets from the terrorist group Hamas. In 2009, Hamas fired an onslaught on our people, but we tempered their efforts and agreed to a ceasefire. Hamas later broke it.

Israel withstood Hamas’ unprovoked rocket barrage again in 2012 and agreed to another ceasefire. But Hamas broke that agreement, too, and launched another assault on our civilians.

While Israel accepts these ceasefires, Hamas has dedicated these periods to restocking, retooling and amplifying their weapons capabilities, as we have now seen again with this latest Hamas offensive.

Today, Israel’s response must ensure the dismantling of Hamas’ mega-structure of terror.

Since the last large-scale terror campaign by Hamas in 2012, Hamas has nearly doubled its stockpile of rockets, possessing no less than 12,000 rockets today. From Gaza, Hamas can now fire rockets with a range of 100 miles, which has put millions of Israelis in cities like Haifa, Tel Aviv, Eilat and even our capital, Jerusalem, under the direct threat of terror.

This was not the case just two years ago.

With more than 2,000 rockets launched at Israeli civilians in the past few weeks, Israel would have suffered severe losses of life were it not for our Iron Dome missile defense technology, which has kept most of our people safe. We cannot let millions of civilians continue to live in fear of Hamas’ rocket bombardment, nor can we tolerate the sounds of red alert sirens forcing us into bomb shelters on a daily or even hourly basis.

Israel cannot afford Hamas the opportunity to initiate another war in 2015 or 2016. By then, Hamas could have an even deeper arsenal, and the cost of another war in lives lost on both sides could be even greater.

What Israel hopes to achieve by expanding Operation Protective Edge is the maximum disarmament of this terrorist group. To achieve that, Israel is targeting not only Hamas’ vast rocket supplies, but an underground network of tunnels that has already been responsible for far too many Israeli deaths and kidnappings.

These tunnels are not simple dirt holes, but rather a network of hundreds of complex, concrete- enforced structures, some of which extend a mile long and six stories deep. This underground terror hub, which was purposely constructed beneath hospitals, mosques and schools, is a concerted effort by Hamas to protect their weapons and terrorists behind the human shield of the Palestinian people above them.

For the past few years, Hamas has taken concrete and building materials provided by the international community for the purpose of improving basic infrastructure in Gaza and used them not to create new roads, but rather an underground highway for terror.

For this conflict to truly end, the people of Gaza need to recognize that Hamas offers them no future. Even during humanitarian lulls throughout this latest conflict, where Israel has withheld responding to terror, Hamas has chosen to continue attacking Israeli civilians rather than help replenish the basic needs of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Israel has and continues to be in favor of a diplomatic path to achieving a peaceful two-state solution, but Hamas has made it clear that they have no interest in being a part of this equation.

Let’s be clear about this, too: Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005. We don’t want to be there, we don’t want our troops to be there, but mostly we don’t want terrorism to thrive there and we don’t want civilians to die there. Sadly, Hamas does.

Hamas bears sole responsibility for the deaths of each and every person in Gaza and Israel, and unfortunately, until Hamas is fully stopped and disarmed, people on both sides will continue to suffer. Israel is committed through this operation to restore calm and stability, so that long-lasting peace can one day have a chance.

Ambassador Ido Aharoni is the consul general of Israel in New York.

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Hamas Fires Rockets Toward Israel
after Terror Group Rejects Truce Proposal



Published July 26, 2014 FoxNews.com

Hamas said it fired five rockets at Israel late Saturday after rejecting Israel's offer to extend a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire by four hours, casting new doubt on international efforts to broker an end to 19 days of fighting.

The terror group said two of the rockets were aimed at Tel Aviv. Police in Israel's second-largest city dispersed a peace rally attended by several thousand people because of the threat, a spokesman said.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group rejected Israel's proposal to extend an original 12-hour lull by four hours, until midnight (2100 GMT) Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military warned residents of areas where there had been heavy fighting against returning there.

Zuhri sent a text message to reporters Saturday, saying: "No agreement to extending the calm for an additional four hours."

Israel has set its own terms for the lull, saying it would continue demolishing Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border.

Israeli Cabinent minister Yuval Steinitz, confirmed reports that Israel decided to extend it by four hours, until midnight Saturday The initial lull agreed to by Israel and Hamas had begun at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) Saturday.

He says the decision was made by the Israeli prime minister and defense minister. Steinitz says a further extension would be considered at a Cabinet meeting later Saturday.

In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European foreign minister were discussing how to build on the initial 12-hour lull Saturday and transform it into a sustainable truce.

The meeting was to include representatives from Turkey, Qatar, Germany, Italy, Britain and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. No representatives from Israel, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority will be present.

Separately, the top office of the top United Nations envoy in the region, Robert Serry, said he is urging Israel and Hamas to extend the truce by 24 hours.

Israel wants more time to destroy tunnels and rocket launching sites in Gaza, while the territory's Hamas rulers want international guarantees that an Israeli and Egyptian border blockade will be lifted.

The Israeli government has also begun suggesting that Gaza be demilitarized as a condition for a permanent cease-fire so that Hamas cannot rearm itself ahead of yet another round of fighting. The current war is the third in Gaza in just over five years.

"We are looking for a long cease-fire, not only 12 hours," said Gaza resident Mohammad Abu Shaaban. "We hope the cease-fire will continue and not to return back to the killing and destruction."

Meanwhile, Gaza residents used the pause in hostilities to stock up on supplies and survey the devastation from nearly three weeks of fighting, as they braced for a resumption of Israel's war on Hamas.

In the northern town of Beit Hanoun, the main road was impassable in parts due to the debris from the damaged homes. The town's hospital had been hit by a tank shell, power lines were dangling and dead donkeys were strewn on the street. A man was hitting his head and wailing "my house, my house."

Israel and Hamas began the 12-hour pause in hostilities at 8 a.m. (1:00 a.m. EST, 0500 GMT) Saturday after intensive regional shuttle diplomacy by Kerry failed to produce a longer truce aimed at ending nearly three weeks of fighting.

The temporary lull appeared unlikely to change the course of the current hostilities amid ominous signs that the war was spilling over into the West Bank and a warning by Israel's defense minister that it might soon expand its Gaza ground operation "significantly."

The Israeli military said its troops "shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit" the lull to attack Israeli soldiers or civilians. The military also said "operational activities to locate and neutralize tunnels in the Gaza Strip will continue."

Previous humanitarian cease-fires have been cut short by a resumption of fighting, but the pause on Saturday appeared to be holding, as residents returned to the streets and packed into banks and grocery stores.

Israel launched a major aerial offensive in Gaza on July 8 and later sent ground troops into the Hamas-ruled territory in a bid to halt Palestinian rocket fire and destroy a vast network of cross-border tunnels used by militants to stage attacks.

Gaza militants have fired close to 2,500 rockets at Israel since July 8, exposing most of Israel's population to an indiscriminate threat that has killed three civilians.

A Palestinian official said more than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed over the past 18 days. Israel says it is doing its utmost to prevent civilian casualties and blames Hamas for putting them in harm's way. Israel has lost 40 soldiers and two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel also has been killed.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Friday that Israel's military would continue to strike Hamas hard.

"At the end of the operation, Hamas will have to think very hard if it is worth it to taunt us in the future," Yaalon was quoted as telling soldiers manning an Iron Dome anti-missile battery. "You need to be ready for the possibility that very soon we will order the military to significantly broaden ground activity in Gaza."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SOURCE

Ed Note: Its high time Hamas (a known Terrorist Group) was eliminated. Israel must not be put to task for defending her people and territory.
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Israel Retaliates vs. Rocket Fire
  #8  
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Default Israel Retaliates vs. Rocket Fire





Israel Resumes Strikes on
Targets AFTER Rocket Fire from Gaza





Aug 8, 2014: Smoke rises over Gaza City after an Israeli strike as Israel and Gaza militants resumed cross-border attacks after
a three-day truce expired and Egyptian-brokered talks on a new border deal for blockaded Gaza hit a deadlock.AP


Published August 08, 2014 FoxNews.com

Israel resumed strikes on targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire from the area shortly after the expiration of a cease-fire between Israel and the terror group Hamas, Israeli military officials said Friday.

The move came after military officials said Gaza militants had fired a barrage of at least five rockets at southern Israel shortly after the three-day truce between Israel and Hamas expired. The Israeli military said it responded with strikes "across Gaza."

At least one of the rockets fired from Gaza was successfully intercepted by the Iron Dome system over the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon while two rockets fell in open areas without causing casualties or damage, Haaretz reported.

Israel and Hamas had been holding indirect talks in Cairo on new border arrangements for the blockaded coastal territory. Israel said it was willing to consider easing border restrictions, but demanded that Hamas disarmed. The talks began during the three-day truce that ended at 8 a.m. local time on Friday.

A Hamas official had told The Associated Press before it ended that the group had decided not to extend the cease-fire.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev would not say whether Israel is interested in extending the cease-fire or if it will respond to the rockets.

Regev blamed Gaza militants for breaking the cease-fire. "The cease-fire is over," Regev said. "They did that."

Prior to the end of the cease-fire, the Israeli military said that the militants had fired two rockets at Israel. However, although the firing of the rockets violated the cease-fire, the Israel Defense Forces did not respond, The Jerusalem Post reported.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the fire from Gaza. There are a number of militant groups in the crowded territory that operate outside the control of Hamas with rockets of their own.

In Cairo, the gaps between Israel and Hamas were wide, and it was likely from the start that an extension of the truce would be needed. Hamas has said it will not even contemplate Israel's demand that it disarm. Israel has said it will not lift the blockade of Gaza without a demilitarization of Gaza.

The blockade has been enforced by Israel and Egypt to varying degrees since Hamas seized Gaza by force in 2007.

The war grew out of the killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June. Israel blamed the killings on Hamas and launched a massive arrest campaign, rounding up hundreds of the group's members in the West Bank, as Hamas and other militants unleashed rocket fire from Gaza.

On July 8, Israel launched an air campaign on the coastal territory, and nine days later, sent in ground troops to target rocket launchers and cross-border tunnels built by Hamas for attacks inside Israel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SOURCE


Ed Note: The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 100% correct in stating Hamas must be stopped. Hamas is simply another of the whacked-out Islamic Radical Terrorist groups who are out to obliterate Israel, Christians and anyone who gets in their way. Its time these brutal barbarians were themselves eradicated by the world's free nations.
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  #9  
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Fatah Boasts of Killing Israelis even as it
Seeks to End Fighting in Gaza



By Paul Alster Published August 12, 2014 FoxNews.com

Hopes that Fatah will be a calming influence on Hamas in the effort to end the fighting in Gaza have been tempered by mixed messages the supposedly more moderate wing of Palestinian leadership is sending to its international audience and its West Bank constituents - including boasting on its Facebook page of the number of Israelis it has killed.

In a post seemingly aimed at reminding Palestinians it hates Israel as much as Hamas, the U.S.-designated terrorist organization that governs Gaza, the Fatah party seems to take issue with the idea that it isn't doing enough to fight the Jewish state. The belligerent Facebook message - containing fabricated statistics - was posted on the official home page of Fatah’s Facebook even as representatives of the party founded by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat were in Cairo for the peace talks.

“Listen well! To whoever does not know Fatah and argues with this giant movement:

Fatah has killed 11,000 Israelis; Fatah has sacrificed 170,000 Martyrs (Shahids)...; Fatah was the first to carry out operations (i.e., terror attacks) during the first Intifada... Fatah was the first to fight in the second Intifada (i.e., PA terror campaign 2000-2005)... Fatah led the Palestinian attack on Israel in the UN... Fatah leads the peaceful popular resistance against Israel... Stop and think before you attack [Fatah]."

Fatah has been led since 2005 by Mahmoud Abbas whose benign international media persona portrays an image of a venerable elder statesman. But Palestinian Media Watch, which first raised attention to the post, believes Fatah’s highlighting of its terror activities is a tactic designed to appease radicals within its own West Bank, as well as remind elements of Palestinian society clearly attracted by Hamas’ armed opposition to Israel, that Fatah also has terror options at its fingertips - and a track record to prove it. That said, most experts agree that at the present time Fatah is the best amongst very limited options for stabilizing the current cycle of violence between Israel and Hamas.

“The capability of Fatah and the PA to comply with what I assume would be their tasks in the course of implementing a ceasefire is the best alternative between two not good alternatives that we have,” Gilead Sher, Israel’s chief negotiator (1999-2001) in the Camp David and Taba talks and head of the Center for Applied Negotiations (CAN) at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, told FoxNews.com.

He said double talk from Fatah has long been standard procedure, with one message for international audiences and another for the people it governs.

“In the past we’ve seen numerous times that the PA spoke in different languages saying different things. There was the language for satisfying western listeners, then another language, usually in Arabic, that was made to satisfy Arab speakers. More importantly, we have seen them on several occasions resorting to terrorism, violence, and acts of indiscriminately aiming at civilians in order to attain more than they could at that point in time around the negotiation table. This is a practice we saw mainly during Arafat’s period” Sher added.

“We are also seeing during these very days the unilateral and blunt submissions of applications [by the PA] to various international tribunals and entities in order to corner Israel into gaining what should be gained around the negotiation table, but by other means” Sher noted. “However, Mahmoud Abbas, I think, has expressly said on various occasions that the way to achieve Palestinian objectives does not come through violence against Israel.”

The task facing Abbas’ PA in proving a moderating force on Hamas will not be an easy one. Both Palestinian parties are highly distrustful of one another, regularly citing attempts by one faction to destabilize the other, a situation that doesn’t bode well for the longevity of any potential ceasefire plan.

“Hamas leader Salah Bardawil presented four documents allegedly incriminating Fatah in a campaign of incitement against Hamas,” the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported only last week. “Bardawil said Hamas possessed hundreds of documents revealing incitement by Fatah, in an hour-long program aired by the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV channel.”

Ma’an reported that Majid Faraj, the head of the Palestinian Authority General Intelligence Service, had referred to the reports as "absurd and not worth responding to."

SOURCE
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  #10  
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Purported Letter from Inside Gaza
Tells of Tunnel Toil, Hamas Cruelty




The latest tunnel under the Mexican border may be the most sophisticated yet, with lighting, ventilation and even a railway system.
(Immigration and Customs Enforcement)


By Paul Alster Published August 16, 2014 FoxNews.com

An emotional letter purportedly smuggled out of Gaza details one man’s harrowing participation in digging the tunnels that Israel blames for triggering the latest round of fighting and paints a bleak picture of life under Hamas control.

The 30-year-old Palestinian to whom the letter is attributed describes accepting a cryptic job offer, then being taken in a windowless truck with five others to a building where they were forced to dig tunnels for long, gruelling shifts in stretches that lasted 10 days.

“We drove for an hour and finally they stopped and took us into a closed building. We didn’t know where we were,” reads the letter, the text of which has been released on the Internet. “They showed us a hole in the ground and told us to go down.
"We didn't know where we’d been, or what tunnel we dug"

- Purported letter smuggled out of Gaza City
“We walked for a few hundred meters, and when we got to the end, two Hamas members were waiting for us,” the letter continues. “They gave us working tools and explained to us what to do in order to make the tunnel longer.”

It goes on to describe back-breaking labor performed in unventilated shafts, with Hamas overseers screaming and even assaulting workers not deemed to be working hard enough. In the end, after the workers were taken back home and paid meager wages for their work, “We didn’t know where we’d been, or what tunnel we dug,” the letter said.

Earlier this week, The Times of Israel reported that Hamas killed dozens of tunnel diggers after their work was done to prevent leaks to Israel about the locations of the underground shafts. In addition to tunnelers purposely killed, The Journal of Palestine Studies in 2012 reported that Hamas leaders had admitted that, "at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels," reflecting the fact that many children are also used as forced labor to dig the terror tunnels.

The writer, who sources told FoxNews.com lives in Gaza City, had the handwritten, Arabic letter smuggled out by courier to Itzik Azar, a resident of central Israel and friend of the writer’s late father.

In the letter, the writer also claims his father’s metalwork shop was commandeered by the U.S.-designated terrorist group soon after it came to power in Gaza in 2006, and used from that point on to turn out rockets.

“They [Hamas] set the prices and [placed the orders] from the workshop,” he wrote. “From that day, every morning an armed Hamas member used to come to the shop and give us orders to make winged metal pipes. Straight away I understood that they were used to launch rockets. One day a pickup truck came and the Hamas members took my father from the shop. We never saw him again. Later I learned they killed him and threw his body into a pit.”

The death of his father and the seizure of the family shop drove the man to jump at the chance to earn money, he said. When the latest hostilities between Israel Defense Forces and Hamas broke out more than two months ago, he realized his own work had played a role.

“We heard about the tunnels that Hamas dug and I understood that I helped them,” read the letter. “We pray that the world will help to free us from the fearful and cruel Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip. I pray for death to all Hamas members and that we will get freedom and a chance to live a normal life for our children in Gaza. Inshalla.”

SOURCE
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  #11  
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Purported Letter from Inside Gaza
Tells of Tunnel Toil, Hamas Cruelty




The latest tunnel under the Mexican border may be the most sophisticated yet, with lighting, ventilation and even a railway system.
(Immigration and Customs Enforcement)


By Paul Alster Published August 16, 2014 FoxNews.com

An emotional letter purportedly smuggled out of Gaza details one man’s harrowing participation in digging the tunnels that Israel blames for triggering the latest round of fighting and paints a bleak picture of life under Hamas control.

The 30-year-old Palestinian to whom the letter is attributed describes accepting a cryptic job offer, then being taken in a windowless truck with five others to a building where they were forced to dig tunnels for long, gruelling shifts in stretches that lasted 10 days.

“We drove for an hour and finally they stopped and took us into a closed building. We didn’t know where we were,” reads the letter, the text of which has been released on the Internet. “They showed us a hole in the ground and told us to go down.
"We didn't know where we’d been, or what tunnel we dug"

- Purported letter smuggled out of Gaza City
“We walked for a few hundred meters, and when we got to the end, two Hamas members were waiting for us,” the letter continues. “They gave us working tools and explained to us what to do in order to make the tunnel longer.”

It goes on to describe back-breaking labor performed in unventilated shafts, with Hamas overseers screaming and even assaulting workers not deemed to be working hard enough. In the end, after the workers were taken back home and paid meager wages for their work, “We didn’t know where we’d been, or what tunnel we dug,” the letter said.

Earlier this week, The Times of Israel reported that Hamas killed dozens of tunnel diggers after their work was done to prevent leaks to Israel about the locations of the underground shafts. In addition to tunnelers purposely killed, The Journal of Palestine Studies in 2012 reported that Hamas leaders had admitted that, "at least 160 children have been killed in the tunnels," reflecting the fact that many children are also used as forced labor to dig the terror tunnels.

The writer, who sources told FoxNews.com lives in Gaza City, had the handwritten, Arabic letter smuggled out by courier to Itzik Azar, a resident of central Israel and friend of the writer’s late father.

In the letter, the writer also claims his father’s metalwork shop was commandeered by the U.S.-designated terrorist group soon after it came to power in Gaza in 2006, and used from that point on to turn out rockets.

“They [Hamas] set the prices and [placed the orders] from the workshop,” he wrote. “From that day, every morning an armed Hamas member used to come to the shop and give us orders to make winged metal pipes. Straight away I understood that they were used to launch rockets. One day a pickup truck came and the Hamas members took my father from the shop. We never saw him again. Later I learned they killed him and threw his body into a pit.”

The death of his father and the seizure of the family shop drove the man to jump at the chance to earn money, he said. When the latest hostilities between Israel Defense Forces and Hamas broke out more than two months ago, he realized his own work had played a role.

“We heard about the tunnels that Hamas dug and I understood that I helped them,” read the letter. “We pray that the world will help to free us from the fearful and cruel Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip. I pray for death to all Hamas members and that we will get freedom and a chance to live a normal life for our children in Gaza. Inshalla.”

Paul Alster is an Israel-based journalist. Follow him on Twitter @paul_alster and visit his website: www.paulalster.com

SOURCE
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  #12  
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Hamas KILLS 18 Suspected Israeli Informants




Aug. 22, 2014: Hamas militants grab Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel, before executing them in Gaza City. (REUTERS)


Published August 22, 2014 FoxNews.com

Hamas carried out a deadly purge of suspected informants in Gaza, killing as many as 18 people suspected of providing information to the Israel Defense Forces as fighting flared anew following the collapse of Egyptian-brokered cease-fire talks.

Masked gunmen killed seven suspected informants for Israel near a Gaza City mosque as worshippers were ending midday prayers on Friday, according to a witness and Hamas media. Earlier in the day, Hamas killed 11 men by firing squad in Gaza City's police headquarters, according to the Hamas-run Al Rai website.

Two of those killed were women, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which called for an immediate halt to what it said were "extra-judicial executions."

Hamas media portrayed the killings as the beginning of a new crackdown, under the rallying cry of "choking the necks of the collaborators." The killings, which took place near the al-Omari Mosque in downtown Gaza, occurred a day after Israel killed three top Hamas military commanders in an airstrike on a house in southern Gaza.

A witness says masked gunmen lined up the seven men in a side street and opened fire on them. He spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for his own safety.
"We will not accept anything less than an end to the [Israeli] aggression and an end to the blockade."

- Senior Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh
The deaths marked the third time since the outbreak of the Gaza war six weeks ago that Hamas has announced the killing of alleged collaborators. On Thursday, it said seven people had been arrested and that three of them had been killed on suspicion of working with Israel.

In pinpointing the whereabouts of the Hamas commanders, Israel likely relied to some extent on local informers. Israel has maintained a network of informers despite its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, at times using blackmail or the lure of exit permits to win cooperation.

Meanwhile, Israel-Gaza fighting continued for a third day since the collapse of Egyptian-led cease-fire talks earlier this week.

An Israeli airstrike on a Gaza farm killed two Palestinians on Friday, a Gaza health official said. By midmorning, Israel had launched about 20 airstrikes at Gaza, while Gaza militants fired at least 26 rockets at Israel, the Israeli military said.

The renewed exchanges have dashed hopes for a lasting truce after a monthlong war that has already killed over 2,000 Palestinians. And earlier this week, Hamas rejected an Egyptian truce proposal under which Israel would gradually ease its blockade of Gaza, without giving specific commitments.

Hamas demands a lifting of the border closure imposed by Israel and Egypt after the militant group's takeover of the coastal strip in 2007.

A quick resumption of indirect talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo also seems unlikely, particularly after the killing of the three Hamas commanders. Senior Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said late Thursday that his group would not budge from its demands.

"We will not accept anything less than an end to the (Israeli) aggression and an end to the blockade," Haniyeh said in a statement posted by Al Rai. "Anyone involved in cease-fire efforts must understand that our people will not accept anything less than this."

Despite the crisis, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was in Qatar meeting Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal to push him to return to a cease-fire, and to encourage Qatar to support Egyptian cease-fire efforts, a Palestinian official said.

Abbas was set to travel to Egypt later Friday to meet with Egyptian intelligence officials to discuss cease-fire efforts, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss issues related to the negotiations.

Since Israel-Hamas fighting erupted on July 8, at least 2,086 Palestinians have been killed in the coastal territory, according to Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

Nearly a quarter of the dead -- 469 -- are children, according to the top UNICEF field officer in Gaza, Pernilla Ironside. Of the more than 10,400 Palestinians wounded, nearly a third are children, according to UNICEF figures, while some 100,000 Gazans have been left homeless.

On the Israeli side, 67 people have been killed in the past six weeks, including 64 soldiers, two civilians and a Thai worker.

The airstrike Friday that hit the livestock farm where two workers were killed, also wounded three Palestinians, al-Kidra said. The Israeli military said its strikes targeted concealed rocket launchers and weapons sites.

In Israel, one civilian was moderately wounded by a rocket that hit the major southern city of Beersheva on Friday and another Israeli was lightly hurt by a rocket that landed in the border town of Sderot.

Israel has said that the three Hamas commanders killed Thursday had played a key role in expanding the militants' military capabilities in recent years, including digging attack tunnels leading to Israel, training fighters and smuggling weapons to Gaza. One of the trio also played a role in the capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006. After being held captive in Gaza for more than five years, Schalit was exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in 2011.

Israel says the Gaza blockade is needed to prevent Hamas and other militant groups from getting weapons. The restrictions prevent most Gazans from traveling outside the crowded coastal strip and bar most exports.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SOURCE

Ed Note: Once again Hamas proves just how barbaric and savagely brutal they are. They cannot be negotiated with - they must be eliminated.
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