Life comes to Grind­ing halt across Is­rael

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY AN­SHEL PF­EF­FER

IS­RAELIS LIV­ING around the borders of Gaza and in the north­ern Negev re­gion have be­come ac­cus­tomed to hav­ing their lives dis­rupted by mor­tar and rocket at­tacks from the Gaza Strip.

This week, three-quar­ters of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion found it­self within mis­sile range as Ha­mas and Is­lamic Ji­had rock­ets were launched to­wards Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Cities as far north as Zichron Yaakov, 100 miles from Gaza, also came un­der fire.

Six thou­sand people at a con­cert by rock mu­si­cian Beri Sacharoff had to leave the Sul­tan’s Pool in Jerusalem af­ter a salvo of rock­ets was launched

to­wards the cap­i­tal on Tues­day night. The next day, as Ha­mas launched two rock­ets at the south­ern ridge of Mount Carmel, 1,000 scouts had to end their sum­mer camp in Opher For­est.

As of Wed­nes­day night, the mis­siles had caused only a hand­ful of light in­juries. Nearly all the rock­ets which would have landed on built-up ar­eas were in­ter­cepted by the Iron Dome de­fence sys­tem. The IDF is reporting a more than 90 per cent suc­cess rate, with only six rock­ets hit­ting ur­ban ar­eas.

De­spite the ef­fec­tive­ness of Iron Dome, IDF Home Com­mand has called on any­one hear­ing a mis­sile warn­ing siren to take cover. Pub­lic air-raid shel- ters in the south and cen­tre of Is­rael have been opened and large pub­lic events near the Gaza Strip have been can­celled ex­cept those tak­ing place in blast-proof struc­tures.

Is­raeli in­tel­li­gence be­lieves that Ha­mas still has a few dozen M-302 mis­siles that can reach tar­gets as far as 200 km from Gaza and that it will try to launch a few of these each day.

Civil­ians in Gaza have suf­fered in the wake of Is­rael’s air strikes. Ac­cord­ing to var­i­ous sources, around half of the 35 Pales­tini­ans killed as of Wed­nes­day evening were civil­ians. Among the tar­gets were more than 60 homes that Is­rael claims were be­ing used as head­quar­ters and weapons stores, and the homes of se­nior Ha­mas and Is­lamic Ji­had mem­bers. Tele­phone calls and warn­ing shots were made to en­sure the res­i­dents left in ad­vance.

Is­raeli hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tion B’tse­lem con­demned the strikes, say­ing: “Whether or not un­in­volved civil­ians were hurt in the bomb­ings, these houses are not le­git­i­mate mil­i­tary tar­gets and their at­tack is against in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian law.”


Is­raeli tank out­side the Gaza Strip

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