Hamas continues to fire longer range rockets and missiles into Israel, and a second person - a Palestinian working on an Israeli construction site - was killed as a result of a rocket fired against Ashkelon.
The three-day death toll rose to at least 315 by Monday morning, with some 1,400 wounded. The U.N. said at least 51 of the dead were civilians, and medics said eight children under the age of 17 were killed in two separate strikes overnight. Israel launched its campaign, the deadliest against Palestinians in decades, on Saturday in retaliation for rocket fire aimed at civilians in southern Israeli towns.More than 50 rockets and mortars were fired by Hamas today. Ehud Barak has said that this is an all-out war against Hamas. We'll see if that is just rhetoric of whether Israel intends to actually go for victory against the terrorist group. Has Israel learned the lessons of the Hizbullah war? Stay tuned, because if Israel doesn't succeed in fulfilling its mission objectives and the rockets continue to hit Israel, Israel's political leaders will not have fulfilled their objectives either. The idea is not to fight to a stalemate, but to win.
Since then, the number of Israeli troops on the Gaza border has doubled and the Cabinet approved the call-up of 6,500 reserve soldiers.
The strikes have driven Hamas leaders into hiding and appear to have gravely damaged the organization's ability to launch rockets, but barrages continued. Sirens warning of incoming rockets sent Israelis scrambling for cover throughout the day.
One medium-range rocket fired at the Israeli city of Ashkelon killed an Arab construction worker there Monday and wounded several others. He was the second Israeli killed since the beginning of the offensive, and the first person ever to be killed by a rocket in Ashkelon, a city of 120,000.
On Sunday, Hamas missiles struck for the first time near the city of Ashdod, twice as far from Gaza as Ashkelon and only 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Israel's heart in Tel Aviv. Hamas leaders have also threatened to renew suicide attacks inside Israel.
If Hamas had the weapons and technology available to Israel, they would not fight with one hand tied behind their backs. They would fight to destroy Israel. Right now, Israel is fighting with only a fraction of its capabilities, and the terrorists exploit that at every turn.
The media is a willing assistant to the terrorists as well. They, along with the UN, will take the Palestinians at their word as to civilian casualties and attempt to highlight all the civilians killed and cast blame on Israel, even though the war is due to the actions of Hamas and no one else. Hamas sought out this war, and will fight due to nothing more than Israel's very existence, while Israel would not have carried out the current operations had Hamas not fired all those kassams and mortars against Israel.
Hamas refuses to accept Israel's existence and is wholly dedicated to Israel's destruction. They will not stop until Hamas fulfills its objectives or is itself destroyed. Hamas brought this war upon themselves, and now find that the chickens have come home to roost.
Israel is targeting the Hamas infrastructure of power. I'd like to see Israel go after the terror masters themselves, who despite all of their bravado and claims that they aren't afraid to die, have gone deep underground and now appear only courtesy of videos from undisclosed locations. These terrorists, including Ismail Haniyeh, would rather see all of his terror thugs die than put himself in harm's way.
Egypt is certainly playing a most curious role in all this. They've criticized Hamas, and now have gone on the record noting that Hizbullah had all but declared war against Egypt. Egypt sees the Islamic terrorist groups as a threat, and will not rush to their defense or aid. Egypt has already been invaded twice by Hamas and Gazans, including yesterday's breach as Gazans attempt to get out of the way of Israel's reprisal attacks. No doubt many Hamas thugs are among those trying to cross into Egypt. Egypt wants no part of them.
Watch for the media to latch upon the fact that Hamas is starting to play its typical game of demanding a hudna - a one-way ceasefire.
Israel should reject this and demand nothing less than unconditional surrender. Anything less means that Hamas gets to continue its conflict against Israel and will simply use any time that it is not attacked to regroup and rearm for the inevitable next phase of the conflict. Israel should also demand that Hamas release Gilad Shalit unconditionally, as he has been held by Hamas for more than 2.5 years and the terrorists show no signs of releasing him.
Carl in Jerusalem and Aussie Dave continues live blogging the fighting and the situation in Israel.
There are unconfirmed reports that Israeli ground forces are entering Gaza.
Sderot was hit again by kassams, one scoring a direct hit on an Israeli home. So far, more than 60 kassams were fired at Israel today. The Israeli Navy has begun engaging targets in Gaza as well.
Israel isn't limiting its attacks against Hamas. Islamic Jihad's top terrorists were killed today as well.
A senior member of the Islamic Jihad's military wing was among five people killed in an Israel Air Force strike in the Khan Younis area Monday afternoon.Israeli tanks have massed at the border with Gaza. If Israel telegraphs its moves against Gaza, it would definitely be a dangerous fight for the Israelis. Israel must keep Hamas and the other terrorists operating in Gaza off balance, and that means not calling and warning civilians to flee the areas Israel intends to attack - that's a dead giveaway that Israel is intending to attack. If anything, those calls actually increase the number of casualties because Hamas gets to flee to fight another day.
A source in one of the organizations warned that gunmen in Gaza were well prepared for a ground offensive. "We'll kidnap soldiers, and it will equal all of this destruction," he told Ynet.
Meanwhile, Germany has come out in support of Israel's actions against Hamas in Gaza. We'll see how long that lasts - probably until the media propagandists have their way and show Israel killing no one but women and children.
Egypt and Hamas clashed at the Rafah border crossing.
Egyptian security forces continued to shoot in the air, but they did not succeed in stopping the flow of people. The masses stopped advancing towards the Egyptian side of Rafiah when trucks arrived with humanitarian aid arrive and Gazans began unloading the foodstuffs from the trucks.Egypt wants nothing to do with Gaza or Hamas.
Eyewitnesses to the crossing reported that the Gazans cursed the Egyptian border police and called them collaborators with Israel. They also cursed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as well as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Egyptian forces had been beefed up only 24 hours earlier because of Egypt’s concerns that the Gazans would try to breach the border. An Egyptian military source said, “We are worried that Israeli pressure on the residents of Gaza will cause them to break through the border.”
Jules Crittenden has a roundup of reaction. Jim Hoft notes that the cognitive dissonance of Indians are staggering. Some are proclaiming their solidarity with the Gazans and Palestinian terrorists, even claiming that "Palestine" is the new Nariman House. Nariman House is the Chabad house that the Pakistani terrorists attacked and slaughtered a Jewish family in cold blood after torturing them.
Israel is damned if they carry out acts of self defense, but they're dead if they don't. The world's reaction largely shows that they wouldn't mind Israelis dying.
Israel continues to believe that Hamas' military wing is still intact. Given that the terrorists are continuing to fire their kassams at Israel, I'd say that's a pretty keen observation. The home of a Hamas senior commander was hit in Northern Gaza, and casualties were reported. Israel has spent considerable time planning and gathering intel on Hamas operations in Gaza.
Terrorist sympathizers continue to make excuses for terrorism. Charles at LGF notes perpetual kook Cynthia McKinney denouncing Israel's right to defend itself from incessant terrorist attacks. She's going to attempt and run the sea blockade and deliver "aid" to the Gazans. Let's just say I'm not entirely convinced that the aid is purely humanitarian. I wouldn't put it past the useful idiots that are pushing this scheme to include weapons and ammo for the terrorists.
After all, it's not like Israel is blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza. That aid still flows to the very people who continue to support the terrorists in Hamas and seek Israel's destruction.
Hamas killed two more Israelis with their rocket attacks and wounded several more.