Israel Rushes New Iron Dome — Mosque Bombed as Gaza Death Toll Soars to 125

Hamas Rocket Response Harsher Than Expected

getty images

By Reuters

Published July 12, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel rushed an eighth missile interceptor battery into service on Saturday to counter stronger-than-expected rocket fire from Gaza as the military pounded positions in the Palestinian enclave for a fifth day, killing 19 people, medics said.

The Jewish state kept options open for a possible ground offensive into densely populated Gaza despite international pressure to negotiate a ceasefire in the conflict, which has killed 125 people in the Islamist-ruled enclave since Tuesday.

The U.N. Security Council, after days of discussion, issued a statement calling for a ceasefire and expressed serious concern about the welfare of civilians on both sides.

“The Security Council members called for de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm and reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire,” the 15-member body said.

A mosque in the central Gaza Strip had been bombed to rubble, residents said. The Israeli military said the mosque had housed a weapons cache. Eight other mosques have been damaged by bombing and 537 Gaza houses have either been destroyed or damaged, Gaza-based Al-Mezan Association for Human Rights said.

By Saturday, no Israeli had been killed by the rocket salvoes out of Gaza, due in part to Iron Dome, a partly U.S.-funded interceptor system.

Racing for shelter has become a daily routine for hundreds of thousands of Israelis, and some 20,000 reservists have been mobilized for a possible thrust into Gaza.

“In the past week, we carried out a very complex technological exercise to deliver the eighth (Iron Dome) system,” a Defense Ministry official said on Israel Radio.

Israel said it was determined to end cross-border rocket attacks, which intensified last month after its forces arrested hundreds of activists from the Islamist Hamas movement in the West Bank after the abduction there of three Jewish teenagers who were later found killed. A Palestinian youth was then killed in Jerusalem in a suspected revenge attack by Israelis.

“PREPARING FOR ALL POSSIBILITIES”

Asked if Israel might move from the mostly aerial attacks of the past four days into a ground war in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We are weighing all possibilities and preparing for all possibilities.”

Casualties on both sides would probably rise sharply if Israeli forces stormed the largely urbanized enclave. A ground invasion of Gaza would be the first since a three-week war with Hamas in 2008-09 in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.

Egypt’s state news agency said that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had met with Tony Blair, envoy for the so-called Quartet of United Nations, EU, Russia and United States, in efforts to secure a truce.

An Israeli government official said Blair had met with Netanyahu on Friday. “There are no serious contacts toward a truce. There are many proposals, but as long as Hamas keeps firing, Israel will keep fighting and will not discuss a truce.”

Cairo played a crucial role in mediating a truce that ended an eight-day war between Hamas and Israel in 2012, when Egypt was governed by Hamas’s Muslim Brotherhood allies.

Egypt’s current military-backed government is locked in a feud with Hamas over the group’s alleged support for jihadi militants in Egypt’s Sinai desert - which Hamas denies. This could complicate Cairo’s efforts at mediation.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: “We will not beg for calm and we continue to defend our people. Once we are offered a genuine, coherent and serious proposal, we will look into it.”

Gaza medical officials said at least 82 civilians, including 25 children, were among the 125 dead so far from air strikes on the territory into which nearly 2 million people are packed.

Three militants and 15 other people, including two disabled women at a rehabilitation center and a 65-year-old man, were killed by air strikes early on Saturday, doctors there said. An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

One of the dead in an air strike that killed six people in a Gaza street was identified as the nephew of Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas political leader in the territory.

“MAP OF PAIN”

Israel says Hamas puts innocent Gazans in harm’s way by placing weaponry and gunmen in residential areas. A senior Israeli military officer said aircraft had aborted “hundreds” of strikes to avoid collateral damage and that targets bombed were meant to impact Hamas fire capacity.

“We are dealing with a variety of families of targets. If there is a kind of a map, or a map of pain that the enemy sees, we create a lot of pain so that he will have to think first to stop the conflict,” the officer said in a briefing to reporters.

Israel says it has hit more than 1,000 targets in Gaza.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.