Terror Onslaught Continues: 30 Rockets on Sabbath
Gaza terrorists continued their attacks over the Sabbath, hitting southern Israel dozens of times.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/23/2012, 9:13 PM
Rocket vicitm at Barzali Hospital (archives)
Flash 90Gaza terrorists continued to fire on Israel over the Sabbath. The Iron Dome rocket defense system successfully shot down 5 rockets, but more than 20 hit southern communities. One rocket hit a factory in the Sha’ar Hanegev region. A worker was moderately wounded. Another rocket hit a school in Sderot, causing damage to the building. School was not in session, and no injuries were reported. Israeli warplanes fired on a terrorist as he prepared to launch a rocket. Pilots reported a hit. Sources in Gaza confirmed that the man was killed. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and other senior defense officials to discuss the situation. He ordered them to take strong action to restore security to the south.
LAST UPDATED: 06/23/2012 20:32
Photo: REUTERS video http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=274929 Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Saturday told top security officials to continue acting strongly in order to ensure the safety of residents in Israel's South, following six days of rocket fire from Gaza Strip. The prime minister made the remarks during a situational held Saturday afternoon at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Channel 10 reported.
Later Saturday evening, Hamas said that an Egyptian-brokered cease fire between Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip and Israel was expected to take effect Saturday night, Channel 10 reported. IDF officials responded to the report saying "quiet will be answered with quiet and fire will be answered with fire," according to the report. Palestinians have fired over 23 rockets from Gaza into Israel since midnight. The IAF struck a rocket-launching cell in the northern Gaza Strip making final preparations to launch projectiles into Israel Saturday evening, the IDF Spokesman's Office said. Palestinian reports said one person was killed and ten were injured in the strike Earlier Saturday, the IAF struck another Palestinian terrorist who was preparing to launch a rocket into Israeli territory from northern Gaza, the IDF stated. Medical officials in Gaza said at least 30 people were injured in IAF strikes Saturday. In the earlier strike, the IDF said it recorded a direct hit and thwarted a rocket launch. A video released by the IDF Spokesman's office showed the targeting and attack of a man it said was an operative of the Popular Resistance Committees. The air strike followed a barrage of rockets fired into southern Israel Saturday morning, injuring one man and causing damage to a school and factory in Sderot. The wounded man, approximately 50 years old, suffered moderate-to-severe injuries after being struck by shrapnel in the neck and stomach. He was rushed to Barzilai Medical Center and was fully conscious. Two other residents suffered shock in the Palestinian attack. "Israel cannot remain silent in the face of continued rocket fire from the Gaza Strip," Home Front Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i said earlier Saturday during a visit to the afflicted areas of Sderot and the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council area. Vilna'i also paid a visit to the IDF's Gaza Division for an operational review of recent events. "We hold Hamas fully responsible for everything that happens in the Gaza ," Vilani said during the visit. "Israel is working, and will continue to work with a heavy hand against those terrorists that want to escalate the situation in the region." The minister stressed that, "the state attaches great importance to protecting the cities that lay within a radius of 4.5 to 7 km. of the Gaza Strip." Hamas's armed wing, the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, released a statement Saturday warning Israel over the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, saying if Israeli airstrikes continue "we are ready to smash [Israel's] arrogance." Israeli attacks, a statement published online by the group said, are a crime which Hamas cannot remain silent about and vowed a "proper" response. Palestinians have fired over twenty rockets from Gaza into southern Israel since midnight on Friday, police said. Fifteen of those landed in the Lachish region, and five in the Negev. One rocket hit and damaged a school in Sderot. No injuries were reported. The Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted five of the rockets. 11 rockets were fired toward the Ashkelon Coast Regional Council, Channel 10 reported. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the recent round of rockets. Earlier, the IDF denied Palestinian reports that an IAF strike on Gaza had killed a four-year-old-boy and wounded seven others on Saturday. Quoting Gazan Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra, Palestinians news agency Ma'an reported that Israeli fire killed the boy in the Abasan neighborhood east of Khan Younis. The IDF denied any connection to the incident and stated that the IAF had not carried out any further strikes between the early morning and Saturday afternoon. In light of the recent wave of rockets, the IDF instructed residents in the area to stay within 15 seconds of protected spaces. In a conversation with Army Radio, Sderot Mayor David Buskila called on the government to return quiet to the region. The violence all but erases diplomatic progress made in the form of an informal ceasefire brokered by Egypt on June 20, which brought two days of relative quiet to southern Israel. Early Saturday morning, the IAF struck three Palestinian terror bases in the Gaza Strip in response to continued Palestinians rocket firing into Israel. Palestinian media reported that between 17 and 21 people were wounded in the strike - the third of its kind since Friday, which according to the reports have also resulted in the death of at least one terrorist. Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report
Photo: Baz Ratner / Reuters DUBAI - A high-ranking Iranian general said on Saturday Israeli military action against Iran's nuclear program would lead to the collapse of the Jewish state, Fars news agency reported. Last week's round of nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Moscow failed to secure a breakthrough, heightening fears Israel might take unilateral military action to curb Iran's nuclear activities.
The two sides agreed to a follow-up meeting of technical experts on July 3, saving the process from outright failure. "They cannot do the slightest harm to the (Iranian) revolution and the system," Brigadier-General Mostafa Izadi, deputy chief of staff of Iran's armed forces, told Fars. "If the Zionist regime takes any (military) actions against Iran, it would result in the end of its labors," he added. "If they act logically, such threats amount to a psychological war but if they want to act illogically, it is they who will be destroyed." Izadi's comments are an apparent response to Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz's calls for tougher sanctions against Tehran and his indication that military action was still an option. Analysts say Iranian officials use such rhetoric as a way of stoking Western concerns of chaos in the Middle East and the disruption of oil supplies in the event of military action. During negotiations in Moscow the six powers - the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany - demanded Iran scale back its nuclear work and, in particular, stop enriching uranium to levels that could bring it close to making an atom bomb. The demands included the shutting down of the Fordow underground uranium enrichment facility and the shipping of any stockpile out of the country. In return, they offered fuel to keep Iran's medical isotope reactor running, assistance in nuclear safety and an end to a ban on spare parts for Iran's aging civilian aircraft. Iran denies its work has any military purpose and says the powers should offer it relief from sanctions and acknowledge its right to enrich uranium before it meets their demands.
Newly-supplied Russian Pantsyr-1 anti-air missile used to down Turkish warplane
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 23, 2012, 8:41 PM (GMT+02:00)
Russian Pantsyr-1 air defense missile in SyriaTo ambush the Turkish Air Force F-4 Super Phantom Friday, June 22, over Latakia Syria used Russian-made self-propelled medium range anti-air Pantsyr-1 missiles recently supplied by Moscow (not as first reported anti-air Buk-M2 missiles). This weapon can down aircraft flying at altitudes up to 12 kilometers and cruise missiles. The unit responsible for the ambush was the 73rd brigade of the Syrian army’s 26th Air Defense Division. Since the sophisticated weapons were delivered to the Assad regime in recent weeks, it must be assumed that local missile crews had not finished training in their use and would have had to rely on help from their Russian instructors to fire one. This would be the first instance in the 15-month Syrian uprising of an advanced Russian-supplied weapon hitting the military target of a NATO member. Hence the comment from Washington by US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland who said: “We’ve seen the reports… We have obviously been in contact with our Turkish ally…. To my knowledge, they haven’t raised this at NATO at this point.” Ankara has repeatedly threatened to ask NATO to invoke the pact’s article 5 obligating members to come to the aid of a fellow member coming under attack. In this case, however, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s rhetoric was relatively restrained. He vowed to “determinedly take necessary steps” in response “once the incident is fully clarified,” leaving Ankara’s response deliberately vague. President Abdullah Gul spoke out more strongly: “It is impossible to ignore our fighter jet being shot down by Syria,” he said after Damascus admitted to shooting down the plane, claiming its air defenses acted according to standard procedure before realizing it was a Turkish air force jet. Both are searching for the two missing pilots. debkafile’s military experts add: This was also the first time in five years any weapons system with Israeli manufacturing input had faced a Russian weapon acquired by Syria. The first time was September 6, 2007, when Israeli fighter-bombers demolished the Iranian-North Korean-built nuclear reactor in the northern Syrian town of Al-Kibar. Airspace over the reactor was guarded by Russian Pantsyr-S1 anti-air missiles. Israeli bombers got through by disabling the Russian missiles’ radar so that Damascus never realized its reactor was being bombed until it had been smashed and Israeli bombers were home. Five years later, Turkey has lost a Super Phantom which had undergone partial upgrading by the Israeli Aerospace Industry. However, two years ago, Ankara broke off its security and military ties with Jerusalem after a clash at sea between Turkish Mavi Marmara and Israel troops wich intercepted the vessel on its way to break Israel’s Gaza blockade, leaving nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists dead. By severing those ties, the Erdogan government left Israel’s improvements unfinished and the Turkish air force’s F-4 short of counter-measures for evading or attacking the latest Russian-made air defense weapons fired by Syria. According to, debkafile’s military sources waylaying a Turkish military plane over the sea was therefore a simple matter for the new Pantsyr-1. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan admitted Saturday that the jet was shot down over the Mediterranean around 13 kilometers west of the Syrian port of Latakia. He did not explain what a Turkish bomber fighter was doing over Syrian territorial waters, but the suggestion, which Western military sources have confirmed, was that Turkish military jets have lately been carrying out almost daily reconnaissance flights over the Syrian coast. Moscow and Damascus apparently decided it was time to stop the missions which among other things spied on the Russian arms supplies transiting Russian bases at the Syrian ports of Tartus and Latakia.