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Operation Pillar of Defense LIVE: Gaza Invasion Imminent as Hamas Rockets Hit Jerusalem

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Israel-Palestine has flared up again, and things may be heading towards a more extensive conflict for the two bitterly rival sides, maybe even within the next 24 hours.

The IDF is providing lie updates of the Pillar of Defense action here.

See below of LIVE updates (all times in EST): Saturday 4:18 PM Full analysis and updates here.

3:52 PM (tip-off Karl Lindemann): 

The Israeli army has sent text messages to mobile phones in Gaza with a warning in Arabic: “The next phase is on the way. Stay away from Hamas elements.” This could be real, or it could be a form of psychological warfare, designed to instigate panic.

3:41 p.m. Overnight, the IDF targeted approximately 150 medium range rocket launching sites as well as ammunition storage facilities across the Gaza Strip, causing severe damage to terror infrastructures. As a result, rocket fire at Israel overnight was significantly decreased, with only a few hits landing in open areas.

In this video, the IDF targets underground rocket launchers in Gaza. The secondary explosions show that hidden explosives were hit.

..... 97 rockets fired from Gaza hit Israel today, bringing the overall amount to 388 since the start of the operation. The Iron Dome system has shot down 99 rockets since this morning, bringing its total to 197. Since the start of the operation, the IDF has attacked over 600 targets in the Strip.

3:38 p.m. Israeli mainstream media has proven to be an exercise in irrelevance and bias to a new extreme. Victimhood is a state of being and a way of life preserved only for Israelis. Check out this great analysis on the blatant propaganda that channel 2 spews in Israel.

2:47 p.m. Chilling video from a wedding in Beersheba of Israel’s “Iron Dome” intercepting Hamas’s rockets.

1:45 p.m. The Top 5 Biggest Media Myths about Israel-Palestine (Sabith Khan) – Media reports about the region are biased and don't reflect the truth. Opinions are not facts, even is they are taken as such when it comes to Israel-Palestine.

12:55 p.m. In Gaza, Israeli Violence Against Palestinians May Be a Massacre in the Making (Karl Lindemann) – Since imposing an internationally illegal siege on Gaza in 2007, Israel has been constantly violating Palestinians' human rights in Gaza. The recent violence will likely be another extreme case.

11:55 a.m. Signs are pointing to an invasion of Gaza by Israel. Israeli forces have been striking Hamas rocket launching sites, and have amassed forced at the Israel-Gaza border. Defense minister Ehud Barak has drafted plans to call up 30,000 reservists. Meanwhile, Haaretz notes that for the first time since 1970, a rocket was fired at Jerusalem. Such a bold move may convince the Israelis that they have no choice but to commence an all out invasion to halt the barrage of rocket attacks, hundreds of which have been fired into southern Israel in recent days. Three people have been killed in those attacks. 

10:56 a.m. What is Hamas' ultimate goal? Here's an excerpt from today's NY Times: "Nearly four years after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead killed about 1,400 Gazans in three weeks of air and ground assaults in response to repeated rocket fire, this new conflict has a decidedly different feel, and not just because Israel has said that it has tried to limit its attacks to precision strikes. This time, Israeli forces are fighting a newly emboldened Hamas, supported by the regional powerhouses of Qatar, Turkey and Egypt, and demonstrating its strength compared with a weak and crisis-laden Palestinian Authority. After months of mostly holding its fire as it struggled to stop other militant factions from shooting rockets across the border, Hamas has responded forcefully to Israel’s killing on Wednesday of its top military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari. It sent more than 300 rockets into Israel over 24 hours, with several penetrating the heart of Israel’s population center around Tel Aviv; three civilians were killed in an apartment building about 15 miles north of Gaza, and three soldiers were wounded in a separate strike. For Hamas, the goal is not necessarily a military victory, but a diplomatic one, as it tests its growing alliance with the new Islamist leadership of Egypt and other relationships in the Arab world and beyond.

Friday, 10:45 a.m. Israel Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon talks to CNN about the recent move for Israel to defend itself against rockets fired by terrorists from Gaza. He referred to Israel as ‘reluctant warriors’ saying they’d prefer not to go into Gaza if the can avoid it. Asked what would prompt Israel to engage a ground war, Ayalon said: “If we will see in the next 24 to 36 hours more rockets launched at us, I think that would be the trigger.”

Friday, 10:15 a.m. Hamas claims to have taken shots at Israeli parliament. Israel has stated that if rockets keep firing for 24-36 more hours, they will launch a ground war.

Friday, 10 a.m. Rockets hit JerusalemChannel 10 reports that two rockets landed outside Jerusalem. Israeli media say a rocket fell north of Jerusalem, but authorities have not confirmed the reports.

In Gaza, Hamas militants said they had attacked Jerusalem.

If verified, it would be the first time the holy city has ever been targeted by rockets fired by Gaza militants.

It comes hours after a Palestinian rocket was fired at the country's largest city Tel Aviv.

 

Wednesday: Israel on Wednesday killed the military commander of Hamas in a missile strike on the Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) then launched air raids across the Gaza Strip.

According to the IDF, the operation, called Pillar of Defense, has two main goals: to protect Israeli civilians and to cripple the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

The attacks marked the biggest spike in conflict between Israel and Gaza since a 2008-2009 conflict.

The attacks came despite a recent announced truce in Gaza. As the International Herald Tribue reports, on Tuesday, Egypt, Israel’s neighbor to the south, had managed to broker a cease-fire in Gaza after a jump in violence over the last week.

Reuters witnesses reported numerous explosions around Gaza, with Hamas security compounds and police stations among the targets. The IDF reported that they had seriously damaged Hamas’ long-range missile capabilities (within a 25 mile range) and underground weapons storage facilities. The Israeli Navy has also struck sites in the Gaza Strip from the neighboring Mediterranean.

More than 700 rockets have struck Israel since the beginning of the year, according to the IDF, and more than 120 since Saturday.

The IDF targeted Ahmed Jabri, the head of Hamas’ military wing, in the Gaza Strip. Jabri was a senior Hamas operative who served in the upper echelon of the Hamas’ command. As the IDF says, “(Jabri) was directly responsible for executing terror attacks against Israel in the past.”

Here is video of the strike that took out Jabri:

The IDF is providing lie updates of the Pillar of Defense action here.

In 2011, 630 rockets from Gaza hit Israeli towns. In 2010, 231 rockets hit Israel. Since 2001, more than 12,800 rockets and mortars — an average of 3 attacks every single day have landed in Israel, according to the IDF.

The Gaza Strip forms part of the Palestinian territories. Since July 2007, following the 2006 Palestinian legislative election and the following Battle of GazaHamas has functioned as the de facto ruler in the Gaza Strip, forming an alternative Hamas Government in Gaza. The United States considers Hamas as terrorist group. On May 4, 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement that provides for "creation of a joint caretaker Palestinian government" prior to national elections scheduled for 2012. As part of that agreement, Hamas' resistance would be peaceful and not military, according to Israeli news reports.

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