Gaza War Day #11
Here’s a reporter’s notebook from driving around here today visiting my reporters.
There is a steakhouse not far from the Gaza border that has a closed military zone inside it at the back. There is a sign on a drawing board which says: War Room, High Command, No Entry, Closed Zone. Behind the drawing board are three little red road dividers, behind which are two round tables with several clean glasses placed top down on them, ready for use at any moment. The proprietor of the establishment not only cooks a mean steak, he also briefs foreign reporters on the situation – military and diplomatically. “Hamas is going to beg for peace,” he tells a Japanese TV crew, adding, “they’re already begging for peace. It won’t last too long but this time the game is different, we’re hitting them hard.” Continue reading
Day 10, some observations:
Israeli forces seized sparsely populated areas in northern Gaza on Sunday and by Monday morning were dug in on the edges of Gaza City. Further movement into the heart of the built-up areas would mean deadly urban warfare, replete with house-to-house fighting in crowded streets and alleyways familiar to Hamas’ 20,000 fighters. This would mean sniper fire, hand-to-hand fighting, rocket propelled grenades, suicide bombers, booby traps, fighters disappearing through one tunnel and appearing out of others, and the use of civilians as cover. The IDF will be trying to coax Hamas fighters out into the open, but chances are Hamas won’t fall for the bait. Continue reading
Sheikh Nizar Rayyan who was assassinated Thursday in an IAF strike was considered the mufti of the Izzadin Al Kassam Brigades – the Hamas military wing. He was in Israel’s top 5 targets in Gaza. Rayyan issued religious rulings, fatwas, allowing females to act as suicide bombers.
He was assassinated one day after appearing on Hamas TV from a mosque in Gaza.
He was close to Salah Shahade, the former Hamas master bombmaker and leader of Izzadin Al Kassam assassinated in July 2002. Rayyan’s assassination resembles that of Shahade, whose building was completely destroyed on top of its occupants by a one-tonne IAF bomb.
Rayyan led the Hamas revolt against Fatah rule in the Gaza Strip in 2007, and raised the ire of the Palestinian Authority when he promised that his men would eventually pray in the Muqata, the PA’s headquarters in Ramallah.
He sent his own son on a suicide attack mission against the Israeli Gaza Strip settlement of Alei Sinai.
He was logistically involved in the Ashdod container terrorist attack in March 14, 2004 in which 10 port workers lost their lives.
He told Reuters: “We will never recognize Israel. There is nothing called Israel, neither in reality nor in the imagination.”
He had four wives.
Here’s a video of him:
David Bouskila had a long and busy Friday night. The workload and
consultations started again very early on Saturday morning. So at about
11:30 a.m., when he finally found a few minutes to rest, he walked into his
bedroom and let his hefty body slump onto the mattress.
The second his head hit the pillow, IAF bombs hit their marks in nearby Gaza
City causing a thunderous sonic boom which shook Bouskila’s home. Sderot’s
new mayor knew it was not a good time to catch some sleep.
Credit: Sderot media center
Bouskila is speaking on his cell phone to the BBC when I catch up with him.
“We praise the IDF and the government for acting after having been under
rocket attack for over eight years,” he says. Speaking in good English all
the way through the interview, Bouskila spells out the letters of his name
to the BBC reporter on the other end of the line. Continue reading