Jerusalem – On Tuesday, a Kassam rocket struck the roof of a residential building in Sderot. The rocket hit the roof of the building between apartments, but did not penetrate it. One woman suffered from shock and was taken to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon.
The chairman of the “Citizens for Security of Sderot,” Alon Davidi, called on the government, “to begin a large-scale military operation in Gaza and not to make do with a surgical operation.”
Additional rockets landed in the Sdot Negev Regional Council and on the grounds of in kibbutzim in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council. No one was injured and no damage was caused in any of the incidents. In addition, on Tuesday, eight mortar shells landed near Engineering Corps troops that were operating near the border fence in the northern Gaza Strip. No one was injured and no damage was caused. A total of 13 Kassam rockets and 12 mortar shells were fired on Tuesday and the day before.
The Israel Defense Forces is planning to submit to Defense Minister Ehud Barak a plan to cut back the supply of gasoline and electricity to the Gaza Strip.
Israeli officials have been working on the plan for the past two weeks and, at a meeting that was held on Tuesday night with Israel Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai, a decision was made to submit it to Barak for his approval.
Mr. Barak is expected to approve the plan today.
On Tuesday, a military source told the Israeli media that “The State of Israel can’t sit idly by given the Kassam rocket attacks. That is why a clear operational plan is going to be presented to the defense minister who calls for the IDF to cut significantly but gradually the gasoline quotas that enter the Gaza Strip on a weekly basis. There’s no doubt that a gas shortage will make the Palestinians’ lives more difficult. If they don’t let us live and move around freely in the Sderot area and its surroundings, they won’t move around freely either. With that having been said, diesel and crude oil will enter the Gaza Strip regularly so as not to affect the ambulances, garbage trucks and fire trucks. As far as we’re concerned, there’s no problem if the terrorists and local police can’t drive around in their private cars. The Palestinian civilians had better realize that Hamas doesn’t care about them any more.”
On Tuesday afternoon, a senior Popular Resistance Committees official was killed in the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses reported that an IAF aircraft launched a missile at a white Mitsubishi jeep that was traveling on the Gaza coastal road. The explosion killed Mubarak Hasnat, 37, who has been described as the number two in the Popular Resistance Committees’ Salah a-Din faction.
In the past, Mr. Hasnat was an activist in Mohammed Dahlan’s Fatah preventive security apparatus but crossed the lines and joined the Popular Resistance Committees.
A number of years ago, he began to serve in the Popular Resistance Committees, which is led by Zakariya Dogmush, who is an associate of Hamas. Recently, Mr. Hasnat was appointed special military adviser to the senior Hamas official, Siad Siam, who is as the interior minister of the Hamas government.
Iran Becomes Leading Player In PA
Iran has become the leading player in the Palestinian Authority, a report said.
The report said Iran has become a strategic ally of the ruling Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, in a report entitled “Iran Is Building Hamastan in Gaza,” asserted that Tehran was directing the PA military and economy.
“There is a growing strategic alliance between Iran and the radical Palestinian forces in the territories,” the report, authored by Israeli [Res.] Brig. Gen. Shalom Harari, said. “Hamas says it will build its society, economy, and army with the help of the Islamic world, mainly Iran, instead of the West.”
The report said Iran has been supporting the Fatah movement led by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Mr. Harari, a longtime consultant to the Israeli Defense Ministry, said at least 40 percent of the Fatah militia was financed by Hezbollah and Iran. He said many other Fatah members were undecided over whether to join Iran.
“Iran is seeking to surround Israel from three sides – from the north, by rebuilding Hezbollah; from the West Bank, which has not been successful so far; and from Gaza,” the report said.
Under Iranian influence, the new Hamas regime has resembled an Islamic republic. The report said Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a Hamas leader, does not address parliament, rather issues declarations from a mosque every Friday.
“The Arabs are very aware of the images they project,” the report said.
“The head of the government preaching from the mosque creates the image of a new caliphate being built inside Gaza.”
The report said Iran has been bolstering the Hamas-led Palestinian military. Hamas has sought to assemble anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems – similar to those used by Hezbollah in the war in 2006 – in an effort to hamper any Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip.
“Iran is sending weapons and experts to Hamas, and is also training Hamas security forces,” the report said. “Hamas members are being trained in Iran, where they are learning various aspects of guerrilla and terrorist warfare.”
Israel would be forced to launch a massive operation in the Gaza Strip by early 2008, the report said. Mr. Harari said the Gaza Strip contains up to 100,000 automatic rifles and machine guns.
“Hamas is seeking to build anti-tank and anti-aircraft systems that will neutralize Israel’s current ability to easily penetrate Gaza, using new kinds of missiles that were used in Lebanon,” the report said. “It is also trying to fortify the cities in Gaza in which it has its main rocket and weapons factories, such as Rafiah and Khan Yunis.”
“Hamas is increasing its Kassam rocket production and is also improving its rocket capabilities in order to be able to hit major Israeli cities such as Ashkelon, Ashdod, and others,” the report said. “If Hamas acquires 122mm Katyusha rockets, it can reach the center of Ashkelon.”
©The Bulletin 2007