Thursday, July 31, 2014
Update - The Latest On Gaza
Three Israeli soldiers were killed today and 15 others were wounded by a Hamas booby trap. They were trying to safeguard an abandoned UNRWA medical clinic while their unit was destroying a Hamas tunnel with an entrance actually built inside the clinic.
The IDF Maglan unit had sent in sniffer dogs and a small robot into the building as a precaution and to minimize damage to the clinic before detonating a carefully placed charge that would destroy the tunnel while causing minimal damage to the building. Unfortunately the building was booby trapped and explosive charges in the walls exploded - one in the tunnel, and one in the clinic itself - brought the entire structure down on the soldiers.
Remember, this was in a supposedly neutral UN building. But in Gaza, that's nothing unusual.
Edelstein] said Hamas gunmen have used more than a thousand IEDs so far, destroying thousands of buildings in the Gaza Strip.
As an example he noted that in sweeps of a single street of 28 buildings Tuesday night, 19 were found to be booby-trapped.
No comments, by the way from the UN or UNRWA on this blatant misuse of what was supposedly a neutral building. This should make the IDF think twice about attempting to respect UNRWA buildings. If there a tunnel there, simply take it out in the easiest and least time consuming and costly way possible.Hamas is even using mosques in this way.
(ht to Carl for the graphic)
Israel appears to have made the decision the Army was waiting for - to let them win or to let them come home. An additional 16,000 reserves were called up, and the Israelis asked for and received a resupply of armaments courtesy of the U.S. Congress with Harry Reid finally backing down.
While the UN still hasn't commented about all the rocket caches and Hamas laid booby traps in UNRWA facilities, one thing the UN did comment about quite extensively was the shelling of a UN school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza...which of course they're blaming on Israel. It was being used as a shelter for Gazans whom had evacuated elsewhere. At least 16 people were killed and some 100 wounded.
Israel had said earlier that Israeli forces would stop attacks for four hours starting at 3 p.m., and would only target areas where rockets were being fired at Israel.
An Israeli army statement added that the "humanitarian window will not apply to the areas in which (army) soldiers are currently operating."
"Residents must not return to areas that have previously been asked to evacuate," the statement said, adding the the army would respond to all fire from Palestinian militants throughout the limited ceasefire.
Hamas rejected the offer of ceasefire and continued to fire rockets at Israel...which of course, the UN is not really overly concerned about.
Given that the UNRWA schools and refugee camps have been used by Hamas as tunnel entrances, arms deports and sniper posts, it was probably inevitable something like this would happen. The IDF is still investigating, but I have a feeling that we'll find that IDF troops came under fire by Hamas and responded.
I'll have something more on this later.
Meanwhile Canada's PM Stephen Harper had a few things to say about Gaza, and as usual he was right on the mark:
"Obviously, no one likes to see the suffering and loss of life that has occurred," Harper said in televised remarks.
"That said, we hold the terrorist organization Hamas responsible for this. They have initiated and continue this conflict, and continue to seek the destruction of the state of Israel," he added. Several weeks ago, Harper called on Canada’s allies and partners to recognize that Hamas’s terrorist acts “are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.”
And it was Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird called for a UN investigation into the discoveries of weapons caches at schools it operates in Gaza.