Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Israelis consolidate positions in Gaza, continue operation `Summer Rain'

The IDF continues to advance and consolidate its positions in Gaza as part of operation `Summer Rain', splitting off and isolating the various pockets of the Gaza Strip.

The IDF pulled into the old former airport of Dahaniya northwest of Rafah, where they came under Palestinian anti-tank and small arms fire. The IDF sent them packing with after killing several Palestinian fighters and occupied the area, setting up a command post there.

This is the area where the Israelis believes Gilead Shalit is being held.

Israeli troops have also recaptured the Philadelphi border strip between Gaza and Egypt and now are directly facing the 2,500 Egyptian troops on the opposite side of the border. They have also taken the village of Shuka east of Rafah.

The Tzahal hasn't gone into Rafah proper -yet. The Palestinians have planted mines, booby traps and IED's and hundreds of gunmen are dug in. This is a Jenin or Falujah-type situation, where house to house fighting is likely.The Palestinian fighters tried to make Rafah's population stay in the city as human shield, but they were unsuccessful and most of the civilian population has left Rafah and the refugee camps, heading for the sea shore.

By the way, if the Israelis were truly out to maximize civilian casualties and actually commit what Abbas is already calling ` a crime against humanity' they could have easily bombed and strafed the fleeing civilians from the air...but unlike the Palestinians, the IDF doesn't deliberately target civilians.

The Israeli artillery fire continues to pound Palestinian positions, while the Palestinians launched another four Qassam missiles at Israel’s western Negev.

The Israelis are also starting to go into Northern Gaza , creating a buffer zone and `security perimeter' designed to distance Qassam launching cells from the northern Gaza Strip and to limit the movement from parts of the Strip, along with reducing the risk of transferring abducted soldier Gilad Shalit from one place to another inside Gaza.

While the rescue of Israeli hostage Gilead Shalit comes first, the Qassam threat and the threat of attacks by the Palestinians on southern Israel is also targeted for elimination.

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