This is a report of details of today’s fighting, followed by a brief analysis of the war, and then specific prayer requests.

 

Tuesday has seen a reduced number of air attacks against the infrastructure, homes and offices of military leadership and weaponry of the Islamist group Hamas (‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’; for deeper background see newsletters February 2006, June 2007 at www.davidstent.org, under “words”).  This group is linked with the Muslim Brotherhood, a world jihadi group ideologically connected to Osama Bin Laden.  

 

It has also been another day of extended rocket fire against Israeli cities, towns and farms.

 

The air war

 

Continued targets included houses and offices of Hamas leadership, both military and administrative. More tunnels used for smuggling weapons were bombed along the border with Egypt, which has allowed Hamas over the years to bring in vast quantities of armaments to Gaza. Flyers were air-dropped prior to these bombing runs, urging civilians to evacuate the area immediately. Approximatey 60 tunnels have been destroyed, though there are at least 600 still functioning. Many potential targets have not been hit (ammo dumps, weapons factories, missile silos, etc) because they are totally surrounded by civilians populations.

 

Israeli Military Intelligence (AMAN) made over 100,000 telephone calls into Gaza urging Gazans to stay away from Hamas weapons caches and command and control centers. Calls have been placed to Hamas leaders’ homes, ordering families out before bombing runs were made. As well, Hamas radio stations have been hijacked by the IDF at times to broadcast warnings of impending bombings.

 

These efforts flatly contradict the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s rebuke to Israel that it is using “excessive force in Gaza”. When the most advanced air force in the world is attacking terror nests deliberately placed in the middle of civilian populations, and after 4 days of pinpoint bombing has only caused 80 civilian casualties, one should expect that a man of Ki-Moon’s stature would make more accurate and less propagandistic declarations.

 

In more than 500 IAF sorties, a total of 380 Arab fatalities and 1,800 injured to date have been tabulated by Hamas.

 

Pray for the Israeli pilots who need to make split second decisions where many lives could hang in the balance. Pray that God would give them the necessary accuracy, wisdom and discernment. Pray for the salvation of many Gazans (physically and spiritually) during this time of trail.

 

Hamas rocket fire

 

From Monday night to Tuesday night over 40 rockets have been targeted against Israeli cities and farms. There have also been four Israeli fatalities to date. Among them:

 

Late Monday night a mortar fired by Gazan Arabs killed an Israeli Druze Arab serving in the IDF, Master-Sergeant Lutfi Nasser ad-Din (age 38) from Dalyat al-Carmel near Haifa, and wounded 4 others near Kibbutz Nahal Oz, adjoining the Gaza Strip.

 

At 9.00 pm Monday night a Grad rocket fired by Hamas killed Irit Shitrit, age 39 and mother of 4 children. She was returning home from a workout at a local fitness center in Ashdod when the rocket struck her and her sister Ayelet.

 

Hamas increased the range of rockets fired on Tuesday, hitting the towns of Ofakim, Netivot and Yavne (41 kilometers from Gaza), as well as near the cities of Kiryat Malachi and Rahat (Rahat is Israel’s largest Bedouin Arab town with a population of more than 40,000).

 

At 8:56 pm air raid sirens wailed in our own community of Omer adjoining Beersheva, and we heard two explosions. Hamas shot two Grad rockets toward Beersheva, Israel’s sixth largest city. One landed in an open field and the other struck an empty kindergarten, causing devastation and fire. Fifty five civilians were hospitalized for shock. All schools are closed today in Beersheva (43,000 children) as well as in 91 other kibbutzim and regional farms in the Negev.

 

Nearly 200 rockets have been fired by Hamas to date.

 

World media continues to stress that fewer Israelis are being wounded or killed than Gazans, as if this were not a war but a macabre chess game. Would it be fair to ask if too few British or American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as they battle al Qa’eda? Such questions are disgusting, and only give succor to the enemy.

 

Pray for Gaza‘s leadership – that God would frustrate their plans, operations and strategies (Psalm 83:4, 9-15)

 

We thank God for the protection He has granted so far to Israelis, and we strongly encourage you to keep praying for continued safety! Pray for Yeshua to reveal Himself to many Israelis through these trials.

 

Other news

 

Over 100 trucks carrying humanitarian aid (food and medical supplies) were allowed into Gaza by Israel, much of the aid coming from Jordan and Turkey. Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan accused Israel of crimes against humanity, while an Israeli flag was publically burned in Jordan’s Parliament session.

 

In Iraq one hundred Sunnis demonstrated against Israel, but the demonstration was interrupted by a suicide bomber on a bicycle who blew himself up, killing and wounding many.

 

Over 300 Israeli Arabs have been arrested for rioting against the war. Approximately 170 are still in custody. Most of these demonstrations have been in Jerusalem (93 arrested) and in the North.

 

Top Saudi and Taliban Islamic clerics have called for world jihad and indiscriminate international attacks against Israelis and Jews. Mass demonstrations against Israel occurred in Beirut, Amman, Cairo and Teheran. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanese Hizbollah, addressed Beirut crowds from an undisclosed location. He has only been seen once in public since the Lebanese war of August 2006, fearful of an Israeli assassination attempt. He called for the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who sees Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood as his own mortal enemies. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said that Hizbollah want “for there to be chaos in Egypt as there is in their country”. Gamal Abdel Gawad, head of the international relations unit of Egypt’s Al-Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies, said that “the Palestinian cuase is a major bribe used by the radicals to legitimate their aims and further Iranian hegemony in the Middle East”

 

A vessel charted by the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement attempted to run a blockade of Gaza, and was turned back by an Israeli missile boat. Al Jazeera and CNN reporters were on board, as well as Sami El-Haj, a former detainee at Guantanamo and ex-Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (Georgia, 2008 Green Party candidate).

 

Israeli children in Ashkelon are studying in bomb shelters.

 

Boots on the ground?

 

Israeli tanks, artillery batteries, infantry and special forces continue to mass at the edge of Gaza. Navy ships are hovering just off shore in the blue Mediterranean waters. After the Beersheva rocket attacks, another additional raft of 2,500 reservists was authorized, bringing the total to 9,200 (apart from regular standing armed forces).

 

Hamas has at least 2,000 rockets in hiding including long-range Grads, and advanced anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles. A former Palestinian Authority security official estimates that Hams’ I zed-Din al-Qassam terror wing has over 20,000 rockets and mortars stored, as well as tens of thousands of tons of explosives. The bulk of Hamas trained army fighters (15,000) is intact, as well as the top commanders and underground command and control bunkers. Rockets are still being fired. The need to remove this threat to Israel’s population is even more pressing than ever before. The Israeli security establishment does not feel that Hamas has yet sustained a long-term strategic blow.

 

The mood on the street is very positive about dealing Hamas a decisive death-blow. Late Tuesday night a rumor surfaced (quickly denied by the IDF) that the Israeli Minister of Defense was examining the possibility of a 48 hour cease-fire. Hamas quickly refused any such suggestion, insisting that Israel pull back and refrain from attacking Hamas; that the borders with Egypt be opened for greater smuggling of weapons; and that Hamas would hold onto its rocket arsenal for use as and when it sees fit.

 

On Monday Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced, “Unless the criminal fire at Israeli citizens stops immediately, Israel will utilize all the legal means at its disposal in order to halt the enemy’s aggression”. These words convey a meaning that all Israelis understand. A ground operation is only a short matter of time.

 

Tuesday night the heads of security, defense and government met in a closed door session. Decisions were taken as to the next steps, but there is a total media blackout on their decisions.

 

Pray for the leadership of Israel who are even now making monumental decisions regarding the upcoming ground operation – that God will grant them His strategies, wisdom, courage and discernment (2 Kings 6:8-12)

 

Other prayer requests

 

Ø  Pray for the Israeli special forces, infantry, tanks and artillery who will be involved in the fighting. Ask God to send angelic warriors to stand with them, to protect them and to grant them victory (Judges 5:20)

Ø  Pray especially for the believing soldiers who will be participating in these battles (Galatians 6:16)

Ø  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the salvation of the Jewish people (Psalm 122:6; Romans 10:1)

Ø  Pray for the struggling tiny community of believers in Gaza, some who have been tortured or martyred by Islamists in recent days

Ø  Pray for the Jewish believers in the Negev area bordering on Gaza, some who contend with daily rocket attacks

 

FINAL FRONTIER MINISTRIES  

BOX 121971 NASHVILLE TN  37212-1971 USA

 

written by Avner Boskey www.davidstent.org

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