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

Note breaking news at bottom regarding the start of an artillery barrage


Ø  30 Hamas Katyusha attacks continue against Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beersheva.

Ø  The IAF successfully targeted Hamas leaders, smuggling tunnels

Ø  Ground operation preparations are complete.


Background to the present hostilities


Hamas or ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’ (for deeper background see newsletters February 2006, June 2007 at, under “words”) is linked with the Muslim Brotherhood, a world jihadi group ideologically connected to Osama Bin Laden.  Hamas has fired over 10,000 rockets and mortars against civilian targets in Israel over the past 8 years. Sporadic firing of rockets against Israel continued during a recent temporary “cessation of hostilities”, and that season was used by Hamas to build up forces and weaponry in preparation for the present continued attacks on Israel.


Two weeks ago Hamas refused to extend even that partial cease-fire and began intensive rocketing Israeli kibbutzim, towns and cities on the average of 40-50 attacks a day. On Saturday December 27 at 11:30 am Israel Air Force jets attacked Hamas forces in Gaza, finally responding to years of Hamas rocket attacks.


Continuing Hamas rocketing of Negev cities


Hamas fired 30 rockets on civilian targets on Friday, focusing on Beersheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon. There were no Israeli fatalities, and only a handful of people were injured, though many are suffering from shock.


Ø  We thank the God of Israel that He is granting an amazing measure of protection to His people (see Leviticus 26:8; 1 Samuel 18:7; Psalm 91:7) and encourage you to pray for the safety and peace of Jerusalem and the salvation of the Jewish people (Psalm 122:6; Romans 10:1).


IAF attacks


More than 750 targets have been destroyed to date in IAF sorties. According to Hamas sources, there have been approximately 450 Arab fatalities and over 2,200 with various injuries to date. U.N. sources said that more than 60 fatalities were civilians. Certainly Hamas has many civilians who live beside or on top of Hamas facilities, ammo dumps and command-and-control (C3) centers. They are for all intents and purposes Hamas’ human shields.


IAF successfully targeted Hamas military leaders senior commanders Abu Zakaria al-Jamal and the home of Imad Akel, Isma’il Ghanem (supervisor of Grad attacks in Bet Lahiya area), Izz ad-Din Haddad (Hamas commander in Gaza’s eastern sector), Muhammad Madhoun and Muhammad Ma’tuk (Jabalya). Approximately 25 targets were struck on Friday, including a control tower at Dahaniya Airport beneath which were ammunition depots, weapons stores and labs, rocket squads launching rockets, etc.


The IAF dropped Arabic leaflets urging residents to keep far away from Hamas C3 centers and weapons depots. Israeli military intelligence continued to warn residents by phone prior to air strikes.


Ø  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 trial.


Background on Imad Akal


Senior commander Imad Akel, whose house was targeted yesterday by the IAF, has long been involved in terror – even against fellow Palestinians. On October 7 2002 he led a team of Hamas operatives camouflaged as Palestinian Authority (PA) police officers, and hijacked Colonel Rajeh Abu Lehiya, head of then Yasir Arafat’s PA riot police. Ikal oversaw the torture of Abu Lehiya, which included him being shot 20 times in the arms, legs and torso. His body was then dumped on a Gaza street, after which Ikal went off to a public celebration at a local market.


Other developments


Limited violent confrontation occurred on Salah ad-Din Street in East Jerusalem and in Bet Safafa, with stone throwing inArab Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sur Baher, Shuafat, Ras al-Amud and Wadi Joz. The Border Patrol groups there were amazed that the confrontation did not explode, and at one point 500 hostile demonstrators ended up dispersing without violence. Thanks for your prayers!


An Islamist group based in Morocco hijacked many Israeli websites yesterday, including Bank Discount and ynetnews. Arabic jihadi music, pictures of US soldiers at Abu Ghreib prison and anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox Jews were briefly posted on the website.


Pray for the Israeli Arab believers and their communities – that they would choose to bless and not curse the Jewish people and state (Genesis 12:3; Psalm 120:5-6).


Ground invasion imminent


Though the IAF air attacks have been comprehensive, Army Intelligence (AMAN) believes that the military forces of Hamas are still untouched. Hamas is anticipating an Israeli land-based incursion, convinced that they will be able to inflict heavy casualties on the IDF. Roadside IEDs (improvised explosive devices), huge explosives concealed under newly paved roads, anti-tank and shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles would certainly await the IDF.


General consensus is that only a land incursion will sufficiently weaken Hamas’ ability to rebuild and utilize its rocket forces.


Ø  We ask you to pray for the military leadership of the IDF regarding the decisions they are making concerning the upcoming ground operation – that God will grant them His strategies, wisdom, courage and discernment, as He did to the prophets and armies of Israel in Elisha’s day (2 Kings 6:8-12).


Breaking news


As of 4:44 pm Saturday, January 03, 2009 IDF artillery started to shell targets in the northern Gaza Strip. This is probably the beginning of a land incursion, to be followed by a lightning insertion of Special Forces and ground troops.


Ø   Pray for the Israeli Special Forces, infantry, tanks and artillery who would 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 would be participating in these battles (Galatians 6:16). Ask God to strengthen their families with His power and sovereign love.



BOX 121971 NASHVILLE TN  37212-1971 USA


written by Avner Boskey