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

 

Ø  The IDF tightens its grip on Hamas leadership in Gaza City and Jabalya

Ø  Over 100 Hamas terrorists killed, and more than 100 taken prisoner

Ø  More than 50 Hamas Katyusha rocket attacks continue against coastal and Negev cities

 

Background to the present hostilities

 

Hamas or ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement’ (for deeper background see newsletters February 2006, June 2007 at www.davidstent.org, 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.

 

On December 19 2008 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 Israel Air Force jets attacked Hamas forces in Gaza, finally responding to years of Hamas rocket attacks. On January 3 2009 a land invasion of Gaza was initiated.

 

Root canal operations

 

On Sunday the IDF focused on three goals: destruction of Hamas’ terror infrastructure (weapons caches, rockets and rocket launcher pads); killing Hamas gunmen; and taking prisoners (for on-site intelligence in real time and in preparation for a prisoner exchange). Minister of Defense Ehud Barak stated that the aim of the operation “is simple. No terror activity from Gaza, either against civilians or against our soldiers; a dramatic change in weapons smuggling, and quiet in the South”.

 

Over 100 Hamas terrorist have been killed. Over 100 have been taken prisoner and are undergoing questioning in Israel.

 

Heavy fighting is occurring in Gaza’s North (Beit Hanun, Beit Lahiya) and Center (Al-Bureij).  IDF troops are engaged in dismantling booby-trapped house and roads, wiping out sniper nests, blowing up rocket launchers and pads, eliminating Hamas gunmen and taking prisoners. Hidden weapons caches are being discovered in mosques, public institutions and private homes, according to Major-General Military Intelligence Amos Yadlin. There is also strong intelligence that the Hamas High Command is hiding in bunkers dug beneath Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital. These same tactics were used by the PLO in Lebanon in the 1970’s and ’80’s, by Fatah forces in the West Bank, and by al Qa’eda in Iraq.

 

A Hamas spokesman boasted on Monday that they were fighting the IDF using tens of thousands of American rifles, heavy machine guns, night-vision goggles and bulletproof vests – equipment seized from the Palestinian Authority when Hamas staged a violent coup in June 2007. Then the PA collapsed as quickly as did the Shah’s Iran in January 1979, leaving much American ordnance to fall into the hands of the U.S.’s (and Israel’s) sworn enemies.

 

IAF planes hit 40 targets Monday, while Navy gunships hit bunkers full of Grad katyusha rockets.

 

Ø   Pray for the Israeli Special Forces, infantry, tanks, artillery and engineers who are 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 close to 50 believing Messianic soldiers participating in these battles (Galatians 6:16). Ask God to strengthen them, grant them victory, and strengthen their families with His power, love and confidence.

 

On Sunday night Hamas forces attempted to kidnap an Israeli Golani Brigade soldier, luring him into a tunnel where he cornered a group of gunmen and engaged them in a firefight. He was rescued by his brothers in arms.

 

Ø  Pray that Hamas’ demonic threat to kidnap IDF soldiers will be totally thwarted by divine revelation (2 Kings 6:8-12).

 

Hamas rockets and  declarations

 

Hamas continued to rocket Israeli Negev cities and farms on Monday, firing off more than 50 Grad and Qassam rockets against Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheva, Sderot, Netivot and Ofakim. The Israel Ministry of Health said that up to this point in Operation Cast Lead, 128 Israelis have been wounded (4 seriously and 6 moderately) and 661 have been treated for shock. Four Israelis have been killed.

 

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).

 

Of the more than 300 rockets fired by Hamas since the start of Operation Cast Lead, 220 (73%) were fired from areas in Gaza now under IDF control.

 

According to Hamas sources which are not currently verifiable, fatalities in Gaza are somewhere between 500 and 555, while wounded are between 2,200 and 2,500.

 

Hundreds of Palestinians are fleeing the al-Atattra and Beit Lahiya areas and moving toward central Jabalya. Gaza is seeing its infrastructure go through various stages of collapse, as electricity, sewage and water services are down or sporadic. Cesspools in the streets bear mute witness to the very real spiritual sewage that Hamas has brought to the inhabitants of Gaza.

 

Ø   Pray for the inhabitants of Gaza who have chosen to put their trust in Hamas – that God would rescue them from evil leadership and bring physical rescue and deliverance to many.

 

The IDF has continued to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza throughout the conflict, though Hamas has perversely shelled these very border crossings. Over the past few years it has shot and murdered Israeli truck drivers bringing in fuel supplies, as well as Jewish electricity workers repairing power lines bringing Israeli electricity into Gaza.

 

Hamas is threatening to fire longer-range Grad rockets which conceivably could reach Israeli cities like Rishon LeZion and Rehovot, potentially bringing another 333,700 Israelis within rocket fire range.

 

Hamas senior leader Dr. Mahmoud al-Zahar stated on Monday that “the problem is not the rockets, but the (ed. Israeli) occupation”. Hamas spokesman Moussa Abu Marzouk said that Hamas would rather continue to fight Israel than accept a blockade of its borders with Egypt. All of Hamas’ weapons, rockets and cash come through that border, and Hamas would not be able to attack Israel if that border were properly sealed and administrated. Hamas believes that international pressure will force Israel to stand down its operations, leaving Hamas with rockets to spare, and an open border through which to restock and prepare for the next round of terror attacks.

 

Ø   Pray that the terror strategies of Hamas will be thwarted; that weapons smuggling through the tunnels will be totally shut down; and that righteousness will prevail over the entire Philadelphi Corridor between Egypt and Gaza.

 

Responses to invasion

 

Islamic Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan declared on Monday that “Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents”. He added that Israel’s actions would “lead to its destruction”.

 

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem declared that the international community “must judge those responsible (ed., Israel) for the war crimes”. Such language is unseemly, coming from a leadership which, on February 2 1982, bombed, shelled and gassed 25,000 residents of Hama, Syria, killing most of them – in order to also destroy a small number of Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas-related) activists who were hiding among the city’s residents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hama_massacre).

 

On Monday Egyptian secret police arrested and jailed 50 members of the Hamas-related Muslim Brotherhood who wanted to protest against Egypt’s handling of the Gaza situation.

 

Huge demonstrations took place against Israel in Istanbul (700,000), Rabat, Morocco (40,000), Montreal (5,000), Athens (4,000), Beirut, Melbourne and Sydney. US and Israeli flags were burned at these demonstrations, as were effigies of President Bush and President-elect Obama (Athens), while in Rabat shoes were thrown in honor of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush (a deeply insulting and highly offensive gesture in the Arab world).

 

Cease- fire?

 

Israeli military strategists understand that the world nearly never protests when Jews are killed, but immediately becomes livid if Jews fight back and defeat their mortal enemies. The paradigm of Jews as victims seems to be more acceptable than Jews as victors. Ever since Israel “refused to lay down and die when its’ door was kicked in” (as Bob Dylan sings in “Neighborhood Bully”) in June 1967 during the Six Day War, the world has replaced anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, and has happily justified Islamic and secular hatred of the Jewish state.

 

Israel fights its wars knowing that a window of only one to two weeks exists, before the UN and other international bodies will threaten Israel into backing down from decisively destroying clear and present threats to its survival as a nation. As the European Union, Russia, Britain, France and the United States begin to exert pressure for a cease-fire – one which may leave Hamas in power, possessing its rockets and weapons, and with an open door to smuggle in an endless supply of weaponry –

 

Ø  Pray that a cease-fire will not come to pass which will preserve Hamas’ organizational ability to damage Israel ever again (Isaiah 8:9-10).

 

Saddam Hussein roams the streets of Gaza

 

US forces entering Iraq on March 19 2003 in Operation Iraqi Freedom were surprised at the low level of resistance encountered. It took military brass some time to understand that Saddam had given his Republican Army orders to fade into the woodwork and prepare for a drawn-out campaign of low-intensity urban conflict – guerilla warfare in the alleys of Iraq. It could be that Hamas is trying to duplicate this same strategy in Gaza.

 

Ø  We ask you to pray for the military leadership of the IDF regarding the decisions they are making concerning the 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).

***written by Avner Boskey – www.davidstent.org

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