Israeli F-16s are carrying out a series of air-raids in Gaza City. Residents report huge explosions, one near the seaport that caused the ground to roll.
Residential areas are also under attack. Raed Qaddura, father of a newborn baby, reported that all his dishes and glasses were broken in the first strikes, and another strike was happening as we spoke.
It appears that the main targets are training fields of the Al Qassam brigades.
Updates to follow.
UPDATE: 5 injuries have now been reported, four children and one woman
Israeli navy is also firing on Palestinian fishing boats at sea
The premeditated murder of Al Qassam Commander Ahmad Al Jaabari and his bodyguard Mohammad Al-Hams should be abhorred by anyone with any pretension to the Rule of Law, self-determination, and human rights.
This criminal act against individuals who have done nothing but exercise their and their country’s legitimate right to resist its illegal occupation by a rogue state should be condemned by every nation and organisation with any interest in upholding human rights and international law.
Today’s extra-judicial assassinations are not only a travesty of justice, but also a blatant attempt to provoke Gaza into a response to justify a full-out Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip, and Hamas in particular.
Israel has gone too far. They have exceeded even their own lowest depths of depravity, and will undoubtedly pay a heavy price.
History will be the judge, and the evidence is there for all to see – Israel, and Israel alone, is the intellectual and material author of whatever carnage follows this latest butchery, and bears total responsibility.
Every country that stands by and enables it to continue, will stand equally condemned.
Al Qassam Brigades to Israeli Occupation … Your Crime will not go without a response
The Israeli Occupation Forces continue its crimes against our Palestinian people, keep killing civilians and initiating aggression, to blow up the situation and export its interior crises.
Intensifying incursions, shelling and aggression as what has happened in north of Beit Hanoun city this morning, will not put pressure on us.
Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades emphasize that this crime will not go without a response.
Ezzeddeen Al-Qassam Brigades
October 22nd, 2012
Expert in Israeli affairs Dr Adnan Abu Amer said at a press conference in Gaza City today that 100 days out from their elections, Israel is again beating the drums of war. With the prospect of US support for a strike against Iran fading fast, Netanyahu is turning his attention to Gaza in a bid to whip up an excuse for a display of strength, and the resulting votes, particularly from the southern settlements.
At the event held at the Government Media Office, Dr Abu Amer noted the increased presence and duration of the activity of Israeli forces on the Gaza borders, in military exercises that normally last four days to a week but which now persist.
Observing that the Israeli government needs something to increase its popularity with voters, he predicted they will resort to their traditional strategy of spilling Palestinian blood in the name of security.
While Syria, Lebanon and Iran have taken up much of Israel’s attention in recent months, muddying the waters in anticipating a possible Gaza strike, the latest attacks on Al Jihad and Al Qassam could well impact on the Israeli/Palestinian equation, he said.
He mentioned Israeli involvement in the Syrian situation, whereby Israel played a secret role when the internal civilian struggle first began, thus guaranteeing that what it wants from Syria is already happening without costing it anything. This has been followed by the second issue on the Israeli agenda, Lebanon, with the assassination of the Lebanese police intelligence chief two days ago – which many have attributed to Israel because of the meticulousness with which the operation was carried out, suggesting the involvement of highly professional state security services.
Abu Amer suggested that Israel may target one of the Al Qassam leaders to provide the justification it needs to start its war against Gaza.
“ Israeli F16 warplanes have not left the Gaza skies for days, and what they are up to we do not know,” he said.
A surprise attack on Gaza would be the “least expensive option” for Israel both economically and politically, but a land-based military operation is unlikely given the proximity of the southern settlements to Gaza, he considers.
A lightning-strike air offensive would be cheaper, more effective, and avoid dragging the country into a prolonged war during the electoral process. It would also serve the double purpose of creating heroes out of the air force, and of Netanyahu, who would be perceived by voters, especially in the southern settlements, as the emperor of security.
Dr Adnan Abu Amer noted the need for the Palestinian resistance factions to form a united operations team to be ready for any escalation of the situation, and to counter the inevitable asymmetrical warfare whereby Israel mobilises excuses and reasons to market in the external media, thus win over world public opinion against the Palestinians.
“Palestinians have several options to take a united stance to ensure Gaza is not left up for grabs by the hands of the occupation by a busy world which considers other regional issues more important,” he concluded.
Translation: Fatma Al Hasham