News Digest — 5/12/21
1 Dead from Anti-Tank Missile Fired From Hamas
One person was killed and two injured when an anti-tank missile fired by Hamas struck their vehicle near the northern part of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday (12th). A third man, 56, was identified later. He is listed in light-to-moderate condition.
The victims were evacuated under fire, Ynet reports. The man who rescued them told the website that he heard an explosion and saw a mushroom cloud. He immediately went to help. “The vehicle was on fire, it was really hot. I rescued them one by one. All I thought about was saving them. A tough incident, it happened at the entrance to the agricultural area,” he said.
Hamas’ military wing took responsibility for the attack. Israel responded with tank fire toward the area where the missile originated and Israeli Air Force planes attacked.
Netanyahu Declares ‘State Of Emergency’ In Lod As Violent Arab Mobs Torch City And Threaten Jews
Violent Arab rioters torched portions of the Israeli city of Lod while threatening Jewish residents late Tuesday (11th) into early Wednesday morning (12th).
Israel’s Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said, “We have never seen clashes like these between Jews and Arabs as we are seeing now.”
It was reported that Arab rioters were firing at Israeli forces with automatic weapons.
Israel’s Channel 20 interviewed eyewitnesses, including former Israeli lawmaker Amit Halevy, who called what he saw in Lod nothing short of “war.”
According to Halevy, there were not nearly enough police, and Arab gangs tried to break into Jewish houses. He called for the army to be sent in.
According to one of Channel 20’s reporters, Jews were taking down mezuzahs from their doors to avoid being attacked.
Halevy called for the city to be blocked off after his car was almost hit with Molotov cocktails, as Arabs set fire to cars and stores throughout the city.
Arabs launched the rioting late Tuesday night (11th) after even more violent protests the previous night during which “Muslim mobs attacked Jewish targets” in Lod “in an apparent show of solidarity with Hamas in the Gaza Strip, leaving behind scenes reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s Kristallnacht in the 1930s,” TPS reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a “state of emergency” in Lod and instructed security forces to respond harshly to those who violently protest and threaten public security.
“We will not tolerate this; we need to restore calm,” Netanyahu said during a Wednesday (12th) pre-dawn visit to Lod. “If this isn’t an emergency situation, I don’t know what is. We are talking about life and death here.”
Palestinian Terror Groups ‘Will Pay A Very Heavy Price,’ Says Netanyahu
In a joint address late Tuesday evening (11th), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz told citizens that terror groups in the Gaza Strip will pay a heavy price for the rocket fire that started on Monday (10th), Jerusalem Day.
“We are in the midst of a major campaign – ‘Operation Guardian of the Walls.’ Yesterday and today, the Israel Defense Forces attacked hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. We have eliminated dozens of terrorists, including senior commanders,” said Netanyahu. “We have bombed Hamas command centers and toppled buildings that serve the terrorist organizations. We will continue to attack with force.”
The prime minister said he has finished consultations with heads of the security establishment, and that Hamas and Islamic Jihad “have paid and will pay a very heavy price for their aggression.
“Citizens of Israel, we stand united against a reprehensible enemy. We all grieve for those who have been killed. We all pray for the well-being of the wounded. We all stand behind the IDF and security forces.”
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the IDF still has “a great many targets in the pipeline,” and that the Gaza terror groups “have been severely hit and will continue to be hit due to their reckless decision to fire at Israel.”
The defense minister also urged unity and calm, assuring that the IDF protects Jews and Arabs, and warned against violence after riots in Israeli-Arab communities.
“We will restore quiet and security for the long term,” he vowed.
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi also addressed the country, reporting that the military had hit more than 500 targets in Gaza in the past two days, killing dozens of terror operatives.
“We are determined to strike terror groups in the most serious way possible,” he said.
The joint appearance by Israel’s leaders came after an unprecedented barrage of rockets fired on the Tel Aviv region on Tuesday evening (11th).
Hamas, which claimed that it fired 130-plus rockets on central Israel on Tuesday night (11th), said that it has set a “new balance of power” with Israel.
“We have achieved victory in the battle for Jerusalem – in defense of Jerusalem,” said Hamas senior leader Ismail Haniyeh.
Official: Israel Not Ready For A Ceasefire
Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi spoke with the US Secretary of State, Anthony J. Blinken on Tuesday (11th).
Ashkenazi emphasized that “Israel has the right to defend its sovereignty and will not allow attempts to hurt its citizens.” He said Israel will continue to use a heavy hand against Hamas terrorists.
“Hamas chose the path of terrorism and shot hundreds of rockets at civilian populations in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and the center of Israel and its south, hurting dozens of innocent people and killing five,” he added.
Ashkenazi thanked Blinken for US support for Israel’s right to defend itself. He also called on the international community to condemn Hamas terrorism and the rocket fire from Gaza, rather than give a prize to terrorism.
“Israel will not negotiate a ceasefire before Hamas pays a price for its attacks,” an unidentified senior Israeli official said on Tuesday (11th).
“Hamas fired a bunch of rockets, and then of course they want a ceasefire, that’s perfect for them – they don’t have to pay a price for firing on Jerusalem and launching 500 other rockets at Israel,” the official said.
“There will be a ceasefire when we’re ready for it,” he added.
The official would neither confirm nor deny a report on TV news media that Israel declined an Egyptian offer to negotiate a ceasefire, nor that Egypt put forward an offer at all.
WJC: ‘During This Difficult Hour, We Stand With The People Of Israel’
“Hamas has once again demonstrated to the world that it will never accept the existence of a Jewish state,” the World Jewish Congress (WJC) said in a response to the hundreds of rockets from Gaza that terrorist groups launched at Israel in the last two days.
“Terror groups in Gaza have fired several hundred rockets into Israel within 24 hours. Hamas has time and time again demonstrated its unwillingness to accept the existence of a Jewish State in any borders at all,” said the WJC.
“During this difficult hour, we stand with the people of Israel,” it added.
In a statement, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder condemned Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israel.
“World Jewry and decent people everywhere deplore this latest senseless escalation of violence with renewed rocket attacks on Israel,” he said.
He continued, “Hamas has time and again demonstrated its wanton disregard for human life and its unwillingness to accept the existence of a Jewish State in any borders at all. Under these circumstances, Israel has no choice but to respond with the force necessary to protect its citizens and put a stop to this threat.”
WJC is the representative body of over 100 Jewish communities worldwide.
1 Killed As Hamas Launches Over 130 Rockets At Tel Aviv
Red alert sirens sounded in central Israel Tuesday evening (11th) as Hamas appeared to make good on its threat to launch rockets at Tel Aviv.
Earlier, the terrorist organization stated: “If Israel continues to bomb residential buildings in Gaza – the next barrage will be in the direction of Tel Aviv.”
Sirens were heard in Tel Aviv, Rishon Lezion, and other cities along Israel’s coast shortly before 9 p.m.
A house was struck by a rocket in Holon. A bus was also struck in Holon by a rocket, injuring 18 people, including the bus driver, critically. A woman was also killed in Rishon Lezion in the rocket barrage.
Also another three people were injured by rocket fire near Tel Aviv, including a five-year-old girl, Magen David Adom reported. All three suffered moderate injuries.
Ben Gurion Airport was temporarily shut down in response to the attacks.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad have launched over 850 rockets at Israel since Monday (10th). The IDF has retaliated by targeting terrorist operatives and leaders, including intense bombing of infrastructure in Gaza.