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Israel bombs Gaza following attacks in south, rockets fall in Israeli towns

Eight Israeli civilians and soldiers were killed on Thursday and several scores were injured in a series of incidents in the south of Israel, several Palestinians were killed from IDF bombing in the Gaza Strip. Seven of the attackers were also killed after firefights. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said attacks “originated” in Gaza via Sinai, and Israel will respond with full force. J14 weekend rallies cancelled, “silent march” to be held instead.

The spate of attacks began at noon Israeli time, when a group of gunmen ambushed a public transport bus carrying passengers from Beer Sheva to the southern resort of Eilat, spraying it with automatic fire and wounding ten. The gunmen then drove off, and soon after another civilian bus and a private vehicle were attacked with gunfire and at least one anti-tank missile, killing four civilians. Another Israeli man was killed when his vehicle was attacked; his wife survived. Israeli media reported in the afternoon the same group carried out both attacks, some 30 kilometres apart. It was reported off-duty soldiers traveling in at least one of the buses returned fire at the gunmen, either killing them or driving them off.

This post was updated. Last update on Friday, 2.15 PM local.

Around the same time, an IDF patrol on the Israel-Egypt border was targeted by a number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and mortar fire. At least one soldier was killed and several more were wounded. There were also reports of an explosion on the Gaza-Egypt border.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak said after an emergency meeting with the IDF top brass the attacks “originated” in Gaza. He said this action “must carry a price tag”, and that the IDF will prepare in the coming hours to respond “with full force.” At least seven of the attackers were killed, the army said, but it was unclear how many more remained at large. reports in Israeli media claimed that at least 15 gunmen were involved in the attacks on civilian and IDF vehicles.

Although it is thought the attackers have crossed into Israel from Sinai, and despite Barak’s assertion, no Palestinian or international organisation claimed responsibility for the assault so far (Thursday, 4pm Israeli time). Ma’ariv reported a warning was received from Jordan of an imminent attack just minutes before the first incident took place.

17:15: In a move initiated by the National Union of Students, the J14 social justice rallies scheduled for the weekend were called off. The NUS said this was done in solidarity with the victims and their families.

20:00 Israel Air Force bombed Gaza two hours ago, killing at least 6 people, including alleged members of the Popular Resistance Committees. The PRC is currently blamed by Israel for the attacks. Hamas denied responsibility or involvement in the attacks. An hour ago, another skirmish took place between Israeli soldiers and a militant group near the Gaza border, leaving one Israeli soldier critically wounded dead.

Friday noon: Throughout the night and the morning rockets have been fired from Gaza to Israeli towns. At least two people were injured in Ashdod.

Friday, 2pm: Palestinians are reporting 7 dead in Gaza, including a 13 years-old boy. There is also a report on a 2 years-old baby killed.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. BOOZ

      May I ask in this particular case what the term “militant” in the heading of the article stand for?

      Most disingenuous, IMHO.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      Barak (after hearing of the attacks): YES! It was getting real boring around here with all that J14 bullshit!
      Bibi: Phew! I was wondering when we would get another attack! Thank you Hamas!

      Reply to Comment
    3. Koshiro

      Savvy is depressing sometimes. I had read about the bus attack earlier. When I saw you writing about it, I thought I’d point out that the Israeli response would probably be to bomb Gaza just for the heck of it, even though the attackers came from Egypt and have no proven connection to Gaza whatsoever. But good ol’ Ehud already had it covered.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Mitchell Cohen

      @Danny, you could have at least waited 24 hours to post such a cynical remark. Shame on you!!!!

      Reply to Comment
    5. Deïr Yassin

      Two birds with one stone: the coming UN vote on a Palestinian state and the J14.
      The Real News/Lia Tarachansky, august 11, min: 7:45:
      “Many are speculating in Israel that the PM will attempt to squash the growing movement by starting a military assault on Gaza.
      Last week Israeli airplanes bombed many targets in the strip, on Thursday night an Israeli army bulldozer damaged communication cables and cut all phone and internet networks in Gaza”
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N5p6gOkRiY

      Reply to Comment
    6. Deïr Yassin

      Ehud Barak:
      “The real source of the terror is Gaza and we will act against them with force and determination”
      Hamas’ spokesman, Taher Al-Nunu, denies the accusations of Hamas being behind the attack, and states:
      “These accusations are an attempt to distract from the Israeli domestic crisis”
      http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=17047

      Reply to Comment
    7. Danny

      @MITCHELL COHEN:
      You know I’m right. I’m not being cynical – I actually believe that both of these scoundrels are in their elements now that terror is back in the headlines and J14 is relegated to the back pages. Especially Barak, who couldn’t care any less about the tent dwellers than he already does. Now he’s back in the news, and you know he’s loving every minute of it! Sorry if I sound cynical, but Israel is a place where cynicism and reality meld together.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Mitchell Cohen

      @Danny,

      The blood hasn’t even dried yet of the murdered and all you can do is speculate to what supposedly Barak is thinking. I still say shame on you!!!!

      Reply to Comment
    9. Taoist

      How sad, really. There we go again, on yet another spiral of violence. As long as any Israeli government, not only the current one, remained tied up to the settlers, letting no space whatsoever for a negotiated solution, violence will burst out spasmodically, leaving in its wake more hatred and less willingness to work for a comprehensive peace.

      An eye for an eye will make us all blind.

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    10. Deïr Yassin

      @ Mitchell
      If Dimi put up a post on this attack, do you think it’s to pay our condolances ?
      I read somewhere there were children among the killed: if this is the case I’m truly sorry and condone it strongly.
      According to Maan, already 6 has been killed in Gaza. It was 2 killed only a couple of minutes ago, so Israel didn’t wait long to strike, did they ?
      http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=414215
      I do agree with Danny. This attack – whoever did it – was a dream scenario for Barak Ltd.

      Didn’t Chomsky say something about “Israel’s only response to the sound of silence is the sound of boots” ?

      Reply to Comment
    11. david shalev

      Arab political culture is INHERENTLY violent. See Syria, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda and many other groups. Now someone will tell me I’m being politically incorrect.
      There can be absolutely no peace between Arabs and Jews until Arab political culture changes.
      I would venture to say that peace making attempts such as OSLO have INCREASED the violence instead of diminishing it.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Danny

      @Mitchell,
      Don’t make me cry, please, with talk about blood drying and all. Every week dozens of people are killed on Israel’s roads and nobody sheds any tears. Going back to Barak and Bibi – just this week, one of their colleagues, a man who calls himself Boogie, said that national pride was more important than bilateral relations with a large, powerful Muslim country nine citizens of which were murdered by Israel in international waters. So please, spare me all the BOO HOO about cynicism and drying blood. Your own piece of shit of a government couldn’t care less about anybody’s drying blood, as long as their “national pride” remains intact.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Mitchell Cohen

      @Danny,

      This isn’t about making you cry. This is about common decency. Just like certain comments were considered taboo after the slaughter in Norway (a whole thread on this very site was dedicated to this very topic), out of respect, there are just certain comments that need not be said now out of courtesy for the murdered in this incident. And who says nobody sheds tears about people being killed on Israel’s roads? And please don’t get me started on the infamous Mami Mamara. I don’t want this thread to be taken off topic. Isn’t this your “piece of shit” government too? If I recall, you are an Israeli yourself.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Taoist

      @ DAVID SHALEV,

      There is an inescapable point of irony to your post, if your assertion about an entirely mix bag of peoples and cultures as “INHERENTLY” violent, is set against the recent experience of what the media calls the “Arab Spring.”

      Most of the Arab uprisings against dictators of all kinds, have been non-violent, with occasional outbursts, natural when thousands of people confront tyrannies. Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, etc.

      And the “holier than thou” attitude that permeates your post assumes Jews are a “civilized” culture leaving in a sea of barbarians. Your blindness re: the institutionalized violence and terror Israel perpetrates against the lives of Palestinians day after day, points to the root of your “superior” attitude.

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    15. Danny

      @Mitchell,
      No, this is NOT my government. I reject it completely and wish it nothing but failure. Then again, I also reject the opposition parties who, in my opinion, are in many ways worse than the government (especially the imposter party Kadima, whose head today – the daughter of two former senior terrorists – said the government should hit Gaza, insinuating that she wanted to see another Cast Lead, in which she is quite proud to have taken part).

      Reply to Comment
    16. Deir Yassin,

      “I read somewhere there were children among the killed: if this is the case I’m truly sorry and condone it strongly.”

      You meant “condemn it strongly”, correct?

      Reply to Comment
    17. Terrorist violence is always used to disrupt, to create a condition of chaos.

      But, the condition of chaos is what needs to be changed, so that people’s reason can drive policy and relationships, rather than fear and opportunist politicking invoking caution.

      The two right-wing movements dance together, validating each other, invalidating the kind, the respectful.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Deïr Yassin

      Yes, Witty. Of course, I strongly CONDAMN. My inner translator was off.
      There is NO, absolutely no justification of killing children, on both sides, be it with bombs, or bullets or knives.
      May God have mercy upon their souls.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Taoist

      @ RICHARD WITTY,

      You meant “condemn it strongly”, correct?

      —————————–

      Thanks for that correction. I was about to point it out the inherent contradiction in his sentence, between being apologetic and condone the action at the same time.

      Hopefully he will see it, and correct it himself.

      :-)

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    20. Sol Salbe

      This is one time, I would have been quite happy to see the word terrorist rather than militant in the headline. The other side use terrorism too often, at the drop of a hat. That doesn’t mean that we should never use it. Militants is not unacceptable but terrorists would have been the preferable word.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Deïr Yassin

      This time it was my inner spell-check: CONDEMN

      Reply to Comment
    22. Koshiro

      @ Mitchell Cohen
      “The blood hasn’t even dried yet of the murdered and all you can do is speculate to what supposedly Barak is thinking.”
      ————————————————
      I was going to tacitly agree, but the fact that Barak has already acted upon his announcement would make admonishing Danny a little disingenuous. Barak didn’t wait for the victims’ blood to dry either before he spilled more blood.
      It’s difficult to disagree with a cynicist if he’s correct.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Mitchell Cohen

      @Koshiro, I was talking about this cynical BS: “Barak (after hearing of the attacks): YES! It was getting real boring around here with all that J14 bullshit!”

      Reply to Comment
    24. Danny

      Barak is a simple-minded man with a primitive worldview. It doesn’t take much to understand his line of thinking. I was merely making a point that he is doubtless happy that he back in the headlines and that the media are all clamoring for his shitty opinions that, in a normal day, wouldn’t even get space in the back pages of a newspaper. But, of course, this is not a normal day, is it?

      Reply to Comment
    25. Y.

      ‘Militants’? Is that the best description Dimi can give? Oh, well, I never had any expectations from +972.
      .
      As for the comments, I won’t defend Barak (a man whom I despise for other reasons) from the ridiculous accusations, but I must point out the protests have not formed even a small threat to the current government as of yet. Just making sure you wouldn’t end up disappointed.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Palestinian

      I wonder who benefits from such attacks these days ? Who allowed the militants in ? dirty games

      Reply to Comment
    27. Sam Smith

      Both Hamas and the Israeli govt. benefit from such attacks: the govt. for the reasons outlined above (J14, UN bid), and Hamas because any Israeli response garners sympathy for Gaza while the organization is under intense pressure given its stance vis-a-vis the Assad regime.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Palestinian

      But nobody cares what Hamas says about Syria , I dont think they are under pressure concerning the Syrian protests.And who is gonna sympathize with Hamas after such attacks ?! If they got access to Eliat , why didnt they kill more people …!

      Reply to Comment
    29. miri

      Dimi, I’m also seriously bummed that you used the word “militant” — it’s so orwellian propaganda.

      Mitch, come on, Barak has proven himself ‘war criminal’ many times over (it didn’t take long for my ‘hopey-changey’ feeling for him to disappear many years ago).

      Hey, I’m worried for my friends who might be on holiday. And I AM always sorry when asymmetric warfare takes the lives of civilians — which seems to be most of the time. Nonetheless, what is the difference between these innocent lives, and the innocent, non-Jewish lives that are snuffed out, on a daily basis, by the IDF (whose kill ratio used to be 10:1, but has increased ten-fold over the last decade)? I can’t even turn on the news, today, because I know what I’ll find there…

      Reply to Comment
    30. Bosko

      @Deir Yassin – “Hamas’ spokesman, Taher Al-Nunu, denies the accusations of Hamas being behind the attack, and states”
      Yes, we have been there, done that, provoke, murder, terrorise then deny.
      Hamas: It wasn’t us. It was the pixies, no … The Martians … no, the hobgoblins did it … No … it didn’t happen at all …. Deny, deny, deny. Or blame others.

      Reply to Comment
    31. DeIr Yassin

      Hamas is apparently NOT involved in the attck. They say so themselves, and the Israeli State terrorists called the IDF (if Palestinian combattants are terrorists, let’s be fair to both sides) bombed a house belonging to a high-ranking member of the Popular Resistance Committee, Khaled Shaath, outbreakers from Fatah.
      I don’t know, maybe the 9 years old boy was a Hamas member though …
      Latest update: Khaled Shaath’s two years old son Malek died of his injuries . HE was surely a member of Hamas.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Sam Smith

      @Deir:
      Simple question: Is Hamas responsible or not for attacks against Israeli civilians coming out of Gaza?

      Reply to Comment
    33. Bosko

      @Deir Yassin – Yes, I agree. Once again all these deaths of innocents is Israel’s fault. The Palestinian Arabs have nothing to do with it. Most Palestinian Arabs don’t support terrorism against Israelis. Not much …

      Reply to Comment
    34. Sam Smith

      @Palestinian: Hamas is under pressure because it is in cahoots with the Assad regime – cozying up to a murderous dictator does not help one’s image. It will probably have to find a new country to host its HQ pretty soon.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Deïr Yassin

      @ Ya Sami
      I know one should never answer a question by another question, but I’ll do it anyhow:
      Is the State of Israel responsible or not for the setters attack on Palestinian civilian on a daily basis, including murder, or not ?

      @ Bosko
      Don’t waste your time. You’re on my private BDS-list.

      Reply to Comment
    36. Koshiro

      @ Sam Smith
      “Simple question: Is Hamas responsible or not for attacks against Israeli civilians coming out of Gaza?”
      a) Not necessarily.
      b) It’s thoroughly irrelevant in this case, considering that the attack took place hundreds of kilometers away from Gaza and the attackers quite obviously came from Egypt.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Sam Smith

      @Ya Deir:
      I think Israel is responsible. Not that this is sufficient, but the state did recently issue restraining orders against some of them. And, of course, those responsible for murder should be behind bars.
      I have nothing good to say about these racist fanatics and nothing justifies their actions. Unlike many other claims against Israel, lack of action in this area is inexcusable and more pressure for action is entirely appropriate.

      Reply to Comment
    38. Sam Smith

      Have to say I’m very happy that J14 decided to go ahead with marches this Saturday. We shouldn’t let Hamas/PRC/whoever is responsible for the attacks or the Bibi govt. hijack them for their purpose. Let’s hope today’s reaction closes the matter.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Danaa

      It is interesting that Barak et al were so quick to pin the attack on hamas. This could well be the work of salafi cells that Israei intelligence services are known to be supporting (under the radar of course, just as they did in the lebanon refugee camp). Where I draw the salafi connection is the mysterious call that originated in Jordan a short time before the attack. Remembering that it was Jordainian salafist who entered Gaza that was responsible for the murder of Vittorio Arrigone. That Jordanian infiltrator was, conveniently killed, of course, leaving behind a stooge, for hamas to interrogate in vein.

      It makes absolutely no sense for Hamas to originate this kind of an attack at this time. But if you look at the Qui Bono traces, the timing makes perfect sense for one particular party. The proof is in the pudding. Weren’t the tent rallies called off?

      I gather that 2 small children were killed in an unprovoked attack on Gazans earlier. I assume they will be mourned as much as other civilians killed in this incident?

      Reply to Comment
    40. Koshiro

      @ Sam Smith
      “And, of course, those responsible for murder should be behind bars.”
      ———————————————
      But they aren’t. Likewise, those responsible for theft and destruction of Palestinian property aren’t either. Neither are they forced to pay damages to the Palestinians.

      It’s nice to know that you think things *should* happen, but from the Palestinian perspective the only important thing is that they don’t happen. Ideals do not trump reality.

      Reply to Comment
    41. Bosko

      @Deir Yassin – “@ Bosko. Don’t waste your time”
      It’s kind of you to worry about my time but let me assure you that I am not wasting it. Pointing out pertinent facts is not a waste of my time.

      Hamas won the election, in 2006, with 74 seats to the ruling-Fatah’s 45, providing Hamas with the majority of the 132 available seats and the ability to form a majority government on their own. And it was no secret to Palestinian Arab voters that Hamas support terrorism. Need I say more?

      Reply to Comment
    42. Taoist

      @ DANAA

      Bingo!!

      Nothing more convenient for the “three amigos” Netanyahu/Barak/Lieberman, than a “terrorist” attack against Israeli civilians, at a point where the pressure cooker is getting too hot for their coalition.

      Fundamentally, the attack allows Israel, and his main backer, the US, to regain the strategic initiative on a field they both have secure footing: military retaliation against “terrorism.”

      In addition,

      1) It takes the focus off the PA’s September drive for UN recognition;

      2) It gives the Netanyahu’s clique a pretext to switch the forefront of the struggle from J14 to “security;”

      3) It provides them with a golden opportunity to appear before the world as “victims,” yet again, and switch the narrative in favor of Israel’s actions and oppressive policies against the Palestinians.

      For Israel, a diversionary attack was as necessary as it was for the US, given the diplomatic isolation both countries fear coming September. I have yet to see a reaction from the European Union, but their statements in the last few months have been highly critical of Israel’s policies, and distant from the lukewarm “criticism” of the US.

      The EU’s statements warned about the potential eruption of violence, given Netanyahu’s official policy of land theft in Jerusalem and the OT.

      We will have to wait and see how much mileage this gives to Israel’s governing gang in the near future.

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    43. Bosko

      So why do the Palestinian Arabs keep on doing this kind of Terrorism if it is so good for the Israeli ruling class? I diddn’t know that Hamas and their ilk have Zionist sympathies. Or are they just stupid?

      Reply to Comment
    44. Taoist

      Or are they just stupid?

      —————————

      A mirror anyone?

      :-)

      Taoist

      Reply to Comment
    45. Bosko

      Hamas or whoever did this are not stupid. They are however definitely evil. They think that they can demoralise and wear down Israelis with their terrorism.
      Israel is not stupid either for retaliating because if they wouldn’t then there would be even more terrorism.

      Reply to Comment
    46. Ben Israel

      “Militants” did it? When I was a kid, an “activist” was someone who stood on a street corner handing out leaflets. A “militant” was someone who organized a demonstration, or even a strike.

      Reply to Comment
    47. This place is so independently bias anti Israel wow good job

      Reply to Comment
    48. Carrie

      “militants” eh?

      Reply to Comment
    49. Koshiro

      ““Militants” did it? When I was a kid, an “activist” was someone who stood on a street corner handing out leaflets. A “militant” was someone who organized a demonstration, or even a strike.”

      It does not surprise me in the least that you grew up in an environment where people doing something so patently non-militant as organizing a demonstration were termed ‘Militants’.

      ‘Militant’ is a term for organized, armed fighters with military equipment who are not part of a regular military force. Simple as that.

      Reply to Comment
    50. Mitchell Cohen

      @Koshiro,

      Then I guess the Irgun was not terrorist, but militant. Glad we cleared that up.

      Reply to Comment
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