Thursday, April 10, 2008

War of Attrition on Gaza border

From DEBKAfile, April 9, 2008, 10:54 PM (GMT+02:00):

Oleg Lipson, 37, Lev Cerniak, 55, were murdered by Palestinian gunmen raiding the Israel-Gaza fuel terminal Wednesday

The two men, both from Beersheba, were employed by the Israeli Dor Energy company to guard the Nahal Oz fuel terminal. DEBKAfile’s military sources report they were shot dead in their cars by 4 Palestinian gunmen, who breached the border fence on April 9 in a well-planned raid under cover of heavy mortar and rocket fire at Nahal and Alumim kibbutzim.

Israeli forces returned the fire killing two of the assailants. The other two fled into Gaza - one was later killed, the second injured - as Israeli tanks drove into the territory in hot pursuit with air support.

Israeli civilians were told to stay indoors for several hours as the heavy fire continued. Security forces were posted at the entrances to all the region’s towns and villages. Goods traffic into the Gaza Strip was halted until further notice.

Israeli spokesmen said Hamas, as the governing authority of the Gaza Strip, is held responsible for the attack on the terminal, through which 4 million liters of fuel, petrol and heavy oil pass every week from Israel to Gaza. Hamas and Palestinian leaders have no cause to complain about an Israeli blockade, particularly when they destroy their own energy lifeline.

...Military experts warn that Palestinian terror planners are no longer waiting for Israel to finally launch its long-deferred major military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. They have run ahead with their own scenario, a war of attrition made up of small-scale hit-and-run sorties synchronized with missile and rocket attacks on the Israeli towns of Sderot and Ashkelon and strategic installations, like the Nahal Oz fuel terminal. Israel forces will have to re-configure their tactics to cope with this form of warfare.

From DEBKAfile, April 9, 2008, 11:22 AM (GMT+02:00):

1st Sgt Seif Bitan, 21, from Jat, was killed, two soldiers injured in Gaza Wednesday

Members of the elite Egoz unit were attacked by Palestinian gunmen in southern Gaza early Wednesday, April 9, on an operation to halt the gunfire plaguing Israeli farmers working their fields. The Palestinians fired RPGs and autonomic rifles. Israel struck back with an air strike which killed one gunman and injured four. The Palestinians then shelled the Israeli side with mortars.

DEBKAfile reports a new surge in Palestinian attacks and attempted infiltrations from Gaza. Tuesday, Palestinians fired 7 Qassam missiles at Israel civilians; four landed south of Ashkelon. In northern Gaza, a concealed tunnel opening was found, apparently for terrorists to steal into Israel under the border.

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