[caption id="attachment_3720" align="alignleft" width="300"] Apartment building in the Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi where a rocket fired
from Gaza killed three Israelis and wounded five others, three of them seriously.
(Photo: David Katz/The Israel Project)[/caption]
Please see an overview of the situation in the south of Israel as of 1:30 PM November 19 2012:
- As of November 19, 2012, the number of rockets and mortars fired at Israeli civilians from Gaza for 2012 stood at more than 1,900. More than three million Israelis live within range of rocket and mortar attacks.
- The area closest to the Gaza border sees the most rocket attacks and has more than 90 schools and 61 kindergartens. All kindergartens and schools remain closed within a 40-kilometer radius of the Gaza border.
- This morning, a rocket slammed into a school in Ashkelon, causing extensive damage but no injury as the school was closed.
- Civil Defense officials have instructed all residents within this area to remain within a maximum 15 seconds from a bomb shelter or protected area – the amount of time residents have to reach shelter once radar detects incoming projectiles and triggers air raid sirens. Work in the 7km-range of rocket fire has also been canceled.
- Israel is treating Gaza patients in its hospitals. Nineteen hospitals throughout Israel are located in the range of Hamas’ rockets.
- As of 1:00 p.m., Hamas launched at least 45 rockets into Israel. Four of those were intercepted by the Iron Dome.
- More than 880 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.
- Since the beginning of the operation, the IDF and news reports that more than 310 rockets aimed at Israeli civilians have been intercepted and neutralized by the Iron Dome. Israel deployed a fifth battery of Iron Dome short-range defensive missile system to protect the Tel Aviv region of approximately 1.5 million people.
- IDF reports that in the past five days, more than 100 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip exploded in Gaza and not Israel, endangering Palestinian civil population.
- The Tel Aviv area, Ashkelon and Ashdod, home to a combined population of over 1 million, were targeted continuously on Sunday Nov. 18. Three Iranian produced Fajr-5 rockets were fired at Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest population center. This was the fifth time since the operation Israel’s economic center was threatened.
- Israel has at mobilized 30,000 of a potential 75,000 reservists in southern Israel in preparation for a possible ground operation to stop the rocket fire on Israeli towns and cities.
- On Nov. 18 2012, despite threats to personnel operating at Kerem Shalom Crossing, the Israeli Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) coordinated the transfer of:
- 80 truckloads of medical equipment and food into Gaza from Israel.
- 20 patients and their escorts into Israel in order to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.
- During his visit to Thailand, U.S. President Barack Obama responded to the Gaza-Israel situation:
- "Israel has every right to expect that it does not have missiles fired into its territory."
- "Let’s understand what the precipitating event here was that’s causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles. They were landing not just in Israeli territory, but in areas that are populated. And there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders."
- "If we’re serious about wanting to resolve this situation and create a genuine peace process, it starts with no more missiles being fired into Israel’s territory, and that then gives us the space to try to deal with these longstanding conflicts that exist."
- Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "We call on Hamas again to stop the rocket attacks on Israel. It is Hamas that bears, as, as I’ve said before, the principle responsibility for starting all of this and we would like to see an agreed cease fire, an essential component of which is an end to those rocket attacks.”