Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Middle East...from Carl's POV Palestinians get SMS's to evacuate their homes


Israel's Channel 10 cable news reports that 'Palestinians' in Rafah and Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip have received cell phone text messages from the IDF urging them to leave their homes. The assumption is that the IDF plans to attack Hamas installations tonight in response to today's rocket and mortar fire. UPDATE 10:42 PM Haaretz says they were voice messages.
Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on Sunday reported receiving recorded phone messages warning those who live near weapons tunnels or storage facilities to evacuate their homes at once. "Everybody who is near any place used for terror or weapon storage facility or tunnels, should evacuate the area immediately," the voice message warned, according to witnesses. Similar warnings have preceded Israeli attacks, but not in all cases.
Time to rock and roll. Heh. UPDATE 10:45 PM The 'Palestinians' are reporting that the IAF struck a target in central Gaza. No casualties reported. UPDATE 10:47 PM YNet reports that Hamas offices in the Gaza Strip have also been cleared. Arutz Sheva adds that the evacuation was not formally announced so as not to alert the population to the danger. Nice of Hamas, huh? UPDATE 10:50 PM JPost is reporting that the IAF has struck targets in Rafah and Khan Yunis (see map above). No word yet on what the targets were or whether there were any casualties. UPDATE 11:00 PM Israel Radio reports based on 'Palestinian' sources that Israel hit a police station in the central Gaza Strip. Hamas says it does not fear another fight with Israel. UPDATE 11:09 PM YNet has more details on at least one target.
Witnesses said a missile struck after dark in a cluster of caravans that served as a Hamas security headquarters in Mughraqa, a village at the center of the coastal enclave. They said the site had been evacuated, apparently after Israel telephoned warnings to Palestinians in Gaza to leave any buildings where weapons were located.
Israel Radio adds that the IAF is also attacking along the Philadelphi corridor (the Gaza - Egypt border - see the map above). Welcome to the Instalanche! UPDATE 11:58 PM Israel Radio reports that the IDF has confirmed that in the last hour and a half it has attacked six tunnels in the Rafah area and a Hamas installation in the northern Gaza Strip. Yes, I know, that doesn't quite match up with what was reported earlier, but there may be more and take it for what it's worth - it's the official word. UPDATE MONDAY 12:01 AM Israel Radio reports that Hamas says that no one was hurt in tonight's strike and that the installation that was attacked was empty thanks to Israeli warnings. Tzipi Livni is threatening that if Hamas hasn't had enough, Israel will attack again. In Cairo tonight, Abu Mazen calls those who declared victory for Hamas in Gaza 'criminals.' In Tehran, Khaled Meshaal hails Hamas' 'great victory,' and Ayatollah Khameni warns that the war is not over and that Hamas should be ready for more fighting with Israel.

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