On the evening of Saturday, November 10th 2012, an anti-tank missile was fired from the Gaza Strip at IDF soldiers from the Givati Brigade conducting a routine patrol in a ‘David’ jeep on the Israeli side of the border, near Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
Four soldiers were wounded: one sustained serious head injuries, one was moderately to seriously wounded, and two others sustained moderate injuries. All four soldiers have been evacuated to hospital.
The jeep in which the soldiers were travelling is designed to protect its crew against light gun fire, stones or Molotov cocktails. Obviously, it is not equipped to withstand an anti-tank missile. The PFLP claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that it had fired two Kornet missiles at the patrol. However, it is thought that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad may actually be responsible. The Russian-made laser-guided Kornet anti-tank missile – smuggled into the Gaza Strip via Syria or Iran – has been known to be available in there since December 2010 and was used by Hamas in the attack on an Israeli school bus in April 2011.
After the missile attack on the jeep, the IDF responded with tank fire at the suspected launching site in a location east of the Gaza City neighbourhoods of Zeitun and Sajaiya. A heavy exchange of fire followed. Palestinian news agencies reported four people dead and some thirty wounded.
In addition, missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian communities in the surrounding region and the residents are currently under instructions to stay within 15 seconds’ reach of shelters. Longer range missiles were also fired at Ashdod, for which the PIJ claimed responsibility. At the time of writing, the rocket fire continues with eight rockets in the past hour and school on Sunday has been cancelled.
The BBC report on the evening’s events is headlined: “Gaza: Palestinians killed and Israeli soldiers injured”, despite the fact that the soldiers were in Israel.
As usual, the BBC reports the first events last:
“Four Palestinians have been killed and more than 20 injured after Israelis fired into the Gaza Strip following an attack on an army patrol jeep which injured four Israeli soldiers.”
The report includes the usual attempt by Jon Donnison to downplay the responsibility of terror groups in Gaza for the escalation of violence:
“Flare-ups in violence in and around Gaza are frequent, says the BBC’s Jon Donnison in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Periods of calm rarely last for long, our correspondent says.”
Significantly, the report fails to relate to the use by terrorists of built-up residential areas as launching sites for military-grade weapons and the resulting danger to civilians in the area and even goes on to mislead readers by quoting Hamas official Fawzi Barhoum as stating:
“Targeting civilians is a dangerous escalation that cannot be tolerated.”
No mention is made in the report of the targeting of Israeli civilians by rocket-firing squads in the Gaza Strip. Whilst this report was being written, the rocket tally this evening has risen to eleven.
The BBC’s report has been (apparently hastily) updated:
“Five Palestinians have been killed and more than 20 injured in a series of clashes close to the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
Four died when Israel open fired [sic] after a missile attack on an army patrol jeep which injured four Israeli soldiers.
Hamas officials said the casualties were civilians at a funeral in the Shijaia neighbourhood near Gaza City.
In a later incident, Islamic Jihad said one of its members was killed by an Israeli air strike.
Israel said it launched the attack, late on Saturday evening, after more rockets were fired from Gaza.
“A short while ago, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) targeted a rocket-launching squad in the northern Gaza Strip moments after it fired rockets towards southern Israel. A direct hit was confirmed,” an Israeli military statement said.
“Over the past few hours, 25 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel,” the statement added.”
At around 8:50 a.m. local time on Sunday morning the Israeli police stated that some 23 rockets had hit southern Israel since midnight alone and more have been reported since then. Over 30 missiles were also fired on Saturday. Four people have been wounded in two separate rocket attacks.
As reported by the BBC, during the night the IDF struck a rocket launching squad, with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad claiming that one of its members had been killed (named as Mohammed Saeed Shkoukani, aged 20, by some Palestinian sources). The IDF also reported a direct hit on a rocket storage facility.