Egypt Begins Sinai Offensive as Israel Readies Gaza City assault

Update 12:L20 EDT:  Militant super weapon the Zetzal missile may be deployed when Israel assaults Gaza City.   According to sources in Gaza, those weapons are Iranian-made “Zelzal” missiles, an unguided missile that can carry a payload of up to 600 kg (1,323 pounds) of explosives for a distance of up to 200 kilometers

Egypt launches offensive against Sinai radicals.  Egypt’s army destroys 13 tunnels connecting between Sinai and Gaza Strip

Cairo reports that on Saturday  14 militants were killed and 47 others arrested in Egyptian army raids in northern Sinai; and on Friday, 12 jihadists were killed and 11 others detained, the Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman, Mohamed Samir Abdel Aziz reported Saturday night. The army, he added, had destroyed 36 houses and 40 shelters used by jihadist groups as well as 5 cars and 12 motorcycles.

Today the Gaza militants notified the UN that they wanted a ceasefire on the Monday Eid occasion: “In response to UN intervention and considering the situation of our people and the occasion of Eid, it has been agreed among resistance factions to endorse a 24-hour humanitarian calm, starting from 2 pm on Sunday,” Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters. Israel is discussing the issue.

Despite this ceasefire call by the Gaza militants barrages of rockets continued to fall on Israel hours after 14:00 local time. 

As he entered a security cabinet meeting Netanyahu said that Hamas had broken all five ceasefires proclaimed so far. 

This is disingenuous as Hamas had not agreed to those ceasefires, [except for the last 12 hour ceasefire which they kept] and in fact Hamas has continued firing today because they received no response from Israel. 

 

It appears that the political stage is now set for an escalation of the Israeli action in Gaza to take down the militants, demilitarize the strip  and occupy Gaza until an International Force can enter to secure and rebuild Gaza. 

That very plan of bringing an International Force to secure and rebuild Gaza after the strip has been cleansed of militants and weaponry by the IDF, has been in the process of crafting into a UN Security Council resolution to be tabled before the UN at the appropriate time. 

The next phase is expected to be an attack on the huge militant complex of tunnels and bunkers as deep as 60 feet under central Gaza City, which will destroy the militants for all practical purposes.  This to be followed by a mop up phase.

Meanwhile Israeli border police seized a vehicle rigged with a powerful explosives at a checkpoint at the Beitar Junction in the West Bank Sunday morning.  Following the discovery, Route 375 near Beitar Illit was closed to traffic. 

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