UPDATE 14:30 EDT: Gaza pounded southern Israel on Thursday evening with a barrage of 20 rockets and mortar shells in one hour. As a result of a mortar shell fired on the Eshkol Regional Council, a soldier was lightly wounded. Israelis near Gaza have been ordered to stand by shelters as Israeli builds its forces to launch a major attack on Gaza militants.
The coming 24 hours will show whether Hamas in Gaza has understood Israel’s message that rocket fire on the South must end, a senior security source said Thursday, as projectiles continued to rain down on southern towns, and trigger air raid sirens. “We’ll see what the bottom line is… whether Hamas understands our message… within 24 hours, and then we’ll weigh our steps,” the source said.
UPDATE 12:30 EDT: The U.S. Embassy in Kampala, Uganda, warned Americans in the country on July 3 of a “specific threat of an attack on Entebbe International Airport by an unknown terrorist group” in the hours of 9 pm and 11 pm local time Thursday. Travelers were advised to “review their plans.”
The body of the murdered Palestinian boy has not been released for burial yet, delaying the funeral. The funeral may be delayed until tomorrow.
Hamas’ military wing threatened Israel with more rockets in press conference in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. “Any foolish move the Israeli leadership makes will put all Israeli towns in the range of our rockets. We will strike new targets,” an Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades spokesman said. The spokesman said that if the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades reveals its full capability, it would surprise both its enemies and friends.
Israel has conducted a series of bombings on South Gaza Thursday afternoon and more rockets are flying.
Meanwhile On Thursday, columns of tanks and buses carrying thousands of Israeli troops could be seen heading to the Gaza border area, where soldiers milled about organizing their equipment.
UPDATE 09:20 EDT: The Israeli Security Cabinet is meeting yet again today for assessments and deliberations on Israeli war plans.
Rockets have continued to fall on Israel and the IDF is currently bombing Gaza at 15:00 local time.
Israel has called up reserve officers and established a military headquarters for a Gaza Operation, as well as reinforced the Gaza front with tanks, artillery and troops.
ALERT: This is not a prediction but a caution based on the developing situation. It is possible that today’s funeral will be accompanied by a volley of rockets either during or soon after the funeral. A strong Israeli response to any such volley is probable.
Israel Deploys Reinforcements to the Gaza Border
Breaking with the policy of past years, Hamas has begun to fire rockets at Israel itself, officials claim, saying attack in retribution for death of Palestinian teen Wednesday.
As the ceasefire collapses a total of thirteen rockets landed in the Sderot area since midnight, and strikes in other areas as well this morning. Hamas achieved three direct hits of buildings in Sderot including a children’s Day Care just before the children arrived for the day.
The funeral of the 17 year old Palestinian presumed [by Palestinians] to have been kidnapped and murdered by Israeli extremists, is scheduled to take place in Jerusalem today. The recent rocket activity is directly linked to the killing of this boy and rockets are expected to escalate as the funeral approaches and in its aftermath.
The IDF has begun shifting forces to the Gaza area, in preparation of a possible escalation in the conflict with Hamas.
The IDF is preparing for an escalation in the south. Armor and artillery forces training in other regions were transferred to the Gaza area yesterday. The forces give the IDF the ability to quickly respond and embark on a larger operation, should the cabinet decide to do so.
A senior IDF official said that the IDF was “preparing for a wider operation in Gaza,” and Palestinians have reported that Israeli warships across from Gaza’s shores also seem to be preparing.
Preparations for ISIS Operation
In preparation for the war on ISIS in Syria/Iraq, Saudi Arabia has deployed a 30,000 man blocking force on its border, and all international airports hosting flights to the United States have gone to high terror alert.
International airports from which there are direct flights to the US have tightened security. Passengers were advised to expect “significant disruptions.” The US Department of Homeland Security said this was a response to a “real time” and “credible threat” without specifics.