Terrorist Attack on Bus in Tel Aviv – and Rockets Continue to Be Fired

1:50 pm: Sirens sounding in Beersheba. Rockets fell in open areas – no injuries.

1:25 pm: Sirens sounding in communities around the Gaza border. The people in Gaza are celebrating in the streets in reaction to the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv. The mosques are announcing the attack to everyone using their pr system.

1:06 pm: Sirens sounding again in the communities around the Gaza border.

There was a terrorist attack on a bus in Tel Aviv at 12:05 pm. There are at least 10 casualties, at least three in critical condition. The bus was on Shaul HaMelech street, which is a major thoroughfare.

It seems that a person went onto the bus, left a bomb, and left the bus. The police are looking for this person in the city.

Hamas is happy with the news of this attack, and calls it a “natural reaction” to what is happening in Gaza.

Why Are The Number of Israeli Casualties So Low?

The IDF spokesman’s blog asks the question, whey are the number of Israeli casualties so low – and answers here. The short version, we have the Iron Dome System that destroys some of the rockets before they fall, and the people have access to bomb shelters – either in their homes (the safe room, or mamad in Israeli slang) or in public shelters in their apartment buildings.

The long version of this answer is our society and its values. We Jews value life above (practically) all else. We use our human and physical resources in order to do whatever we can to save lives. We use our superior technologies to help us survive. Unfortunately we have had a lot of experience in warfare and defending the homefront, and we try to learn from every war. The fact that we have safe rooms in houses came about as a reaction to the Gulf War in 1991. After that war a law was passed that every new residence was required to have a safe room built into it. These safe rooms have literally saved thousands of lives, just in the past week.

The IDF youtube site has a short video showing the incredible damage to an apartment in Rishon LeZion hit yesterday, and at the end it shows how the safe room is completely intact.

Update Pillar of Defense, November 21

12:06 pm: Explosion in a bus in Tel Aviv – apparently a terrorist attack. The bus was on Shaul HaMelech street.

11:20 am: Sirens in Ashkelon and Gadera.

10:17 am: Sirens sounding in Kiryat Melachi, communities around Gaza. A rocket fell in Beer Tuvia directly on a house, thank G-d no casualties.

10:05 am: Rockets fell near Beersheba. No injuries reported.

9:59 am: Sirens in Ashkelon and communities around Gaza.

9:41 am: Sirens in Ashkelon and Beersheba and communities around the Gaza border.

Reporters – stay away from Hamas. They will use you as human shields. They already use your buildings as bases for their operations. The Israel Air Force will target Hamas and not you, if they can, but if I were you I wouldn’t take any chances….

9:07 am: Sirens sounding in communities around the Gaza border and Kiryat Melachi.

9:00 am: Rockets fired at Shaar HaNegev.

8:46 am: Rockets fired toward Ashkelon, three intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

No ceasefire has been reached. The rockets continue to be fired from Gaza towards Israel, and the Israel Airforce is hitting targets in Gaza. Schools in the areas 40 kilometers from Gaza are still closed. In Rishon LeZion, a suburb of Tel Aviv, some schools are closed today and some open. Yesterday Rishon LeZion had their first rocket attack – an aparment on the top floor was almost completely destroyed. Thank G-d the people living there went into their safe room when the siren sounded and they were saved.

Update Pillar of Defense – November 20, Afternoon

10:00 pm: As of now there is no ceasefire agreement. The IAF is hitting targets in Gaza and the IDF is using artillery to supplement the air force.

8:52 pm: The IDF spokesman blog is reporting that Hamas is urging the citizens in the northern part of Gaza to ignore the IDF warnings to evacuate the area before an IDF ground operation. I guess they will miss their human shields….http://www.idfblog.com/2012/11/20/hamas-spokesman-urges-palestinian-civilians-to-ignore-idf-warnings/

8:37 pm: Barzilai Hospital has moved many of their patients to underground facilities, specially built for this type of situation.

8:34 pm: Sirens sounding in Ashkelon.

8:29 pm: Terrorist attack near Beitar Ilit – an elderly woman is found seriously wounded in her car. It seems that she was attacked by stone throwers.

8:19 pm: Sirens sounding in Ashkelon and communities around the Gaza border.

8:16 pm: Released for publication – a soldier was killed by a rocket in the Eshkol region.

7:17 pm: Sirens in Beersheba, and communities around the Gaza border.

Just to give some perspective, today alone over 300 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza. In addition to the rockets, Arabs rioted in various places in Judea and Samaria, especially in Hebron.

7:12 pm: Sirens sounding in Ashdod, Beersheba and communities near the Gaza border.

6:55 pm: The head of the Homefront command has stated that the Israeli public should continue to follow the rules of conduct during an air raid siren and go to the safe rooms, and he specifically said that talk of a ceasefire does not change this.

6:25 pm: There is a lot of confusion here in Israel. There is talk about a ceasefire, but the IAF has dropped leaflets in the northern part of Gaza warning the citizens to leave as the IDF will be invading soon. They are listening to the warnings and leaving en masse toward the south. Meanwhile the rockets are still being fired from Gaza and people are being hurt.

6:08 pm: Rocket hits in Ashkelon, at least one injured seriously. Rocket falls on a building Rishon LeZion (suburb of Tel Aviv). Rockets were taken out near Ashdod.

6:00 pm: The rockets keep being fired from Gaza, but there is talk about a ceasefire that will be in effect starting tonight. The only problem is that Israel has not confirmed this.

3:27 pm: The IDF is reporting that the Hamas terrorists who fired the rocket toward Jerusalem earlier were now killed by an attack by the IAF.

Update – Pillar of Defense November 20

3:24 pm: Sirens sounding again in the communities close to the Gaza border.

3:15 pm: Sirens sounding in areas around Gaza. Reshet Bet (Radio 2) is trying to lift morale by playing upbeat Israeli songs, and they keep getting interrupted by warnings of rockets falling. The radio host has said that this has been the most surreal broadcast he has ever done.

3:07 pm: The IAF is conducting a major attack on Gaza now, destroying rocket storage sites.

2:51 pm: Sirens again in Jerusalem.

2:38 pm: A person is seriously injured in the Eshkol region. Sirens sounding now in areas around Gaza, Ofakim.

2:23 pm: Sirens sounded in Jerusalem and in our yishuv northwest of Jerusalem. I went directly to my safe room and waited the requisite 10 minutes. A rocket fell in an open area not in Jerusalem. It seems that the rocket fell in the Gush Etzion region.

1:05 pm: Rocket hits a building in Sderot.

12:53 pm: Sirens sounding in Netivot.

12:41 pm: Sirens sounding in areas very close to Gaza, including Sderot.

The southern cities in Israel had a very hard night with many rockets landing. This morning the rocket barrage continued, with Beersheba receiving the brunt of the rocket attacks. An army officer in a base near the Gaza border was injured by shrapnel and taken to a hospital. In addition, a person tried to force his way into the American Embassy in Tel Aviv and was overpowered. The incident is being investigated.

The IAF is attacking many Hamas positions in Gaza, aiming at Hamas operatives.

There is still talk of a cease fire agreement, but no hard news. The IDF is poised to go for a ground offensive, but has not received the order yet.

Mothers and Children Under Threat

How would you feel if these were your children?

Girl with drawing in Hebrew “Please stop the rockets”

Boys taking cover during rocket attack

Families taking shelter in Ashkelon during rocket fire

Mother and child taking cover in a cement pipe when rockets are falling

A mother protects her children during a rocket attack in Tel Aviv, November 18

Where Do Your Children Wake Up in the Morning?

Where do your children wake up in the morning? If you are an Israeli living in the southern half of Israel, chances are your kids are waking up in bomb shelters this morning. Would you put up with this in your country?

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