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IDF: Ball in Hamas' court

All eyes on Gaza: Army to monitor situation in Strip closely in coming hours, says strikes on Gaza to end only after Hamas forces all terror groups to hold fire; terrorists to be judged by actions, not words, senior official says

Despite statements supporting ceasefire, Gaza terror groups fire missile at Ashkelon, multiple rockets at Gaza vicinity regional councils. Iron Dome system engaged, , but it is unclear at this time whether the rocket was intercepted or landed in an open area. So far, eight rockets have been intercepted by Iron Dome.

A weekend of shelling – over 120 rockets and mortar shells were fired on Israel's south during the weekend

Global coverage focuses on IDF strikes - Serious escalation in southern Israel pushed aside in world's leading newspapers, websites in favor of ongoing fighting in Libya, Syrian riots

Ynet Latest Update: 04.10.11

War or truce? IDF officials will be closely monitoring developments in the Gaza region Saturday night and Sunday morning, with Hamas' actions determining whether the current round of fighting will be ending, or further escalating.

Army officials said late Saturday that IDF strikes on Gaza will only end after all terror groups in the Strip hold their fire.

"The moment Hamas takes the decision to stop firing, it must enforce this on all other organizations," a military source told Ynet. "Hamas did it before, and we expect it to happen again."

"We exacted a heavy price from Hamas since Thursday, by hitting several targets and assassinating senior commanders," the source added.

While IDF officials are not openly referring to an equation of "quiet in exchange for quiet," the decision taking shape in closed-door sessions Saturday evening was not to escalate the situation should Hamas hold its fire.

"We'll examine our actions not in line with declarations, but rather, based on the actions (of terror groups) on the ground," a senior military official said following a series of consultations. "We'll be able to operate firmly and powerfully if needed."

A Grad rocket reportedly aimed at Ashkelon was fired Sunday from northern Gaza.

The Iron Dome system was engaged, but it is unclear at this time whether the rocket was intercepted or landed in an open area. So far, eight rockets have been intercepted by Iron Dome.

Shortly thereafter, two rockets hit open areas in Sha'ar HaNegev and Sdot Negev regional councils. No injuries or damage were reported

The Grad launch followed that of three mortar shells, which landed in various areas in Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries were reported. One of the rockets, which were fired around 6 am, hit a power cable, causing a partial blackout in some of the Council's communities.

The rocket fire breached the relatively quiet night, which followed a weekend of shelling – over 120 rockets and mortar shells were fired on Israel's south by Gaza terror groups. The IDF mounted several airstrikes in retaliation, targeting some 10 terror cells and 15 terror hubs in the Strip.

Israel believes the tense weekend has prompted Hamas' political wing to seek ways to clam things on the ground, but the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, has yet to have the final say.

"There is no way to speak of a lull between us and the occupation while it is harming our people. The blood of our citizens will not be spilled in vain," Hamas military wing spokesman Abu Obaida said Saturday.

Global coverage focuses on IDF strikes -

"Death toll mounts as Israel strikes again at Gaza," read the headline on the BBC website, which has often been accused of biased reporting when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

According to the report, "The deaths bring the toll from several days of Israeli strikes to at least 17, including several civilians." The firing of dozens of rockets from Gaza, some of them into hearts of Israeli cities, was also mentioned, as was the success of the Iron Dome anti-missile system.

In general, it appears that the world's leading newspapers and news websites are not addressing the escalation in the south as a development requiring serious treatment. The ongoing fighting in Libya, the riots in Syria, the battles in Ivory Coast, the shooting incident in a mall in the Netherlands, and the nuclear facilities in Fukushima – are all much hotter topics both in Europe and in the United States.

In most news websites, the reports from Gaza and the western Negev have been pushed aside, and most were laconic and did not address the significant development recorded in the current wave of escalation – the Iron Dome's interception of some 10 Qassam rockets and Grad missiles fired at the cities of Ashkelon and Beersheba.

The news outlets which did report of the situation in southern Israel, chose to dedicate a significant part of their reports of pictures to the Israeli army's targeted killings in the Strip, focusing on the death of civilians – including children – alongside Hamas gunmen.

British newspaper The Telegraph chose to include a video report on its website, showing Palestinians injured in IDF strikes rushed to hospitals.

CNN is concerned that the recent escalation in the south will lead to another military operation. Its report appears to be more balanced than the BBC's. "With the latest strikes, at least 17 Palestinians have been killed since a Hamas attack on an Israeli bus critically injured a teenage boy Thursday afternoon," the American network reported on its website, and did not forget to mention the ongoing rocket attacks on Israel.

Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram reported that "since the school bus was fired on, Israel has attacked dozens of targets in the Gaza Strip," elaborating on the casualties on the Palestinian side, including a 10-year-old boy.

French daily Le Monde reported at length about the Iron Dome system's deployment and success in intercepting rockets, stressing that many southern residents were forced to spend Friday night in bomb shelters and fortified rooms.,7340,L-4054464,00.html,7340,L-4054464,00.html,7340,L-4054475,00.html

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Added: Apr-10-2011 
By: aydeo
Middle East
Tags: IDF, Hamas, Gaza, Iron Dome
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