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Israel downs Gaza drone; 4 Palestinians killed

Posted: July 14, 2014 - 6:53am

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Israeli military said it downed a drone launched by Gaza militants on Monday, the first time it encountered an unmanned aircraft since the start of its offensive last week, as new Israeli airstrikes killed four more Palestinians in the coastal strip.

Israel began its campaign against militants in the Hamas-controlled Gaza last Tuesday, saying it was responding to heavy rocket fire from the densely populated territory. The military says it has launched more than 1,300 airstrikes since then, while Palestinian militants have launched nearly 1,000 rockets at Israel.

The outbreak of violence followed the kidnappings and killings of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank last month, as well as the subsequent kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager in an apparent revenge attack, along with Israeli raids against Hamas militants and infrastructure in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has said that 172 people died in Israeli air attacks, including dozens of civilians. That's without counting Monday's fatalities.

There have been no Israeli deaths as a result of Hamas rocket launches, though several people have been wounded, including a teenage boy who was seriously injured by rocket shrapnel on Sunday.

The Israeli military said the drone, launched from Gaza on Monday, was shot down in mid-flight by a Patriot surface-to-air missile along the southern Israeli coastline, near the city of Ashdod. In a statement to media, Hamas claimed it launched three drones at Israel on Monday, though the military insisted there was only one.

Hamas said it has developed two types of drones — one for intelligence gathering, and one for delivering munitions. It also said it lost contact with one of the drones and that the targets included the Israeli Defense Ministry compound in Tel Aviv.

It was the first time the militant group publicly acknowledged it has drones in its arsenal.

The use of drones with an offensive capacity could inflict significant casualties — something the rockets from Gaza have failed to do, largely because of the success of the Israeli military's 'Iron Dome' air defense system in shooting them down.

"Hamas is trying everything it can to produce some kind of achievement and it is crucial that we maintain our high state of readiness," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said. "The shooting down of a drone this morning by our air defense system is an example of their efforts to strike at us in any way possible."

Meanwhile, Israel continued its aerial attacks on the Gaza Strip, with four Palestinians reported killed in two Israeli airstrikes on the southern city of Khan Younis on Monday, according to officials from the city's European Hospital.

The officials said Saddam Moamar, his wife Hanadai, and his father Mousa were killed by an airstrike that hit their house. Their neighbor, Maher Abu Mor, was killed in another airstrike while standing on the rooftop of his home, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

It was not immediately clear why their homes were targeted.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the current Israeli operation could last for "a long time" and that the military was prepared "for all possibilities." That includes a Gaza ground operation, which would likely cause heavy casualties in the coastal strip.

But Netanyahu is coming under increasing international pressure to end the operation soon. On Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate cease-fire while U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry voiced American "readiness" to help restore calm. Egypt, a key mediator between Israel and Hamas, continued to work behind the scenes to stop the conflict.

Hamas has sent signals it may be ready to consider a cease-fire and has demanded that hundreds of recently arrested activists be freed as part of any prospective truce.

For his part, Netanyahu is likely seeking to show the Israeli public that he has succeeded in significantly degrading Hamas's ability to strike at Israeli targets before moving ahead diplomatically.

Also Monday, a 21-year-old Palestinian was killed during confrontations with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Samoa, near Hebron, Palestinian health officials said. Residents of the village said soldiers opened fire at a group of Palestinians who were throwing stones at them. The officials and the villagers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.

The Israeli army confirmed the death and said it was looking into the incident.

 

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lachowsj
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lachowsj 07/14/14 - 08:57 am
4
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Enough

At last count, over 170 Palestinians are dead including women, children and many non-combatants. No Israelis have died in this conflict. It is time for Israel to begin a unilateral ceasefire, thus taking the high road and isolating the terrorists and radicals who are fomenting the conflict. While Hamas officials may scream "Death to Israel" most Palestinians would welcome a two state solution and peaceful co-existence. It is up to the richer, more powerful and infinitely better armed Israelis to take the first step.

Enough is enough.

conwaygerl
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conwaygerl 07/14/14 - 09:50 am
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4
no deaths=no foul?

So, if someone shoots up my house, and doesn't hit anyone in my family, there's no harm done?

SMH

ARVoiceofLogic
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ARVoiceofLogic 07/14/14 - 10:23 am
3
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Well

If you were Israel in the analogy you just outlined, your response would be to blow up the entire neighborhood that the bullets came from.

We don't allow the US armed forces to do this in conflict, so why would you advocate for another country using unnecessary force?

conwaygerl
5557
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conwaygerl 07/14/14 - 10:30 am
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we don't blow up entire neighborhoods?

Hiroshima?
Nagasaki?
Dresden?

Israel dropped leaflets to inform the citizens that they were about to strike a missile battery in the neighborhood.

Now, you can argue that the Palestinians have no choice where Hamas places the batteries, but you can't claim it's not a surgical strike either when they are trying to minimize collateral damage.

And if you don't think the U.S. has leveled an entire building where one sniper was holed-up in, then maybe you should re-think that.

lachowsj
5227
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lachowsj 07/14/14 - 11:37 am
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Did you watch the news?

Yesterday's news showed badly injured 4 & 2 year old brothers. Their father said the family got 3 minutes' warning that the house next door would be blown up. They were unable to get out of their own home in time.

Israel has nuclear weapons. Are you advocating that they level Gaza?

Israel is in a position of overwhelming strength. Their attacks now are just producing a new generation of terrorists. Someone has to take the first step toward peace.

Psalm 85:8
I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints-- but let them not return to folly.

mikeng1994
11177
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mikeng1994 07/14/14 - 01:21 pm
4
3
War is Hell

But if you choose to rain rockets down an civilians, Hammas was not targeting anything specific, then you can expect the same in return.

I'm not a Middle East expert by any mean, but I believe I do have a better understanding than you of how they operate. It doesn't matter what side you're on over there, if you are attacked then you will be attacked back. It's been that way since about 10 seconds after Cain hit Able with that rock.

I am guessing that the 3 minutes they had was about 179 seconds longer than the Israelis get when Hammas shoots a rocket. I do say they need to level Gaza. Do you think Hammas would show the same restraint if they were able to march through Israel? It is well documented that in the eyes of the Arab nations, Israel does not have the right to exist. For their people to even be alive. I would think you too Lachowskj, would equally as intolerant if your survival was at stake.

The U.S. needs to be the ally we should be and support Israel. Why isn't Obama asking for Hammas to stand down and hand over their rockets? Its funny how Hammas started this and Israel is the arseholes here.

lachowsj
5227
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lachowsj 07/14/14 - 02:37 pm
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Mike, who started this?

You say it's funny how Hamas started this. Which start are you referring to? This whole era of violence began before 1900 with the Zionist movement when Jewish people from all over the world answered the call to return to Palestine. They began to displace the half million Arab people who were already there, and had been for up to two thousand years, believing it was their destiny to do so. When you think about it, it is not so different from the pioneers of this country, often discriminated against in their country of origin, coming here and displacing the natives under the doctrine of Manifest Destiny.

The latest incident started with the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens. Hamas denied responsibility for the killings, yet Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.” Thus began a massive sweep of the West Bank including house searches, raids, arrests and killing. (Mike, I believe I know how you would react if there were kidnappings in your neighborhood and the Feds searched your house without a warrant, confiscated your weapons and threatened your family.) Those actions brought out the militants in Gaza and rockets began to be fired. The Israelis heavily retaliated and here we are.

In the midst of all this, an innocent Palestinian teen was kidnapped and murdered, presumably by thugs acting on their own. And in an act of kindness that brings tears to my eyes, the mother of one of the Israeli teens sent her sympathies to the family of the murdered Palestinian teen, saying no one should have to suffer that fate. That tells me there are many innocent and peace loving people on both sides.

And your response? "I do say they need to level Gaza." My response is that enough is enough.

mikeng1994
11177
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mikeng1994 07/14/14 - 03:04 pm
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When I was a youth, I killed

When I was a youth, I killed one of my dad's chickens with my beebe gun. When he saw the chicken he asked me if i was the one who did it. Of course I said no, and I got my butt beat anyway.

lachowsj
5227
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lachowsj 07/14/14 - 03:26 pm
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Let me ask this

Did your brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins and neighbors get their butts beat too?

mikeng1994
11177
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mikeng1994 07/14/14 - 03:28 pm
2
1
Nope, he stopped when he felt

Nope, he stopped when he felt the threat was eliminated. I am certain Israel will too.

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