Armageddon in View- PRAY FOR ISRAEL!

Israel Defense Forces confirmed Nov. 14 that it had killed Ahmed Jabari, the leader of Hamas’ armed wing, the Izz al-Deen al-Qassam Brigades. IDF targeted Jabari in an airstrike earlier in the day as he was driving with an unidentified passenger in Gaza City.

In addition to the strike on Jabari, the Israeli air force reportedly attacked a cache of 20 long-range missiles and a Gaza police station, and loud explosions are being reported in Gaza City. Media reports have listed six dead and 10 injured in the ongoing strikes. An IDF spokesman announced that the Israeli military was embarking on Operation Pillar of Defense, which could include a ground incursion into Gaza. IDF units have also reportedly begun moving to the country’s south. This appears to be the largest military operation undertaken by Israel inside the Gaza Strip since Operation Cast Lead at the end of 2008. The assassination of Jabari seems to have been a first shot across the bow, one that will provoke retaliation from Hamas and that could affect Jordan and Syria.

Analysis

The airstrike that killed Jabari came a day after Israel warned that it was considering targeted assassinations in response to increasing rocket fire from Gaza. That it was able to attack successfully so quickly after the announcement suggests that Israel had excellent intelligence on Jabari’s location and movements.

Visit our Arab Spring page for related analysis, videos, situation reports and maps.

Hamas has reason not to want an escalation of the conflict with Israel. After years of political isolation, Gaza recently received its first ever visit by a foreign Arab head of state when the Qatari emir visited. Hamas has blamed radical Islamists and fringe groups within the Palestinian enclave for the recent surge in rocket attacks, but it will have to respond to Jabari’s assassination. The key question will be how far it is willing to go with that response.

The attack will also resonate throughout the region, particularly in the Arab states affected by the Arab Spring, such as Egypt. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has already called on President Mohammed Morsi to re-evaluate Egypt’s relationship with Israel because of the ongoing airstrikes. The new Islamist government has been careful not to show too much support for Hamas for fear of alienating Israel. But Hamas was formed out of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and the two are intricately linked. An escalation in the conflict between Israel and Gaza would put enormous pressure on Egypt’s government to crack down on Hamas’ activities on the Sinai border, to close the crossing at Rafah and to shut down the group’s smuggling tunnels. This in turn would undermine the Brotherhood at home and add to its mounting challenges as it gears up for legislative elections in the new year. It could also further strain Egypt’s relations with the United States.

VIDEO: Israeli Airstrike Kills Hamas Military Commander (raw footage of aftermath)
Jordan and Syria could also be affected by a flare-up in the Israel-Gaza Strip conflict. Jordan is home to a large Palestinian population, and an escalation in the conflict between Israel and Gaza would revive pressure on the Jordanian monarchy over its peace treaty with Israel. For Syria, a conflict would distract the rebels’ supporters and would mean that Israel would be less tolerant than ever of any activity near the Golan. And escalation would disrupt Hamas’ own regional strategy.

Renewed and expanded bouts of rocket fire are certain, including rockets targeting urban areas. But the question is what other operations Hamas can and will conduct. It is unclear whether Hamas would try to deploy suicide bombers inside Israel or against Israeli interests elsewhere, similar to the campaign of suicide attacks during the 2000 intifada. In fact, it is far from clear that Hamas even has the assets to deploy or that it can get them into Israel. Still, such attacks cannot be ruled out.

Palestinian Territories: Israeli Air Force Strikes Hamas Police Stations
November 14, 2012 | 1545 GMT

Israeli air force strikes have hit multiple targets in Gaza City, including Hamas police stations, Al Jazeera reported Nov. 14, citing Reuters.

Israel: Airstrikes Hit Hamas, Islamic Jihad Rocket Sites
November 14, 2012 | 1536 GMT

Israel Defense Forces airstrikes hit over 20 underground long-range rocket sites in Gaza that belong to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, The Jerusalem Post reported Nov. 14. An IDF spokesman said that Gaza is a “forward Iranian base” and that there are columns of smoke visible around Gaza.

Israel: Airstrikes Hit Hamas, Islamic Jihad Rocket Sites
November 14, 2012 | 1536 GMT

Israel Defense Forces airstrikes hit over 20 underground long-range rocket sites in Gaza that belong to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, The Jerusalem Post reported Nov. 14. An IDF spokesman said that Gaza is a “forward Iranian base” and that there are columns of smoke visible around Gaza.

Palestinian Territories: Hamas Announces State Of Emergency In Gaza
November 14, 2012 | 1937 GMT

Hamas announced a state of emergency in Gaza on Nov. 14 and evacuated its security buildings, RT reported, citing bloggers in Gaza. The announcement followed an Israeli airstrike that killed Ahmed Jabari, the leader of Hamas’ armed wing.

Egypt: Israeli Escalation In Gaza ‘Extremely Dangerous’ – Foreign Minister
November 14, 2012 | 1743 GMT

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr considers the Israeli escalation in the Gaza Strip extremely dangerous and demands Israel stop its raids in Gaza immediately, according to a press statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s Information Office on Nov. 14, WAFA reported. The consequences of the escalation could have negative repercussions for the security and stability of the region, Amr said.

Palestinian Territories: Multiple Military Leaders Targeted In Strikes – Reports
November 14, 2012 | 1636 GMT

According to reports from Gaza, Israel attempted to target multiple senior leaders of Hamas’ Izz al-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, including Rafah company commander Raed al-Attar, Ynet reported Nov. 14. Al-Attar is believed to have survived the attack.

Palestinian Territories: Hamas Will Respond – Lebanon Representative
November 14, 2012 | 1624 GMT

Hamas’ representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, said Hamas will respond to Israel’s targeting of local and political leaders in Gaza, Al Jazeera reported Nov. 14. Hamdan added that Hamas’ militant wing, the Izz al-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, has a clear hierarchy and will have a leader moving forward.

Palestinian Territories: Approximately 50 Rockets Fired Into Israel
November 14, 2012 | 2009 GMT

Some 50 rockets have been fired Nov. 14 at parts of Israel, including Beersheba, Ashdod, Eshkol Regional Council, Ashkelon Coast Regional Council and Shaar Hanegev Regional Council, Haaretz reported. The rockets have reached as far as Dimona. The rocket attacks follow an Israeli airstrike that killed Ahmed Jabari, the leader of Hamas’ militant wing.

Palestinian Territories: Arab League To Hold Urgent Meeting On Gaza
November 14, 2012 | 2015 GMT

The Arab League will hold an urgent meeting either on Nov. 15 or Nov. 17, a representative from the league said Nov. 14, Reuters reported. The Israeli assassination of Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari may be the opening salvo in a wider operation against the group.

Israel: Home Front Command Soldiers Mobilized
November 14, 2012 | 1706 GMT

Israel Defense Forces have sent an Order 8, or full mobilization order, to soldiers of the Home Front Command, Haaretz reported Nov. 14.

Palestinian Territories: Strike Meant To Disrupt Hamas’ Long-Term Capabilities – IDF
November 14, 2012 | 1648 GMT

The airstrike that killed Ahmed Jabari, a top commander of Hamas’ military wing, was meant to undermine Hamas’ long-term command and control and disrupt the organization’s infrastructure, Israel Defense Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said in a Nov. 14 statement on the IDF website.

EU: Anti-Austerity Strikes And Protests Begin Across Europe
November 14, 2012 | 0932 GMT

Workers in EU countries are launching a series of protests and strikes Nov. 14 against unemployment and austerity measures, the BBC reported. The European Trade Union Confederation encouraged workers to walk out, and strikes are expected in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy. Further protests are planned in Belgium, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, among other states. Europe’s economic crisis has heightened internal tensions in Spain, Italy, Belgium and Germany.

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