UPDATED: (Denver, Colorado) — It lasted barely 90 minutes.
The ceasefire that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon negotiated with Hamas, and put enormous pressure on Israel to accept, commenced at 8am Friday Israel time.
Yet around 9:30am, the whole thing collapsed. Palestinian terrorists attacked an IDF unit. They killed two Israeli soldiers and apparently captured a third, an officer. Almost simultaneously, terrorists began firing rockets and mortars at Israeli forces.
The missing officer is Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin from Kfar Saba. He is 23 years, was born in Great Britain, has three siblings, and is engaged to be married.
Israeli forces immediately fired back at the terrorists. They also initiated the “Hannibal Protocol.” They unleashed a ferocious bombing and artillery campaign against the area where their officer was abducted in hopes of either creating so much chaos and confusion that the officer could escape his captors, or that the officer would be killed and thus couldn’t be used as leverage against the State of Israel.
This has been standard IDF procedure since the 1980s when Israeli leaders decided the capture of a soldier was not a tactical development affecting a single unit but a strategic one that endangered the affected the entire state. The last time an IDF soldier — Gilad Shalit — was captured by Hamas, he was held for three years before Israel finally released 1,027 Palestinian Arabs, including 477 convicted terrorists to get Shalit back.
It now seems clear Hamas used the cover of the agreed-upon 72 hour humanitarian ceasefire precisely to kill and abduct Israeli soldiers.
The Israeli public is both horrified and enraged. There is little appetite, much less trust, for another ceasefire any time soon. The Israeli security cabinet is meeting with IDF generals and intelligence officials to map out there next steps.
In an appalling development on Thursday night, the U.S. Senate voted down a proposal to provide Israel with $225 million in emergency aid for the Iron Dome system, the Israeli-designed, U.S.-funded system that is successfully shooting down 90% of the rockets it is fired at.
UPDATE, 12:50pm eastern, Friday: “The Senate approved $225 million for Israel’s missile defense system on Friday morning, hours after an ugly floor spat nearly left the U.S. ally without additional aid before a long congressional recess,” reports Politico. “Fiscally conservative Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Thursday night blocked the emergency cash infusion for the Iron Dome, which intercepts rockets fired at Israel by Hamas, over concerns that the spending was not offset and would increase the deficit. But Coburn only represented a narrow minority of GOP senators who wanted to see the funding offset, and his objections were opposed by nearly the entire rest of the Senate.”
MEGA-TERROR ATTACK BY HAMAS THWARTED: One last note for now: In discovering some 40 terror tunnels so far, the IDF has developed chilling new insights into how the terrorists planned to use them to kill Israelis.
“Hamas had apparently been preparing a murderous assault on Israeli civilian targets for the coming Jewish New Year Holiday, Rosh Hashanah, which begins on September 24, according anonymous sources in the Israeli security services, as reported by the Israeli daily Maariv,” notes the Gatestone Institute. “The Hamas plan consisted of what was to be a surprise attack in which 200 fighters would be dispatched through each of dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the border from Gaza to Israel, and seize kibbutzim and other communities while killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians. Israeli soldiers already frustrated a surprise assault by Hamas through one tunnel from Gaza into the Eshkol district of Israel on July 19. The Hamas fighters escaped back into the tunnel, but the clash cost the lives of two Israel Defense Force [IDF] troops.”
Such intelligence is what is driving Israeli leaders to push forward to identify and destroy all the terror tunnels, despite the high cost. Netanyahu and his colleagues fear that if they don’t deal with the tunnel threat with now, Hamas will be able to prepare for much more devastating mega-terror attacks in the near future.
Please pray, and mobilize others to pray:
- For protection and courage for Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, only 23 years old.
- For comfort for his family and friends.
- For wisdom for Israeli leaders to know how best to rescue Goldin.
- For a decisive Israeli victory over the terrorists to liberate both Israelis and Palestinians from their reign of terror.
- For the IDF to achieve victory soon so the bloodshed can end and calm can be restored.
- For the IDF to be able to identify and destroy all the terror tunnels.
- For the Lord to comfort and heal those who are suffering on both sides of the borders, both Arabs and Jews.
- For the U.S. not to turn away from Israel, but to stand with her most faithful democratic ally, especially in this time of crisis.
- For Israeli and Palestinian followers of Jesus Christ in the epicenter to be unified in the Lord, and to have wisdom and courage to serve their people, and their neighbors, love them unconditionally, and be lights for the Gospel in the darkness.
- For Christians in North America and around the world to stand with Israel during this terrorist onslaught, and show compassion to the Palestinians who are being crushed by Hamas.
Here’s the latest:
“An IDF soldier was kidnapped by Gaza terrorists, the IDF said Friday, with a senior official blaming Hamas for using the ceasefire to take the soldier hostage. Two other soldiers were killed in the incident,” reported Ynet News. “It was cleared for publication that Givati Battalion Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin (23) from Kfar Saba was missing and feared to have been abducted Friday morning during clashes in the Gaza Strip near Rafah.”
“According to an announcement by the IDF, at 9:30 am Friday, terrorists opened fire at IDF forces in southern Gaza. Initial information from the scene indicated that there is a chance that an IDF soldiers was kidnapped during the incident,” Ynet noted. “‘(Israeli) forces operating to decommission an (infiltration) tunnel were attacked. Initial indications are that a soldier has been abducted by terrorists during the operation,’ the spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner said in a conference call with journalists. Speaking with Ynet, a senior IDF source said that the possible kidnapping of an IDF soldier was carried out in a skirmish near a smuggling tunnel and was aided by a suicide bomber. According to him, a terrorists appeared while forces were searching for tunnels, one of them then blew himself up, during which time others kidnapped the solider.”
“Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip will bear the consequences of their actions,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US Secretary of State John Kerry during a phone call early Friday afternoon, reported the Times of Israel.
The two spoke “a few hours after a Hamas suicide bombing and attack near Rafah during which two Israeli soldiers were killed and 2nd-Lt. Hadar Goldin of the Givati Brigade was apparently captured, the Times noted.
Israel will “take all necessary steps against those who call for our destruction and perpetrate terrorism against our citizens,” Netanyahu told Kerry.
“According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, [Netanyahu] told Kerry that ‘despite his joint statement’ with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, according to which ‘assurances’ had been received from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in Gaza regarding a ceasefire from 8:00 a.m. Friday morning, the Palestinians ‘unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian ceasefire and attacked our soldiers after 9:00 a.m,'” reported the Times.
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