Israel ordered ground forces to the Gaza border yesterday and threatened a "crushing" response after Israeli towns were hit by the first major Hamas rocket barrage from the coastal territory since Israel's pullout two weeks earlier.
In an attempt to strengthen its deterrence, Israel also resumed air strikes against Hamas targets, killing at least four Hamas militants, hitting several alleged weapons workshops, and imposed a blanket closure that bars all Palestinians from its territory.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called his Security Cabinet for a meeting later yesterday to approve the military's response, expected to last for several days, though a large-scale ground operation appears unlikely.
The timing of the Cabinet meeting suggested a sense of urgency.
The Cabinet session comes as Sharon faces a major leadership challenge in his Likud Party this week over the Gaza pullout. Sharon's challenger, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has warned the withdrawal will endanger Israel.
The barrage of 39 rockets, with five Israelis hurt, could give him a boost in the battle against Sharon.
The escalation was set off by an explosion Friday at a Hamas rally in the crowded Jebaliya refugee camp in which at least 15 Palestinians were killed. Witnesses said the blast went off near a pickup truck carrying Hamas militants and homemade rockets.
Hamas blamed Israel for the blast and said it fired rockets on Israeli border towns in retaliation. However, the Palestinian Authority held the Islamic militants responsible, saying that they apparently mishandled explosives.
SOLIDARITY: A group of European lawmakers condemned China’s aggressive moves, while the foreign minister of Lithuania said Taiwan ‘cannot become a second Ukraine’ A German parliamentary delegation would visit Taiwan in the first week of October, German lawmaker Holger Becker on Monday told visiting Democratic Progressive Party legislators Fan Yun (范雲) and Lin I-chin (林宜瑾) at the Bundestag in Berlin. Asked by Fan whether he is worried about possible reprisals from Beijing, such as banning him and his family from entering China, Becker said he is more interested in visiting Taiwan, as “now is the time for democracies to stand together.” Fan and Lin also met with German officials to exchange views on digital education and governance. Investing in digital infrastructure and protecting equal rights to
As China waged extensive military exercises off Taiwan, a group of US defense experts in Washington was focused on their own simulation of an eventual — but for now entirely hypothetical — US-China war over the nation. The unofficial what-if game is being conducted on the fifth floor of an office building not far from the White House, and it posits a US military response to a Chinese invasion in 2026. Even though the participants bring a US perspective, they are finding that a US-Taiwan victory, if there is one, could come at a huge cost. “The results are showing that under
‘SIMULATED ATTACKS’: Ten warships each from China and Taiwan were maneuvering at close quarters in the Taiwan Strait, with some Chinese vessels crossing the median line Taiwan yesterday reiterated that it would not succumb to pressure from Beijing after China carried out its most provocative military drills in decades in retaliation for US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan last week. “We will never bow to pressure. We uphold freedom and democracy, and believe Taiwanese disapprove [of] China’s bullying actions with force and saber rattling at our door,” Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday. China had “arrogantly” disrupted regional peace and stability, he said, calling on Beijing to not flex its military muscles. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has also called on the international community to “support
DRILLS CONTINUE: China’s creation of a restricted zone across the median line of the Taiwan Strait challenges a 70-year-old fact, a ministry of defense official said The nation’s military fully complies with international rules and guidelines when responding to Chinese military drills, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday, vowing to continue defending Taiwan in accordance with international law. China on Thursday launched four days of military drills around Taiwan proper in response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei. The drills were expected to end on Sunday, but neither Beijing nor Taipei confirmed their conclusion, although the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said it had seen some evidence suggesting at least a partial drawdown. However, China yesterday said the drills would continue, saying “the