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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Israel Retaliates :UPDATED, Abbas swears in new cabinet.

[Scroll for Updates below]

Hot Damn. Hat Tip to Gateway Pundit for making us aware of this.

I mentioned earlier as an update that rockets had been fired into Israel from Lebanon and reports are now coming in saying that Israel retaliated.

Taibe, Lebanon - Israel retaliated to the three rockets fired by unidentified militants from South Lebanon by firing five shells into Lebanese territory. Palestinian militants are suspected of instigating the attacks.

The shelling came moments after two rockets slammed into northern Israel from Lebanon without causing any casualties, in the first such fire since last summer's conflict with Hezbollah.

Israeli troops fired five shells at south Lebanon while the army was searching for the guerrillas who fired rockets on northern Israel, Lebanese security forces said.

Five shells slammed on the mountainous areas of Birkat Naqqar and Jabal Saddaneh near the town of Shebaa in the eastern sector of the border with Israel, they said. There were no reports of casualties.

Three Katyusha rockets exploded near the northern Israeli border town of Kiryat Shmona. There were no casualties, but roads and vehicles were damaged. Lebanese troops carried out patrols and erected checkpoints in search of a civilian vehicle from where the rockets were apparently fired into northern Israel, they said.

Lebanese troops were seen cordoning off an area between the villages of Adaysseh and Taibe, in the central sector of the border zone, where a rocket was apparently left behind by the guerrillas.

Israeli and Lebanese security sources said they believed a Palestinian group had fired the rockets. Israel said it would not "succumb to provocation".

Bestill my heart, by following the Gateway Pundit links, and make sure you are sitting down for this, the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon is calling it a "serious breach".

BEIRUT (AP)--The U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon said Sunday a rocket attack from Lebanese territory on Israel was a "serious breach" to the cease-fire that ended a war last year, and urged the parties to exercise maximum restraint to prevent an escalation.

Two rockets fired from Lebanon landed Sunday in northern Israel, causing damage but no casualties. Hezbollah, the main guerrillas group in Lebanon that fought the Israelis last year, denied any involvement. The Lebanese army said three rockets were fired and a fourth was found before it was launched.

"Today's rocket attack from south Lebanon is considered a serious violation of Security Council Resolution 1701 and serious breach of cessation of hostilities agreement," said Yasmina Bouziane, a spokeswoman for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.

Siniora, definitely not wanting a repeat of the Hizbullah/Israel war, says he will "spare no effort" in finding those responsible for the attack.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Sunday his country would "spare no effort" in finding those responsible for the attack which was the first strike on northern Israel since the end of the Second Lebanon War last summer.

"The state, through all its security services, will spare no effort to find the party behind this act which aims at destabilizing Lebanon," Siniora said in a statement.

"Two Katyusha rockets landed in Kiryat Shmona, and caused damage to a vehicle and roads. There were no injuries," a police spokesman said.

A third rocket struck next to a United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) base in the southern Lebanese village of Houla.

For once, I actually believe Hizbullah when they say they were not responsible for the latest rockets fired into Israel, I do not think THEY want a repeat of the conflict either.

This is a developing story...



On the other side we are getting reports that Abba's swore in a new cabinet and outlawed Hamas fighters.

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AFP) - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas swore in a new cabinet on Sunday and outlawed Islamist Hamas fighters after their violent seizure of Gaza, as Israel came under rocket fire from Lebanon in a new front to the crisis.

Adding to the tensions, Israeli troops moved into the north of the Gaza Strip -- now an Islamist enclave on the Jewish state's doorstep.

Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Ephraim Sneh said the army incursion into Gaza was a "preventive" action, in effect creating a buffer zone on Palestinian territory as masked Hamas gunmen consolidated their power there.

Hamas fighters overran forces loyal to Abbas's secular Fatah movement in Gaza on Friday after a week of bitter internecine fighting which brought the Palestinians to the brink of all-out civil war and killed more than 110 people.

After swearing in the 12-member emergency cabinet headed by new prime minister Salam Fayyad at a ceremony in the West Bank town of Ramallah, Abbas swiftly took aim at Hamas, branded a terrorist outfit by Israel and the West.

"The executive force and Hamas militias are declared outside the law for having carried out an armed rebellion against Palestinian legitimacy and its institutions," the Western-backed Fatah leader said in a decree.

"Anyone whose ties with these groups is proven will be punished in accordance with the laws under the state of emergency."

Abbas, speaking at the first meeting with his new cabinet soon after the swearing in, said that the government's remit would cover both the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Another article showing that Fatah has targeted Hamas in the Westbank.

[Update #2] Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is prepared to release frozen funds to Abbas and to help bolster his standing, now that Hamas is not part of the newly formed government.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday Israel would be prepared to take more risks for peace with the Palestinians now that President Mahmoud Abbas had formed a government without Hamas.

Promising to bolster Abbas, whose Fatah forces were routed by the Islamist Hamas group in the Gaza Strip, Olmert said:

"We will cooperate with this government. We will defreeze monies that we kept under our control because we didn't want these monies to be taken by Hamas to be used as part of a terrorist action."

Olmert, addressing American Jewish leaders on the first day of a three-day U.S. trip, said Israel could be working closer with the Palestinian government now.

"I personally believe that under the new circumstances, with a much greater cooperation between us and the Palestinian government, we can take perhaps more risks than we took in the past," he said.

Earlier, Olmert was deeply concerned with a rocket attack from Lebanon on northern Israel by what he said was apparently "a small Palestinian movement" that could be linked to al Qaeda.

"It's a very disturbing day," Olmert told reporters at a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the New York home of Israel's U.N. ambassador.
I have to say that Hamas taking Gaza might just be a blessing in disguise because although Abbas is has no real love for Israel, he has shown a desire to live side by side in peace. Abbas has the support of surrounding Arab countries as well as the US and Israel.

There is going to be some very hard days and months ahead but Hamas has backed themselves into a corner, so to speak, and have given Israel a clear target, should it come down to that.

[Update #3] President Bush is "poised" to lift its economic and diplomatic embargo against the Palestinian government in the West Bank now that a US-backed moderate has evicted Islamic radicals from governance.

I will continue updating as the news comes out....