Israel: Next 24 hours key for Hamas to halt rocket fire, prevent further escalation


Israeli officials on Thursday demanded that Hamas leaders deescalate the growing crisis along the group's Gaza Strip border with Israel, after weeks of steadily increasing projectile fire targeting Israeli population centers escalated overnight into dozens of rockets and mortars launched within 24 hours. Multiple structures, including a student's apartment and a greenhouse, suffered direct hits, and the Israeli Air Force responded with strikes aimed at suppressing further launches. The escalation has been marked both by the uptick in the number of barrages and by Hamas's willingness to claim the attacks. The terror organization last Sunday openly took credit for several launches, the first time its operatives have been willing to do so since Israel's November 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense severely degraded Hamas's command and control infrastructure. A security source confirmed to the Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the group was indeed taking a more direct role in the rocket fire, and emphasized that Israel would evaluate within 24 hours whether its officials were willing to halt its attacks. The Israeli army has in the meantime bolstered its presence along the Gaza Strip border, and a military spokesperson emphasized to journalists that Jerusalem's "policy regarding Gaza is one of deescalation and preparedness... [t]he IDF is operating to safeguard the southern communities of Israel." Reporting on the spiraling security situation is Israel's south has been tangled, with journalists and analysts analyzing the crisis alongside spiking tensions in the West Bank. The two dynamics are treated by the Israelis as militarily distinct. The IDF's actions against Hamas in the Gaza Strip have been explicitly aimed at - and limited to - strikes designed to stem the weeks-long spike in rocket fire.


A new Israeli study shows that scorpions are master architects when designing and building their burrows, even including a platform on which to warm up before the evening hunt.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev scientists Dr. Amanda Adams, a post-doc in the Marco and Louise Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and Professor Berry Pinshow, her adviser, found that wild Large-Clawed Scorpions (Scorpio maurus palmatus) build their burrows to meet their physiological needs and that this could predict how they’ll acclimatize to climate change. The Israeli researchers are investigating the burrows of wild Large-Clawed Scorpions in the Negev Desert of Israel. “Very little is known about burrow environments,” says Dr. Adams. “We plan to expand our studies to more scorpion species around the world to test how burrow structure is shaped to be part of the burrow builder’s extended physiology.” The researchers said that in understanding the relationship between environmental conditions and burrow structures, it could help to predict how burrow-builders will respond to climate change.

Dr. Adams presented the study at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology in Manchester, UK. (via Israel21c)

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