- Israel responds to rocket fire from north and south, as speculation grows that eroded Hamas ready for ceasefire
Israel's north was targeted by rocket fire for the third straight day on Monday while Gaza-based Palestinian terror groups rained down at least 130 rockets on the country's southern and central communities, deepening fears that Israeli adversaries were preparing to open up additional fronts against the Jewish state. The weekend had already seen rockets launched from Lebanon and Syria, a combination of attacks that had not been seen since mid-July. Lebanese media indicated that Israeli forces responded to Monday's fire - which per military analyst Daniel Nisman "originated from Jormoq, a Hezbollah-dominated area north of the Litani" - with 18 shells. Al-Mayadeen, a Hezbollah aligned outlet, also conveyed news that sniper fire from the Lebanese village of Addasse had injured an Israeli soldier. Fears are growing that gambits in the north could trigger an escalatory crisis, although the broad consensus remains that Hezbollah is badly stretched by its efforts to defend Iranian proxies across the Middle East and to contain the blowback that those efforts are generating inside Lebanon. Meanwhile rockets launched by Gaza Strip-based terror groups triggered sirens as far north as Israel's densely-packed Tel Aviv area, and were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Israel eventually responded by badly damaging a large building, dubbed the "Italian compound," that Hamas had appropriated as a military facility. It was photographed collapsing soon after the attack. Diplomatic developments have been quickly converging on assessments that see a truce is now gathering momentum. Hamas enters current negotiations having depleted its rocket store and having seen Israel severely erode the group's command and control infrastructure over recent days, as Israel targeted top Hamas military figures. Analysts had predicted that the series of successful assassinations would trigger a desperate backlash from the Palestinian terror group as it attempted to regain its footing, but that the substantive magnitude of the losses would quickly take hold.
Tens of Hollywood celebrities have voiced support for Israel in a new statement calling for ‘a solution that brings peace to the region.’ The Creative Community for Peace and Friends, which released the statement, features the likes of Ziggy Marley, Mayim Bialik, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Minnie Driver, Ziggy Marley, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, Scooter Braun and Sylvester Stallone, among many others, denouncing boycotts against Israel and highlighting the need to stop Hamas from firing rockets at Israeli cities. The statement was released to Hollywood magazines and was meant to run in general newspapers in the US as well. “We may not all share the same politics or the same opinion on the best path to peace in the Middle East. But we do agree that singling out Israel, the only democracy in the region, as a target of cultural boycotts while ignoring the now-recognized human rights issues of her neighbors will not further peace,” Creative Community for Peace writes on its website. The statement featuring 193 names of producers, actors, directors and musicians says Hamas cannot be allowed “to rain rockets on Israeli cities, nor can it be allowed to hold its own people hostage. Hospitals are for healing, not for hiding weapons. Schools are for learning, not for launching missiles. Children are our hope, not our human shields. “We join together in support of the democratic values we all cherish and in the hope that the healing and transformative power of the arts can be used to build bridges of peace.” (via Israel21c)
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