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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Grads, apparently from Egypt, fired into Israel

From YNet:
The remnants of a 122-millimeter Grad rocket were found near Mitzpe Ramon Saturday evening, this after residents reported hearing an explosion during the night. There were no reports of injury or damage.

Parts of another Grad rocket were found earlier in the day near the Ovda army base, located south of Mitzpe Ramon.

Sappers were dispatched to the landing site of the second rocket.

Ynet's military analyst Ron Ben-Yishai noted that the first rocket was apparently fired from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, adding that the security establishment has ruled out the possibility that it was launched from Jordan.
Ha'aretz' Avi Issacharoff and Gili Cohen add:
Israeli security officials say that the rockets that landed on Friday in the area near Ovda and Mitzpeh Ramon, were launched after a request by senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. According to these officials, the rockets were launched from the Sinai Peninsula by a Bedouin unit, according to Hamas orders, even though Hamas itself wasn't the initiator of the launching, but responded to the request of the Brotherhood, who wanted to such an event on the eve of the second round of presidential elections in Egypt. It is yet unclear why the Brotherhood requested such an unusual action, a first military strike against Israel, or whether the strike was aimed at specific sites in the area.

So far, the Muslim Brotherhood leaders have presented a moderate stance towards Israel in their talks with the international community, stressing that they had to intention of annulling the peace accords, a position reiterated by presidential candidate, Mohamed Morsi. Still, in the buildup to the elections, Brotherhood speakers have been known to speak fiercely against Israel. In one gathering, in the beginning of May at El-Mahalla El-Kubra, Brotherhood leaders promised, in the presence of Morsi, that the object of the Brotherhood is to liberate Jerusalem. The main speaker at that gathering, Sifwat Hijazi, said that Morsi would liberate Jerusalem and that the Brotherhood's dream was the creation of the "united Arab nations," with Jerusalem as its capital. "Our capital won't be Mecca or Medina, but Jerusalem, millions of shahids will march on the city" shouted Hijazi, "the whole world should know - and we say it clearly - our goal is Jerusalem, we shall pray in Jerusalem, and if not - we shall die as martyrs on its ruins." Another speaker that day said that "tomorrow Morsi will liberate Gaza." A singer sang: "The Jews will not be able to sleep, come, lovers of martyrs, you're all Hamas. Take on arms, and prepare for prayer."
Egypt Independent quotes Egyptian denials:

The Israeli military said both rockets had been fired from the desert in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

An Egyptian security source denied this report, telling Al-Masry Al-Youm that no rockets have been fired from Sinai into Israel. The source added that "these are simply false allegations by Israel aimed at destabilizing the security situation and affecting [Egypt's] electoral process."

Former General Abdel Moneim Kato, an adviser to the Egyptian military's Morale Affairs Department, said that the Israeli allegations are part of the "psychological warfare" conducted by Israel in order to disturb the "democratic breakthrough Egypt is witnessing now in the presidential election run-off."
The Gaza NGO Safety Office, which usually reports on all known rocket firings from Gaza, specifically says:
MU, 16 JUN: Over the past 2 days no incidents were reported. Have a safe day.
I don't know the evidence of Hamas involvement, which seems strange. (Hamas denies it.) But all evidence points to the rockets indeed being fired from Egypt.