"On Sunday, 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in a series of attacks in the Gaza Strip, where the death toll is believed to have climbed beyond 400." abc news
"Israel's defence force have not yet confirmed if any of its soldiers are among the dead, but it is understood 44 wounded soldiers are in Ashkelon Hospital with more in other hospitals. It comes amid unconfirmed reports that the military wing of Hamas destroyed an Israeli tank in a suicide bombing. Israelis are yet to comment on the reports." abc news
"On Israel's side, two civilians have been killed by cross-border fire and 18 soldiers have died in fighting. More than 50 Israeli troops have been wounded, hospital officials said." abc news
As sad as it is to say, the main effects of this round of fighting in Gaza will be found; 1- in the worldwide political damage done to Israel for the callous massacre of civilians and 2- the impact on Israeli and more importantly American popular opinion of a high Israeli military body count. Throughout previous Israeli operations intended to "mow the grass," in Gaza, the IDF has operated with impunity, able to continue from day to day without major fear of the likelihood of its own casualties in dead and wounded. If these present reports are correct, that has changed. The American people have many admirable characteristics but their inability to see virtue in "losers" is not one of them. An ability on the part of the Hamas/IJ fighters to inflict casualties on the IDF would raise the public image of the Palestinians in America. According to the Israel FB page, Hamas now says that it will equip large numbers of Gazan youth with grenades and send them against IDF forces in suicide attacks. The Israelis do not seem to understand how potent a weapon that would be. pl
"... residents are proud that their sons both fiercely resisted U.S. invaders and then joined forces with their former adversaries as part of the so-called Awakening movement, in which the U.S. military paid ex-insurgents and others to fight Al Qaeda-style hard-liners. Hatem, 36, a father of four, was one of hundreds of Sunnis in Adhamiya who signed up.
But the residents of Adhamiya and other mostly Sunni areas are now facing a more entrenched foe: the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and its heavy-handed security forces.
In interviews here, Adhamiya residents complained of a pattern of harassment, random arrests and illegal imprisonment: the kinds of grievances that helped detonate the uprising raging in Sunni-dominated provinces to the north and west.
Those interviewed said they empathized with Sunni fighters who have seized large swaths of Iraqi territory, but insisted that they did not back the Islamic State, the Al Qaeda breakaway faction leading the uprising. Whether their professed antipathy for the militants was authentic or meant for Western consumption was not clear." LA Times
The inhabitants of the Sunni parts of western Baghdad are a potential fifth column likely to assist IS coalition forces in penetration of Baghdad between BIA and the US Embassy. pl