Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Attacking Gaza: The Fog — And Rain — Of War

Israeli soldiers clean the barrel of a tank at a staging area near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip.
Sebastian Scheiner / AP

From Time Magazine:

In war, weather matters. Israel's military offensive against Gaza was timed to coincide with three days of clear skies. Cloudlessness certainly helps the dozens of Israeli drones circling above the densely packed streets of the Palestinian seaside territory, using video and infrared cameras to search for possible targets.

Members of the militant group Hamas depend on the weather as well. For them, the cloudier it is the better. Firing off Qassam rockets into Israel is an inexact science. But given enough time to position the rockets properly — time which an overcast or rainy day can provide — Gaza's rocket makers are far more likely to hit their intended targets. That's what happened on Monday evening when, as rain blanketed Gaza and much of Israel's south coast, a rocket launched from inside Gaza struck a playground in Ashdod, killing a mother of four as she waited at an adjoining bus stop. She was the third Israeli fatality since the assault began. According to Palestinian sources, Israeli attacks have killed more than 300 people in Gaza.

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