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Thursday: Heaviest Rocket Volley Yet Hits Be'er Sheva. 170 Overall in Israel in One Day

By DEBKAfile, AFP, The &

According to first reports, a house and a sports center were hit in downtown Be'er Sheva by incoming rockets from Gaza Thursday evening - at least 20 in a single volley. Ambulances racing to the scenes found a number of shock victims but no one with bodily injuries. More missiles were aimed for the first time at the Dead Sea region – also in southern Israel.

Altogether 170 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip Thursday, the highest figure so far. Hamas launched a four-rocket salvo against Jerusalem Thursday afternoon, causing no damage or casualties. Two were intercepted. Hamas rockets winged toward Tel Aviv, Mitzpe Ramon, Dimona, Ofakim and Ramle. Some of those missiles were aimed by Hamas and Jihad Islami at Israeli military targets and American Negev bases. They all missed or were caught by Iron Dome.

Younger Israeli children in schools around the country have been taught this songs to keep them from panicking if a siren goes off. See .The song was composed by a local teacher and has been taught to hundreds of schoolchildren within firing range of Gaza's rockets to help them deal with the fear and trauma of having 15 seconds to run for cover when the Color Red siren sounds.

Shachar Bar, an art therapist who teaches in Sderot, became increasingly alarmed after seeing the thousands of children of the western Negev suffering the cumulative effects of trauma due to the ongoing barrage of Qassam rockets from Gaza.

The 15 second warning echoed through the assembly hall of the UN Security Council as Israeli UN Ambassador Ron Prosor played the chilling wail of Israel's air raid warning from his mobile phone and said Hamas was threatening the lives of 3.5 million innocent men, women and children across the Jewish state.

"Fifteen seconds, that's how much time you have to run for your life," he told the Council blaming Hamas for putting the lives of Palestinian as well as Israeli civilians at risk. While Israel gives innocent Palestinian civilians prior warning of air strikes, Hamas tells them to stand on rooftops to act as human shields. He called on the world to denounce, dismantle and delegitimize Hamas, which he said was part of the global threat posed by terror groups such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.

Thursday afternoon, the IDF advised 100,000 Palestinian civilians to leave their homes in the northern Gaza villages of Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanoun, Greater Ibsen and Smaller Ibsen and head west to the coast or south to remove themselves from danger. This order, issued shortly after a special Israeli cabinet meeting, suggested that an Israel military incursion is impending. During the day, Hamas kept up its barrage.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a short statement Thursday evening after a lengthy session of the Security-Diplomacy cabinet, which was devoted to Operation Protective Edge against Hamas's terror machine in Gaza. "The campaign is proceeding as planned," he said, "but additional stages await us. We have struck Hamas and the sons of terror forcefully, and as the campaign wears on, we will deepen the damage to them."

Netanyahu thanked the IDF and Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet), for their operational activity. "They are making every effort to avoid hitting civilians, and if civilians are hit, it is only because Hamas purposely hides behind Palestinian civilians," he explained. The security establishment has successfully foiled numerous terror attacks on Israel, he said, "but a difficult, complex and complicated campaign lies ahead."

He called on Israeli citizens to continue and display the civilian fortitude that is "a central pillar in our ability to carry on with the operation until our work is done, and we bring peace and quiet back to the cities of Israel. The most important thing for me, for all of us," he added, "is to protect the lives of all Israeli citizens, and for that purpose, we all work together."

The Times of Israel reported Thursday that terror groups affiliated with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement have joined Hamas and other Islamist groups in firing rockets into Israel.

Palestinian Affairs correspondent Elhanan Miller of the Times reported "The Nidal Al-Amody force of Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for firing Grad and 107 millimeter rockets toward Ashkelon, Sderot, Netivot, Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha and the Sufa Crossing from Gaza, starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Communiqués specifying the attacks were published on Fatah's official Facebook page.

Early Thursday morning, another armed force associated with Fatah, the Abdul Qader Husseini Battalions, claimed responsibility for launching two Grad rockets at Ashkelon and four mortar shells at Kibbutz Nir Oz near Khan Yunis shortly after one a.m.

Khaled Abu Toameh wrote that the participation of Fatah-affiliated groups in the terror war against Israel puts Abbas in an uncomfortable position. What is happening in the Gaza Strip these days is not just another confrontation between Israel and Hamas. It is a confrontation between Israel on the one hand and Hamas and several armed groups, including Fatah, on the other hand.

That is why Abbas finds it difficult to condemn the rocket attacks on Israel. Such a move would put him on a collision course not only with Hamas, but also with Fatah, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Movement and at least 10 other jihadi cells operating in the Gaza Strip.

The active participation of Fatah in the terror attacks against Israel comes soon after Fatah declared on its Facebook page that joining with Hamas to fight Israel "is what we want." The participation of Fatah in the terror war against Israel further undermines Abbas' "claim that the unity government meets international standards which includes the rejection of violence." With Fatah now implicated in war crimes, it makes Abbas' planned application to the International Criminal Court look even less well thought out.

The Wall Street Journal in a Tuesday editorial commented on the findings of a report recently issued by a United Nations committee regarding the illegal Iranian arms shipment found on the Klos C, a ship that Israel intercepted in March. The weapons were found hidden under bags cement. The editorial ties the findings to the recent escalation of hostilities between the Iranian-sponsored terror groups in Gaza and Israel.

Tehran denies any role in the shipment. But a recent classified report from the U.N. Security Council's Sanctions Committee effectively confirms it, and we've seen the pertinent portions. The panel found that Bandar Abbas, a southern Iranian port, "is established as the origin of the shipment of 100 containers of cement, including the 20 containing weapons and ammunition."

The panel concluded: "...The shipment of arms and related material found aboard the Klos C is a violation of Iran's obligations under paragraph 5 of resolution 1747," referring to an embargo on Iranian arms transfers imposed by the Security Council in 2007. The panel didn't weigh in on the ultimate intended recipient of the shipment, yet previous such shipments have made their way to Gaza. 1747 is the third of six Security Council resolutions passed overwhelmingly with regard to Iran's nuclear weapons program.

And the radical group ISIS' spokesman said the time is not right for a confrontation with Israel. ISIS, the so-called Islamic Caliphate, was responding to critics who have questioned why its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is not actively supporting Hamas in fighting Israel.

After capturing vast swathes of Iraq and Syria, ISIS declared the regions under its control as a "Caliphate", or Islamic state, and appointed Baghdadi as "leader of the Muslims". While many jihadists celebrated the announcement, others - including Al Qaeda, which ISIS broke off from last year - have criticized the move for a variety of reasons.

Since the recent escalation between Israel and Islamist terrorists in Gaza, some of those critics have questioned why a self-declared "Caliphate" is not rushing to the aid of Muslims in the Hamas-controlled territory. In a statement a spokesperson for the group, Nidal Nuseiri reaffirmed that conquering "Bayt el-Maqdis" (Jerusalem) and destroying the State of Israel is central to the group's "jihad," or holy war.

However, he pointed out that ISIS has been taking a systematic approach in its campaign, and outlined six specific stages it said needed to be fulfilled before taking on Israel. Some of those "stages" - building a firm base for an Islamic state in Iraq, and using it as a springboard to wage war in Syria and Lebanon - have already been achieved. But he said a number of other criteria still needed to be fulfilled before challenging Israel directly.

Among them, Nuseiri said that the US - seen as Israel's greatest ally - needed to be weakened politically and economically via attacks on the American mainland, as well as US interests in Muslim countries. Additionally, the existing "Islamic State" needed to expand its borders to cover all of "Greater Syria" (which would include Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and possibly Gaza); such a state, he said, would then be in a position for a direct confrontation with Israel.

Putin: 'I Support the Struggle of Israel'

By Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday met with a delegation of rabbis, led by Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, and rabbis of the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE).

"I follow closely what's going on in Israel," said Putin during the long meeting, which was held in Moscow. "I support the struggle of Israel as it attempts to protect its citizens. I also heard about the shocking murder of the three youths. It is an act that cannot be allowed, and I ask you to transmit my condolences to the families," added the Russian president, in referring to the abduction and murder of three teens in June by Hamas terrorists.

Rabbi Yosef began by saying "according to the Jewish tradition, your leadership is decided by the kingdom of God, King of the world, and therefore we bless you: Blessed is the One who gave of His glory to flesh and blood."

The rabbi discussed the ongoing rocket barrage on Israel by terrorists in Gaza, a relentless assault that led to IDF Operation Protective Edge being launched this past Monday. "This morning I left the state of Israel, the state of the Jewish people. Several hours before I took off for here, a rocket fell right near my home in the capital of the Jewish people - Jerusalem," remarked the rabbi.

Rabbi Yosef added "I don't need to note the panic that fell on my children and grandchildren, who were forced to enter shelters despite having done nothing wrong. It is difficult to describe the psychological damage caused to them. All for the 'sin' of their being born to the Jewish people."

"Despite the difficult situation, I left everything and came here, to ask that you, mister president, act to fight against terror conducted in the name of religion," requested Rabbi Yosef. "There cannot be a situation where people manipulate religion to slaughter innocents. ...I ask you in the name of the people of Israel: please, bring an end to the violence."

Putin responded to Rabbi Yosef, asking him to tell Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that he is a true friend of Israel and of Netanyahu. Netanyahu called Putin on Thursday, and in their conversation, Putin called for an end to the conflict in Gaza.

Rabbi Lau, former Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi and current Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, spoke in the meeting about his remarkable personal story as a survivor of the Holocaust who later became the chief rabbi of Israel. In this context, Putin consulted with the rabbis on means of dealing with anti-Semitism, Holocaust deniers and preventing historical revisionism.

Putin noted that the meeting marks 73 years since the massacre of thousands of Jews in Sevastopol in 1942, remarking on the bravery of the Jews who fought against the genocidal Nazi war machine. "I remember visiting in the Yad Vashem Museum in Israel, which doesn't allow anyone to remain apathetic, and describes the horrifying atrocities that occurred in those days," said Putin.

The president added "here too in Moscow the Jewish community established a Jewish museum that gives a bitter picture of those awful years, and at the same time gives hope to the Jewish people and the Jewish community throughout Russia." `The warm meeting with the Russian president comes at a time when Israel is strengthening its relations with several major countries.

Study: Israeli ALS Patients Survive Longer Than Anywhere in the World Israel Faxx News Services

A study encompassing data collected from Israel for the first time found that the survival rate among Israelis suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is two to four times that of patients in other countries. In global terms, between 5% and 10% of ALS sufferers survive more than 10 years after being diagnosed. But in Israel, 20% of ALS patients survive longer.

ALS is a degenerative disease with no known cure. The epidemiology department of the Maccabi health maintenance organization ordered a study encompassing 456 patients diagnosed with ALS between 1997 and 2013.

The study found that approximately half of the patients survived at least five years after being diagnosed, 40% survived at least eight years after being diagnosed and more than 20% survived more than 10 years.

The Israeli survival rate is significantly higher than that of the world, which could explain why the prevalence of ALS cases in Israel is considered high (11 cases per 100,000 people) by Western standards. In Europe, the incidence of ALS is 4-8 per 100,000; in the U.S., it is 3-4 per 100,000; and only in Japan, the incidence is similar to that of Israel. It has not yet been established why the Israeli patients survive longer, but one possibility could be early diagnosis.

Almost 60% of all ALS sufferers are men, and the latest study indicated an alarming upward trend in male diagnoses in 2011-2013. In that time period, 22-23 cases were diagnosed among men annually, as opposed to 9-21 diagnoses among men annually in years prior. The average age of diagnosis is 58. "The high survival rate could be due to supportive treatment provided by the Israeli health care system, and thanks to family support systems," explained Clara Weil, a Maccabi epidemiologist.

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