Monday, March 03, 2008



More than 150 Palestinian rockets and missiles have been fired at the southern Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Sderot. The Barzilai Medical Center, the only trauma center serving the 500,000 Israelis living along the Gaza border -- a center that has been adopted by The Joshua Fund -- has also taken direct hits within the last few days. Reported one Israeli news service: "The Grad rocket that landed next to the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon on the Sabbath last week narrowly missed killing two premature babies from Gaza who were admitted to the facility. "One of the Grad rockets fell a mere 50 meters from the hospital entrance. All the premature babies in the NICU unit, including the two Palestinian babies, were transferred to the hospital's bomb shelter for fear that the hospital itself would receive a direct missile hit."

Men, women and children in the region are living in great fear. Israeli military forces have struck back, but it remains to be seen whether the current government in Jerusalem is willing to do all that is necessary to stop the Palestinian terrorists in Gaza who are firing these rockets indiscriminately, and to truly stop them once and for all.

* Please pray for peace for the Israeli residents along the southern border with Gaza, and for courage.

* Please pray for wisdom for local Israeli security and emergency response officials.

* Please pray for evangelical Christians in Israel and around the world to have wisdom and courage to know how best to bless these Israeli victims of war and terror.

Excerpts from AP story: "(Ashkelon, Israel) Residents of this beachside city are still coming to terms with being on the front lines of Israel's battle against Hamas militants. A dozen long-range rockets slammed into Ashkelon over the weekend, marking a significant turning point in the conflict and compelling Israel to strike back hard. 'Until yesterday, I never would have believed that I would see the things I saw,' said Rachel Shimoni, 66, as she stood amid shards of glass, blown out of the front window of her clothing store. 'All of a sudden, the reality has changed.' Palestinian militants fire rockets nearly daily at Sderot and other Israeli border towns near Gaza. But by reaching Ashkelon, a city of 120,000 people about 11 miles north of Gaza, Hamas raised the stakes considerably. It is one of the largest cities in southern Israel, home to Mediterranean beaches, a college and strategic installations like an electric plant and a water purification plant....Six people were wounded in Ashkelon on Saturday after one rocket landed next to City Hall and another in the marina area. Another rocket struck Ashkelon on Sunday, slightly wounding one person, medics said. Ashkelon's mayor said he would not accept the rockets becoming a normal reality. 'This is a state of war, I know no other definition for it,' said Roni Mahatzri, from his makeshift office in an underground bunker. 'If it lasts a week or two, we can handle that, but we have no intention of allowing this to become part of our daily routine.'"