Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief

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Front Row Seat


We left Jerusalem early in the morning, o'dark thirty, as some would say. We got an early start to get down to the Gaza-Israel border to witness and report on the ongoing clash between Hamas and Israel.

By this point, Hamas had fired nearly 200 rockets into Israel since the weekend. Israel war planes responded by hitting rocket launchers and munitions factories.

We drove south ... Down route 1, then 3, then past Kiryat Malachi and soon we knew we were in rocket range.

It's an odd feeling to know any moment a rocket could hurdle from the sky at supersonic sound and rain death. Yet we felt a peace after praying and asking others to pray that, as the Psalmist says, we would be "under the shadow of the Almighty."

We drove on. Finally we got to the road that runs parallel to the border with Gaza. You could call it rocket alley, the place where many rockets have fallen through the years.

We saw "horse hill," a great overlook to see into Gaza. It's named "horse hill" (or at least I call it horse hill) because there's a large metal statue of a horse there.

We drove up and saw a dozen or so still photographers waiting to shoot the rockets being fired out of Gaza. These are the guys who have lenses that look like a small telescope.

We didn't have to wait long. The photographers whirled the cameras into position and clicked off dozens of pictures. Off in the distance you could see the diagonal contrail of a rocket.

The first one was far away but later ones were much closer. They streaked out of Gaza and screeched upwards. You saw them and heard their rapport that seemed to rip the air in two. But after the scream of the Hamas rockets, you often heard the boom of the Iron Dome anti-rocket system that shot many of the Hamas rockets down.

One time we saw four missiles intercepted by the Iron Dome. White puffs of smoke dotted the sky where the Iron Dome hit the rockets.

Watching this scene was like being in a shooting gallery. I had never seen anything like it! Except this wasn't some arcade at the fair. This was real and deadly.

These rockets rained down terror and kept more than a million Israelis in a deadly prison of Russian roulette, wondering where and when the next rocket would hit. Later we found out one of these rockets killed three Israelis in Kiryat Milachi, the place we passed earlier that morning.

We knew what Hamas was doing, but more importantly was why: they want to kill Jews and destroy Israel. This ideology fuels not only their rockets but their hearts.

Watching this shooting gallery made me feel I was on the front lines of Islam's worldwide battle against the West. A big difference in the fighting is that Hamas and other terror groups -- like Islamic Jihad -- are firing indiscriminately into civilian areas.

Israel, on the other hand, is using pinpoint munitions to reduce or eliminate civilian casualties.

Another seldom reported item is that Israel has also dropped thousands of leaflets warning Gaza residents to get out of harm's way.

We weren't prepared for what we saw this morning, but judging from the determination of Hamas to destroy Israel and Israeli leaders to preserve the Jewish state, we might be in for a long battle.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Friday, November 16, 2012 1:36 AM



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