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Hours of peace admist the raining hell
One Hamas rocket hit Yehud and brought international flights to Ben-Gurion Airport to a major halt last week. Hamas rockets aren't guided missiles but they still can cause massive damage to a considerable area and aircraft.

The much vaunted Iron Dome battery failed to intercept and the rocket's successful hit the viscinity of the Airport. It proved to be a strategic victory for Hamas and struck a temporary blow to Israel's economy, its physical link to the rest of the world. Furthermore it caused a considerable damage to its military clout and its international reputation for effective security.

To save face, an excuse was pushed by the government that it happened owing to a decision not to intercept the rocket. The decision, it was told, was made by the Iron Dome battery officer, ranking no higher than a captain and without the intervention of a more senior officer.

The rocket had exploded Tuesday near Israel's main airport. The world didn't believe what happened but the close friends of Israel promptly banned flights from the US, Europe and Canada. There was a fear of the fate of the tragedy of a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine by rebel forces. Hurriedly, Israel declared that Ben-Gurion Airport safe. The Israeli government reassured the world that there was no reason to "hand terror a prize" by halting flights.

The Palestinian militants, with their throats fixed on the Israeli rapiers have fired more than 2,000 rockets toward Israel since fighting began. Most of them didn't hit any target and fell harmlessly into open areas or were shot out of the sky by the "Iron Dome" defense system. The Israeli casualties were minimal and almost negligible as compared to number 1000 Palestinians, many of them were just born and toddlers.

Tuesday's Hamas rocket attack was the closest to the airport so far and largely destroyed a house, slightly injuring one Israeli in the nearby Tel Aviv suburb of Yehud. The US Federal Aviation Administration had prohibited American airlines from flying to Tel Aviv for 24 hours "due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza."

Later, the European Aviation Safety Agency issued an advisory to airlines saying it "strongly recommends" airlines avoid the airport. Germany's Lufthansa, Air France, Air Canada, Alitalia, Dutch KLM, Britain's easyJet, Turkish Airlines and Greece's Aegean Airlines were among those carriers canceling flights to Tel Aviv over safety concerns amid the increasing violence. For instance, unguided mortar fire in Tripoli from a militia battling to control its international airport destroyed an Airbus A330 on the ground over the weekend.

The Tel Aviv airport is Israel's main gateway to the world and Hamas militants know it is a key to disrupt life in Israel.

Israel said that five more of its soldiers were killed in pre-truce fighting in Gaza, bringing the army death toll to 40 as troops battled militants in the tiny Mediterranean enclave that is home to 1.8 million Palestinians.

The time this article was being written there were reports that Israel has approved a four-hour extension of a temporary truce in Gaza. According to Israeli media, the Palestinian death toll has already topped 1,000 with the retrieval of more than 130 bodies.

But it is peace bought for hours only.

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