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Rocket rains shrapnel on cruise ship leaving Israeli port

July 9, 2014 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Shrapnel from a rocket fired by radical Palestinian group Hamas rained down on the deck of a German cruise ship with giant lips painted on its bow, according to German media.

The 60,203 ton German cruise ship Aidadiva (see photo) was sailing out of the Israeli port of Ashdod at the time and was apparently caught up in rocket fire from Hamas aimed at Israel.

Ashdod, a major Israeli deepwater port, is 32 kilometres south of Tel Aviv and a similar distance north of the Gaza strip. Air-raid sirens were sounding in the city as the Adiadiva set sail, “and then a rocket exploded above the vessel shocking many of the passengers who were mainly German”, one outlet reported.Adiadiva

No damage or injuries were reported.

Israel and Hamas have been attacking each other in recent days after the killings of three Jewish teenagers, an act Israel says was carried out by Hamas, and the abduction and killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian Arab boy in Jerusalem in an apparent reprisal. Israeli police have arrested six people in connection with the latter killing.

German cruise sites say Germany had issued no travel alert before the Aidadiva incident but has now issued one.

If that’s the case, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) got in first, having updated its advisory last Friday, 4 July 2014, warning of violent clashes in the Shuafat and Beit Hanina neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem “resulting in injuries and increased rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel”.

“These incidents may continue,” DFAT warned.

“Australians should avoid these areas until further notice. The overall level of advice remains at exercise a high degree of caution in Israel due to the threat of terrorist attack and the threat of rocket fire. We continue to advise Australians to reconsider their need to travel to the West Bank and not to travel to the Gaza Strip and surrounding areas in southern Israel.”  DFAT’s advisory level for the whole of Israel remains “exercise a high degree of caution”.

The BBC reports that at least 15 Palestinians, including two women and a child, were reportedly hurt in the latest rocket strikes against Israel.

Hamas said it fired rockets to respond to what it termed “Zionist aggression”, after accusing Israel of killing five of its fighters. Israel, which denies killing the fighters, has now begun an open-ended operation to end rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel says the operation will be expanded in coming days. Israeli warplanes are pounding targets in the Gaza Strip and Israel has called up 40,000 reservists for a possible ground assault on Gaza to deal with the militants, whose rocket fire has reached as far as Tel Aviv, about 70 kilometres away.

Written by Peter Needham

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