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Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

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Brace Yourselves, New Yorkers, You’re Due for a Major Quake

A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.

Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.

The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.

Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.

A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”
That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.

New York, she says, is positively vivisected by faults. Most of them fall into two groups—those running northeast and those running northwest. Combined they create a brittle grid underlying much of Manhattan.

Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.

That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).

It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.

Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.

Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.
His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.

Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.

These faults, he says, do a lot to explain the geological history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. They were created millions of years ago, when what is now the East Coast was the site of a violent subduction zone not unlike those present now in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.

You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich Village. But if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.

In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.

The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.

Remember: The Big Apple has experienced an M 5.0 quake about every hundred years. The last one was that 1884 event. And that, says Merguerian, means the city is overdue. Just how overdue?

“Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”

He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.

“These guys are loaded,” he tells me.

He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.

“We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.

What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.

That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.

Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.

“So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”

Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.

He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.

He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).

“We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” says Merguerian. “And that’s a big mistake.”

Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

Violence Erupts Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Israel carried out airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Monday after dozens of rockets were fired from the Palestinian territory into Israel. Clashes which erupted during an Israeli special forces operation in Gaza late Sunday had threatened to derail efforts to restore calm to the Palestinian enclave after months of unrest.

At least two Palestinians were killed in Gaza on Monday. Seven were killed in the overnight clashes, one of whom was a local commander for Hamas’s armed wing. One Israeli army officer was also killed. At least six Israelis were injured later on Monday when dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short a trip to Paris to commemorate the end of World War I to rush home as tensions rose.

Israeli operation goes wrong

Israel stressed its Sunday operation was an intelligence-gathering mission and “not an assassination or abduction.”

The statement from Israeli military spokesman Ronen Manelis signalled that the mission did not go as planned and resulted in the clash, which Palestinian security sources said included Israeli air strikes.

An Israeli ground operation to kill or abduct militants inside the Gaza Strip would be rare.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the blockaded enclave, and its armed wing, spoke of a “cowardly Israeli attack” and an “assassination”, vowing revenge.

Hamas’s armed wing said an Israeli special forces team had infiltrated near Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip in a civilian car. Israeli air strikes followed when the operation failed, it said in a statement.

Israel’s military had not confirmed those details.

Gaza’s health ministry said seven Palestinians were killed.

Palestinians sit at the remains of a building that was destroyed by an Israeli air strike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip

The dead included a local commander for Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the brigades said in a statement. He was identified as Nour Baraka.

Five others were also Al-Qassam members, while the seventh was a member of a separate militant alliance known as the Popular Resistance Committees, according to Gazan security sources.

Israel’s army confirmed one of its officers was killed and another was injured.

“During an (Israeli) special forces operational activity in the Gaza Strip, an exchange of fire evolved,” the army said in a statement.

“At this incident, an IDF officer was killed and an additional officer was moderately injured,” it added, referring to the Israel Defense Forces and identifying the officer only by his rank, lieutenant colonel, and the first letter of his name, M.

Nascent cease-fire threatened

Netanyahu, who had been attending World War I commemorations in Paris, arrived back home on Monday and was to convene a meeting of security chiefs.

The clash comes after months of deadly unrest along the Gaza-Israel border, which had appeared to be calming.

Recent weeks have seen Israel allow Qatar to provide the Gaza Strip with millions of dollars in aid for salaries as well as fuel to help ease an electricity crisis.

Netanyahu had earlier defended his decision to allow Qatar to transfer the cash to Gaza despite criticism from within his own government over the move, saying he wanted to avoid a war if it wasn’t necessary.

Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu’s education minister and right-wing rival, compared the cash flow to “protection money” paid to criminals.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he had opposed transferring the money to Hamas.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008, and recent months of unrest have raised fears of a fourth.

Deadly clashes have accompanied major protests along the Gaza-Israel border that began on March 30.

At least 227 Palestinians have since been killed by Israeli fire, the majority shot during protests and clashes, while others died in tank fire or air strikes.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed in that time.

Egyptian and UN officials have been mediating between Israel and Hamas in efforts to reach a long-term truce deal.

On Friday, Palestinian civil servants began receiving payments after months of sporadic salary disbursements in cash-strapped Gaza, with $15 million delivered into the enclave through Israel in suitcases by Qatar.

A total of $90 million is to be distributed in six monthly installments, Gaza authorities said, primarily to cover salaries of officials working for Hamas.

Qatar has also said it would hand out $100 to each of 50,000 poor families, as well as larger sums to Palestinians wounded in clashes along the Gaza-Israel border.

The Gulf emirate has also started buying additional fuel for Gaza’s sole power station, allowing outages to be reduced to their lowest level in years.

Russia Now Threatens the German Nuclear Horn (Daniel 7)

A Russian Yars RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missile system drives through Red Square in Moscow, on May 7, 2015, during Victory Day parade rehearsals. The Kremlin’s development of the short- to medium-range Novator 9M729 missile threatens the Cold War-era INF Treaty. Photo: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

Russia Has Deployed Nuclear Missiles That Can Reach Germany, Claims Lithuania Foreign Minister

On Wednesday, November 14, 2018 – 10:54

Russia has been violating an international arms control agreement for years, the foreign minister of Lithuania has claimed, giving Moscow the ability to fire banned nuclear weapons at targets as far away as Berlin.

Linas Linkevicius told Deutsche Welle the Kremlin has been ignoring the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty for some time, leaving all of central and eastern Europe at threat from Russian missiles.

The treaty was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, banning ground-launch nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges from 500 kilometers (310 miles) to 5,500 kilometers (3,417 miles). This forced the superpower foes to remove roughly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles from the front lines, eliminating a dangerous element from the Cold War equation.

But in recent years, Vladimir Putin is believed to have overseen an expansion of short- and medium-range weaponry, likely even deploying missiles to Russia’s western frontiers and Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.

The medium-range nuclear-capable Novator 9M729 missile—known to NATO as the SSC-8—is the catalyst for the impending treaty collapse. Little information about the weapon has been released by the U.S., but a 2016 State Department report alleged that its range fell within the bracket banned by the INF Treaty.

Linkevicius explained to Deutsche Welle: “We all understand that all these arms control agreements are very important. But a very important condition is that all parties must comply. So if not, something should be done in order to force them to. So far, all the calls and the criticism have had no effect.”

The minister said Lithuanians were seriously concerned about missile proliferation in Russia. “When Russians are talking about balance, about adequate responses, it’s by no means adequate because we do not have defense capabilities. And we’re not going to be aggressive. But this is really not a move for confidence building.”

“And by the way, these missiles can reach not just Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius, but also Berlin,” Linkevicius added. “And they’re nuclear-capable. So I believe it’s really an escalation measure.”

Last month, President Donald Trump said he would withdraw the U.S. from the INF Treaty, citing consistent Russian non-compliance. “Russia has violated the agreement,” the president told reporters after a rally in Nevada. “They’ve been violating it for many years and I don’t know why President [Barack] Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out.”

“We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and do weapons and we’re not allowed to,” he added. “We’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement so we’re going to terminate the agreement, we’re going to pull out.”

Unwrapping Nuclear Armageddon (Revelation 16)

Intermediate-range missiles on display at the Korean War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea. | Lee Jin-man / AP

Unwrapping armageddon: U.S. discards another nuclear weapons treaty

Conn Hallinan

The decision by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Force Agreement (INF) appears to be part of a broader strategy aimed at unwinding over 50 years of agreements to control and limit nuclear weapons, returning to an era characterized by the unbridled development weapons of mass destruction.

Terminating the INF treaty—which bans land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of between 300 and 3,400 miles— is not, in and of itself, a fatal blow to the network of treaties and agreements dating back to the 1963 treaty that ended atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons. But coupled with other actions—George W. Bush’s decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 2002 and the Obama administration’s program to upgrade the nuclear weapons infrastructure—the tapestry of agreements that has, at least in part, limited these terrifying creations, is looking increasingly frayed.

National Security Adviser John Bolton is a key voice in the Trump administration advocating a U.S. exit from any treaty that might restrain American power–whether military or economic. Here, Bolton speaks at a Federalist Society luncheon at the Mayflower Hotel, Sept. 10, in Washington. | Andrew Harnik / AP

“Leaving the INF,” says Sergey Rogov of the Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies, “could bring the whole structure of arms control crashing down.”

Lynn Rusten, the former senior director for arms control in the National Security Agency Council warns, “This is opening the door to an all-out arms race.”

Washington’s rationale for exiting the INF Treaty is that the Russians deployed the 9M729 cruise missile that the US claims violates the agreement, although Moscow denies it and the evidence has not been made public. Russia countercharges that the U.S. ABM system—Aegis Ashore—deployed in Romania and planned for Poland could be used to launch similar medium range missiles.

If this were a disagreement over weapon capability, inspections would settle the matter. But the White House—in particular National Security Advisor John Bolton—is less concerned with inspections than extracting the U.S. from agreements that in any way restrain the use of American power, be it military or economic. Thus, Trump dumped the Iran nuclear agreement, not because Iran is building nuclear weapons or violating the agreement, but because the administration wants to use economic sanctions to pursue regime change in Tehran.

In some ways, the INF agreement is low hanging fruit. The 1987 treaty banned only land-based medium range missiles, not those launched by sea or air—where the Americans hold a strong edge—and it only covered the U.S. and Russia (then the Soviet Union). Other nuclear-armed countries, particularly China, India, North Korea, Israel, and Pakistan have deployed a number of medium range nuclear-armed missiles. One of the arguments Bolton makes for exiting the INF is that it would allow the U.S. to counter China’s medium range missiles.

But if the concern was controlling intermediate range missiles, the obvious path would be to expand the treaty to other nations and include air- and sea-launched weapons. Not that that would be easy. China has lots of intermediate range missiles, because most its potential antagonists, like Japan or U.S. bases in Asia, are within the range of such missiles. The same goes for Pakistan, India, and Israel.

Intermediate range weapons—sometimes called “theater” missiles—do not threaten the U.S. mainland the way that similar U.S. missiles threaten China and Russia. Beijing and Moscow can be destroyed by long-range intercontinental missiles, but also by theater missiles launched from ships or aircraft. One of the reasons that Europeans are so opposed to withdrawing from the INF is that, in the advent of nuclear war, medium range missiles on their soil will make them a target.

But supposed violations of the treaty is not why Bolton and the people around him oppose the agreement. Bolton called for withdrawing from the INF Treaty three years before the Obama administration charged the Russians with cheating. Indeed, Bolton has opposed every effort to constrain nuclear weapons and has already announced that the Trump administration will not extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) when it expires in 2021.

START caps the number of U.S. and Russian deployed nuclear weapons at 1,550, no small number.

The Bush administration’s withdrawal from the 1972 ABM treaty in 2002 was the first major blow to the treaty framework. Anti-ballistic missiles are inherently destabilizing, because the easiest way to defeat such systems is to overwhelm them by expanding the number of launchers and warheads. Bolton—a longtime foe of the ABM agreement—recently bragged that dumping the treaty had no effect on arms control.

But the treaty’s demise has shelved START talks, and it was the ABM’s deployment in Eastern Europe—along with NATO’s expansion up to the Russian borders—that led to Moscow deploying the cruise missile now in dispute.

While Bolton and Trump are more aggressive about terminating agreements, it was the Obama administration’s decision to spend $1.6 trillion to upgrade and modernize U.S. nuclear weapons that now endangers one of the central pillars of the nuclear treaty framework, the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

That agreement ended the testing of nuclear weapons, slowing the development of new weapons, particularly miniaturization and warheads with minimal yields. The former would allow more warheads on each missile, the latter could increase the possibility of using nuclear weapons without setting off a full-scale nuclear exchange.

Nukes are tricky to design, so you don’t want to deploy one without testing it. The Americans have bypassed some of the obstacles created by the CTBT by using computers like the National Ignition Facility. The B-61 Mod 11 warhead, soon-to-be-deployed in Europe, was originally a city killer, but labs at Livermore, California and Los Alamos and Sandia, New Mexico turned it into a bunker buster, capable of taking out command and control centers buried deep in the ground.

Nevertheless, the military and the nuclear establishment—ranging from companies such as Lockheed Martin and Honeywell International to university research centers—have long felt hindered by the CTBT. Add the Trump administration’s hostility to anything that constrains U.S. power and the CTBT may be next on the list.

Restarting nuclear testing will end any controls on weapons of mass destruction. And since Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) requires nuclear-armed powers to eventually disarm their weapons of mass destruction, that agreement may go as well. In a very short time, countries like South Korea, Japan, and Saudi Arabia will join the nuclear club, with South Africa and Brazil in the wings. The latter two countries researched producing nuclear weapons in the 1980s, and South Africa actually tested one.

The demise of the INF agreement will edge the world closer to nuclear war. Since medium range missiles shorten the warning time for a nuclear attack from 30 minutes to 10 minutes or less, countries will keep their weapons on a hair trigger. “Use them or lose them” is the philosophy that impels the tactics of nuclear war.

In the past year, Russia and NATO held very large military exercises on one another’s borders. Russian, U.S., and Chinese fighter planes routinely play games of chicken. What happens when one of those “games” goes wrong?

The U.S. and the Soviet Union came within minutes of an accidental war on at least two occasions, and, with so many actors and so many weapons, it will be only a matter of time before some country interprets a radar image incorrectly and goes to DEFCON 1—imminent nuclear war.

The INF Treaty came about because of strong opposition and huge demonstrations in Europe and the United States. That kind of pressure, coupled with a pledge by countries not to deploy such weapons, will be required again, lest the entire tapestry of agreements that kept the horror of nuclear war at bay vanish.

Babylon the Great Builds Up Her Nuclear Horn


Published 12:58 p.m. ET Oct. 22, 2018 | Updated 6:48 p.m. ET Oct. 22, 2018

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Monday he would build up America’s nuclear arsenal in response to what he portrayed as growing threats from Russia and China.

“Until people come to their senses, we will build it up,” Trump said in reference to U.S. nuclear weapons capacity. “We have more money than anybody else by far.”

Trump also reiterated his intention to withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty with Russia, which he accused of violating the pact.

“I’m terminating the agreement,” Trump told reporters before leaving for a campaign rally in Texas. “Russia has not adhered to the agreement. This should have been done years ago.”

Trump first announced plans to withdraw from the three-decades-old accord, commonly referred to as the INF Treaty, during a campaign rally over the weekend. The agreement, signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, required the U.S. and Russia to destroy ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between approximately 310 and 3,400 miles, along with supporting equipment.

The White House says Russia is breaking the accord by producing or testing ground-launched nuclear cruise missiles with that range. Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Trump made the threat of a nuclear weapons build-up shortly after his national security adviser, John Bolton, landed in Moscow for a series of previously scheduled meetings.

White House officials said Bolton would focus on a broad range of issues, from arms control to the Syrian civil war. But Putin’s spokesman said they would use the meetings to demand answers from Bolton about the fate of the nuclear accord.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expects “a detailed explanation” of Trump’s threat to withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty, a Kremlin spokesman said Monday before Bolton’s meetings began.

“Putin has always said that scrapping this document would cause damage to global security and stability,” Dmitry Peskov, the Russian leader’s spokesman, said Monday, according to the state-controlled media outlet Tass. “We would like to receive a detailed explanation from the U.S.”

European leaders have not disputed U.S. allegations of Russian cheating. But they’ve expressed concerns that Trump’s plan to nix the treaty will lead to a new nuclear arms race.

The INF treaty “contributed to the end of the cold-war and constitutes a pillar of European security architecture since it entered into force 30 years ago,” the EU said in a statement Monday. It noted that the treaty led to the elimination of nearly 3,000 missiles with nuclear and conventional warheads have been removed and verifiably destroyed and urged the U.S. and Russia to resolve its differences over the accord.

“The world doesn’t need a new arms race that would benefit no one and on the contrary would bring even more instability,” the EU statement says. .

Trump’s announcement also sparked concern among some members of Congress.

“They’re a nuclear power, and I think it’s foolish of us to get out of the INF treaty willy-nilly or flippantly,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told reporters during a conference call Monday. “We should be appointing arms negotiators to work out our differences.”

Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., told CNN on Sunday that Trump’s decision could undermine other disarmament agreements. He said he hoped Trump would reconsider.

“Maybe this is just a move to say, ‘Look … if you don’t straighten up we’re moving out of this’,” Corker said. “… And I hope that’s the case.”

But Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said it was “absolutely the right move” to nix the treaty. “The Russians have been cheating,” Graham said on Fox News.

@AmbJohnBolton began his visit to Moscow by meeting with Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. They discussed a wide range of topics including strategic arms control, Syria, Iran, North Korea and the fight against terrorism. https://t.co/KToxiqmLU7

— Andrea Kalan (@USEmbRuPress) October 22, 2018

Contributing: The Associated Press

Russia is “Winning” the Nuclear Race

In most of the industrialized world, nuclear energy has lost its appeal due to, among other reasons, the disaster at Fukushima in 2011. Few countries have ordered new plants to supplement or replace aging ones. China is an exception with 44 reactors under construction meaning that by 2030 almost 150 GW of nuclear energy will be produced. Saudi-Arabia could become the second largest growth market and a boon to companies specialized in nuclear energy across the world. Riyadh will order its first two reactors in 2019 and an additional 19 power plants until 2030.

As there are no Saudi companies with the required nuclear know-how, expertise will be provided by foreign companies. Several corporations have been shortlisted to provide the necessary expertise. In order to export American nuclear technology, Congress needs to approve the deal. Strong ties and mutual interests such as the containing of Iran would have smoothened a deal on nuclear energy in the past. Recent developments, however, paint a gloomier picture.

Saudi-U.S. relations and challenges

Washington has maintained close relations with Riyadh since the end of Second World War due to the Arab country’s strategic importance. Every president has dedicated precious time and resources to maintain good relations with the Saudis. President Trump is no exception. The destination of his first foreign trip was Saudi-Arabia where $110 billion in military hardware deals were signed.

Despite Riyadh making several foreign policy blunders such as the blockade of Qatar and alleged kidnapping of Lebanese prime minister Hariri, Washington’s support for Saudi-Arabia remained unchallenged. Even the disastrous war in Yemen didn’t change the situation. The murder of one man, however, could possibly do more harm.

The killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul and the obvious involvement of senior leaders in Riyadh have fraught relations. Section 123 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 requires several prerequisites as guarantees for the peaceful use of nuclear energy before foreign companies and states are able to use American technology. Five key Republican Senators are pushing President Trump to take punitive actions. According to Senator Marco Rubio “no relationship is too big to fail”.

In addition, Democratic Senator Edward Markey urged Trump to “suspend discussions on civilian nuclear cooperation with Saudi-Arabia and to revoke any approvals for the transfer of nuclear services, technology or assistance”. Bipartisan pressure on Trump’s administration threatens to derail negotiations. This was before the midterms. The Democrats, which after 8 years have regained control over the House of Representatives, are more critical towards Riyadh on the subject of Khashoggi than the Republicans. This could become a serious challenge for the U.S. administration and for U.S. companies trying to do business in Saudi Arabia going forward.

Russia’s potential win

Among the countries vying for lucrative contracts to build nuclear power plants, is Russia’s state-controlled Rosatom. The company is currently constructing 34 reactors in 12 countries while several other states have shown interest. The order book has increased to $300 billion which adds up to 60 percent of all nuclear power plants under construction. In order to land new deals and service existing agreements in the Arab world, Rosatom has opened an office in Dubai.

Until recently, Russia and Saudi-Arabia were competitors on the global energy market with little cooperation between the energy superpowers. The dramatic fall of oil prices caused by the surge of U.S. shale forced the countries to cooperate which led to the OPEC+ agreement and increased prices. According to Minister of Energy, Khalid Al-Falih Saudi-Arabia is also considering investing $5 billion in the Arctic-2 LNG project led by Novatek and Total.

Although it cannot be said with certainty that Rosatom will receive lucrative orders, Moscow has positioned itself well in recent years to profit from good relations with Riyadh. In case Washington decides to withhold American nuclear technology, Riyadh has plenty of alternatives. The extended track record of Rosatom and attractive conditions have in the past assured the nuclear energy giant of several deals. The Russians meet, on paper at least, the requirements to succeed in Saudi-Arabia which will be assisted by the absence of American competitors.

By Vanand Meliksetian for Oilprice.com

Closer to the First Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

Muzaffarabad: President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Sardar Masood Khan, on Tuesday made a threatening statement against India by saying that Indian “obstinacy on the Kashmir issue” could trigger a nuclear war in South Asia.

“India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir and Indian obstinacy on the Kashmir issue, along with inhuman atrocities in Kashmir and Indian shelling on the civilian population living along the Line of Control (LoC) could bring both nuclear-armed states to the brink of another devastating war,” Khan threatened.

There is no possible military solution to the Kashmir issue and India will have to initiate dialogues with Pakistan to find a ‘peaceful’ resolution to this conflict, he said.

Speaking to a delegation of 48th Pakistan Navy Staff Course participants in Muzaffarabad, Khan said Pakistan always sought peaceful resolution on Kashmir through dialogues but India “is adamant to settle the issue through military might by suppressing the voice of Kashmiri people for their internationally recognized right to self-determination”.

“It is high time for the United Nations Secretary-General to take a step forward and appoint a special representative to explore a viable solution to the conflict of Kashmir and to ensure peace and stability in the region,” he said.

“The United Nations and world powers need to intervene in setting a stage for the resolution of Kashmir before the two nuclear states of India and Pakistan indulge in a full-fledged war which will be a monumental disaster that will engulf not only the region but large part of the world,” Khan emphasized.

Khan went on a further verbal assault on India’s laws such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) and called them ‘draconian’, alleging that our laws give impunity to the Indian army in Kashmir, so much so that “an Indian soldier can shoot to kill any at will and he will not be accountable to anybody or any agency for prosecution”.

Deadly Fire Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

Buildings in the southern Israeli town of Ashkelon were hit by rockets fired from Gaza

Israel-Gaza: Deadly fire traded across border

▪ 13 November 2018 Middle East

Eight people have been killed in a flare-up of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

More than 460 rockets have been fired into Israel by militants since Monday night, while Israeli aircraft have hit 160 militant targets in response.

Seven Palestinians, several of them militants, died in the strikes on Gaza, while a Palestinian civilian was killed in a rocket attack in southern Israel.

Later, Palestinian militant groups said Egypt had brokered a ceasefire.

The military wing of Hamas, the Islamist movement that dominates Gaza, said it would “abide by this declaration as long as the Zionist enemy commits to it”.

A senior Israeli official appeared to confirm the report . Israeli media quoted the official as saying: “Israel maintains its right to act. Requests from Hamas for a ceasefire came through four different mediators.

“Israel responded that the events on the ground will decide [how it proceeds].”

The escalation began when an undercover Israeli special forces operation inside Gaza was exposed on Sunday. A Hamas commander was among seven militants killed in clashes, and an Israeli lieutenant-colonel in the undercover unit also died.

Recently there had been signs that the UN and Egypt had made progress in an effort to secure a truce on the Gaza border, where more than 200 Palestinians have been killed in protests since March.

The Israeli military has been accused of using excessive force against protesters, but has said its soldiers have only opened fire in self-defence or on potential attackers trying to infiltrate its territory.

How serious is the latest violence?

After a brief lull following Sunday night’s violence, a barrage of rockets and mortars was launched towards Israel late on Monday, which Israeli medics said killed one person and injured 28.

A bus, which had reportedly been carrying troops, was hit by an anti-tank missile in the Shaar Hanegev region , seriously wounding a male soldierOvernight, a man was killed when a block of flats in Ashkelon was hit by a rocket. He was later identified as a Palestinian from the occupied West Bank who had been working in Israel.

Eight other people were injured in the attack, including two women who the Israeli ambulance service said were in a serious condition.

In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out what it called a wide-scale attack against military targets belonging to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups.

Israeli aircraft struck the Hamas interior security headquarters in Gaza City

It said they included Hamas’s military intelligence headquarters in northern Gaza and “a unique vessel” in a harbour in the south of the territory.

The building housing Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV was also bombed after being evacuated. The IDF said the outlet “contributes to Hamas’s military actions”.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said seven people were killed and 26 others injured in the strikes. At least four of the dead were militants; two are said to have been farmers in northern Gaza.

This is one of the most serious rounds of fighting since Israel and Hamas fought a war in 2014.

The IDF has warned it is prepared to “dial up its response” to the rocket fire, while Hamas’s military wing said it was ready to “expand the circle of fire” against Israel.

UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said the escalation was “extremely dangerous” and that efforts were being made to pull Gaza “back from the brink”.

Escalation threatens to derail truce efforts

By Tom Bateman, BBC News, southern Israel

This latest flare-up has shown again how swiftly the pendulum can swing from the brink of a longer-term truce to the brink of all-out conflict.

For months there has been quiet yet intensive shuttle diplomacy brokered largely by Egyptian intelligence officials and Nickolay Mladenov.

Hamas sought an easing of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza amid deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions, while Israel wanted calm on the Gaza perimeter.

Some limited results were starting to be delivered – literally, in the form of fuel for Gaza’s power plant and $15m (£12m) in cash from Qatar, which was allowed into Gaza to help fund the salaries of unpaid Hamas civil servants.

But the indirect process also came under attack from internal critics on both sides, who saw it as a sign of unnecessary compromise or weakness.

The current escalation is likely to have strengthened those voices for now.

How did the violence start?

Palestinians said they discovered an undercover Israeli unit in a civilian car about 3km (2 miles) inside the Gaza Strip, east of Khan Younis, late on Sunday.

A firefight ensued in which the Hamas commander was killed. Israel launched air strikes and opened fire with tanks on the area, witnesses said. Six other militants were killed as well as one of the Israeli special forces soldiers.

Due to the secrecy of the operation, Israel has not revealed specific details about the mission.

REUTERS

Image caption

Israel carried out air strikes when Sunday night’s firefight erupted

The IDF said, however, that the operation was “not intended to kill or abduct terrorists, but to strengthen Israeli security”.

According to a former Israeli general, the incident was likely to have been an intelligence-gathering operation that went wrong.

A spokesman for Hamas denounced Sunday’s incident as a “cowardly Israeli attack”.

Why are Israel and Hamas enemies?

Hamas won Palestinian elections in 2006 and reinforced its power in the Gaza Strip after ousting West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s rival Fatah faction in clashes the following year.

While Mr Abbas’s umbrella Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has signed peace accords with Israel, Hamas does not recognise Israel’s right to exist and advocates the use of violence against it.

AFP

Schools have been ordered to close in Israeli border communities as a precaution

Israel, along with Egypt, has maintained a blockade of Gaza since about 2006 in order, they say, to stop attacks by militants.

Israel and Hamas have gone to war three times, and rocket fire from Gaza and Israeli air strikes against militant targets are a regular occurrence.

Deadly fire across the temple walls (Revelation 11:2)

Israel-Gaza: Deadly fire traded across border – BBC News

Getty Images

Seven people have been killed in a flare-up of violence between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

More than 400 rockets have been fired into Israel by militants since Monday night, while Israeli aircraft have hit 150 militant targets in response.

Six Palestinians, four of them militants, died in the strikes on Gaza, while a Palestinian civilian was killed in a rocket attack in southern Israel.

The United Nations has called on all sides to show restraint.

The escalation began when an undercover Israeli special forces operation inside Gaza was exposed on Sunday. A Hamas commander was among seven militants killed in clashes, and an Israeli lieutenant colonel in the undercover unit also died.

The incident came after apparent progress in an effort by Egypt and the UN to secure a truce on the Gaza border, where more than 200 Palestinians have been killed in protests since March.

The Israeli military has been accused of using excessive force against protesters, but has said its soldiers have only opened fire in self-defence or on potential attackers trying to infiltrate its territory

How serious is the latest violence?

After a brief lull following Sunday night’s violence, a barrage of rockets and mortars was launched towards Israel late on Monday, which Israeli medics said killed one person and injured 28.

A bus, which had reportedly been carrying troops, was hit by an anti-tank missile in the Shaar Hanegev region , seriously wounding a male soldier.

Overnight, a man was killed when a block of flats in Ashkelon was hit by a rocket. He was later identified as a Palestinian from the occupied West Bank who had been working in Israel.

Eight other people were injured in the attack, including two women who the Israeli ambulance service said were in a serious condition.

In response, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out what it called a wide-scale attack against military targets belonging to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups.

Image copyright Getty Images

Image caption Israeli air strikes targeted the Hamas-run television station Al-Aqsa

It said they included Hamas’ military intelligence headquarters in northern Gaza and “a unique vessel” in a harbour in the south of the territory.

The building housing Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV was also bombed after being evacuated. The IDF said the outlet “contributes to Hamas’s military actions”.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry said six people were killed and 25 others injured in the strikes. Four of the dead were militants and two are said to have been farmers in northern Gaza.

This is one of the most serious rounds of fighting since Israel and Hamas fought a war in 2014.

The IDF has warned it is prepared to “dial up its response” to the rocket fire, while Hamas’s military wing said it was ready to “expand the circle of fire” against Israel.

UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said the escalation was “extremely dangerous” and that efforts were being made to pull Gaza “back from the brink”.

Escalation threatens to derail truce efforts

By Tom Bateman, BBC News, southern Israel

This latest flare-up has shown again how swiftly the pendulum can swing from the brink of a longer-term truce to the brink of all-out conflict.

For months there has been quiet but intensive shuttle diplomacy brokered largely by Egyptian intelligence officials and Nickolay Mladenov.

Hamas sought an easing of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza amid deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions, while Israel wanted calm on the Gaza perimeter.

Some limited results were starting to be delivered – literally, in the form of fuel for Gaza’s power plant and $15m (£12m) in cash from Qatar, which was allowed into Gaza to help fund the salaries of unpaid Hamas civil servants.

But the indirect process also came under attack from internal critics on both sides, who saw it as a sign of unnecessary compromise or weakness.

The current escalation is likely to have strengthened those voices for now.

How did the violence start?

Palestinians said they discovered an undercover Israeli unit in a civilian car about 3km (2 miles) inside the Gaza Strip, east of Khan Younis, late on Sunday.

A firefight ensued in which the Hamas commander was killed. Israel launched air strikes and opened fire with tanks on the area, witnesses said. Six other militants were killed as well as one of the Israeli special forces soldiers.

Due to the secrecy of the operation, Israel has not revealed specific details about the mission.

The IDF said, however, that the operation was “not intended to kill or abduct terrorists, but to strengthen Israeli security”.

Earthquake Assessment For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earthquake Risk in New Jersey

by Daniel R. Dombroski, Jr.

A 10–fold increase in amplitude represents about a 32–fold increase in energy released for the same duration of shaking. The best known magnitude scale is one designed by C.F. Richter in 1935 for west coast earthquakes.

In New Jersey, earthquakes are measured with seismographs operated by the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and the Delaware Geological Survey.

An earthquake’s intensity is determined by observing its effects at a particular place on the Earth’s surface. Intensity depends on the earthquake’s magnitude, the distance from the epicenter, and local geology. These scales are based on reports of people awakening, felt movements, sounds, and visible effects on structures and landscapes. The most commonly used scale in the United States is the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, and its values are usually reported in Roman numerals to distinguish them from magnitudes.

Past damage in New Jersey

New Jersey doesn’t get many earthquakes, but it does get some. Fortunately most are small. A few New Jersey earthquakes, as well as a few originating outside the state, have produced enough damage to warrant the concern of planners and emergency managers.

Damage in New Jersey from earthquakes has been minor: items knocked off shelves, cracked plaster and masonry, and fallen chimneys. Perhaps because no one was standing under a chimney when it fell, there are no recorded earthquake–related deaths in New Jersey. We will probably not be so fortunate in the future.

Area Affected by Eastern Earthquakes

Although the United States east of the Rocky Mountains has fewer and generally smaller earthquakes than the West, at least two factors  increase the earthquake risk in New Jersey and the East. Due to geologic differences, eastern earthquakes effect areas ten times larger than western ones of the same magnitude. Also, the eastern United States is more densely populated, and New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation.

Geologic Faults and Earthquakes in New Jersey

Although there are many faults in New Jersey, the Ramapo Fault, which separates the Piedmont and Highlands Physiographic Provinces, is the best known. In 1884 it was blamed for a damaging New York City earthquake simply because it was the only large fault mapped at the time. Subsequent investigations have shown the 1884 earthquake epicenter was actually located in Brooklyn, New York, at least 25 miles from the Ramapo Fault.

However, numerous minor earthquakes have been recorded in the Ramapo Fault Zone, a 10 to 20 mile wide area lying adjacent to, and west of, the actual fault.

More recently, in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, earthquake risk along the Ramapo Fault received attention because of its proximity to the Indian Point, New York, Nuclear Power Generating Station. East of the Rocky Mountains (including New Jersey), earthquakes do not break the ground surface. Their focuses lie at least a few miles below the Earth’s surface, and their locations are determined by interpreting seismographic records. Geologic fault lines seen on the surface today are evidence of ancient events. The presence or absence of mapped faults (fault lines) does not denote either a seismic hazard or the lack of one, and earthquakes can occur anywhere in New Jersey.

Frequency of Damaging Earthquakes in New Jersey

Records for the New York City area, which have been kept for 300 years, provide good information

for estimating the frequency of earthquakes in New Jersey.

Earthquakes with a maximum intensity of VII (see table DamagingEarthquakes Felt in New Jersey )have occurred in the New York City area in 1737, 1783, and 1884. One intensity VI, four intensity V’s, and at least three intensity III shocks have also occurred in the New York area over the last 300 years.

The time–spans between the intensity VII earthquakes were 46 and 101 years. This, and data for the smaller–intensity quakes, implies a return period of 100 years or less, and suggests New Jersey is overdue for a moderate earthquake like the one of 1884.

Buildings and Earthquakes

The 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, is an example of what might happen in New Jersey in a similar quake. It registered a magnitude 7.2 on the Richter scale and produced widespread destruction. But it was the age of construction, soil and foundation condition, proximity to the fault, and type of structure that were the major determining factors in the performance of each building. Newer structures, built to the latest construction standards, appeared to perform relatively well, generally ensuring the life safety of occupants.

New Jersey’s building code has some provisions for earthquake–resistant design. But there are no requirements for retrofitting existing buildingsnot even for unreinforced masonry structures that are most vulnerable to earthquake damage. Housing of this type is common in New Jersey’s crowded urban areas. If an earthquake the size of New York City’s 1884 quake (magnitude 5.5) were to occur today, severe damage would result. Fatalities would be likely.

Structures have collapsed in New Jersey without earthquakes; an earthquake would trigger many more. Building and housing codes need to be updated and strictly enforced to properly prepare for inevitable future earthquakes.

More Killed Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

People gather Monday around a vehicle destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza.Israel defends secret Gaza operation that led to death of IDF solider and Hamas commander

(CNN)The Israeli army has defended a secret operation inside Gaza that left one of its officers dead, after it was forced to pull out its soldiers in an effort that ended in the deaths of seven Palestinians, including a senior Hamas military commander.

The exchange, near the city of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza strip, led to a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel that injured at least 11.The sudden escalation of tensions threatens to derail recent initiatives aimed at alleviating the humanitarian situation facing Gaza’s two million residents.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) identified the dead Israeli soldier only as Lt. Col. M. Another officer was wounded. Army chief Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said the officer had been killed in a “very meaningful operation to Israel’s security,” adding that the army owed him “more than we can say.”
Hamas named a commander of its armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, Nour Baraka, as among the seven Palestinians killed.
Questioned on Israeli radio, IDF chief spokesman, Ronen Manelis, refused to give details of the IDF operation, but defended the decision to undertake it.
“Each of these operations is planned in the most serious manner,” Manelis said. “It is an operation that takes time to plan. Commanding it directly are the Head of Intelligence and the Chief of General Staff. We are talking about an operation that was well planned right down to the smallest of details.”
Hinting that the operation was part of a wider intelligence-gathering sweep, Manelis said, “It is the sort of thing that takes place every night, and in most instances remains under the media’s radar.”
This time, the soldiers had found themselves in a “very complicated situation,” Manelis wrote on social media.

Israeli soldiers near the southern Israel-Gaza border on Monday.

According to a statement from the Qassam Brigades, Israeli officers had entered southern Gaza in a civilian car, which was then discovered by Qassam militants led by commander Nour Baraka, who was killed along with another militant Mohammed Al-Qara, in the ensuing gun battle.
The Qassam statement said that Israeli warplanes then carried out airstrikes to provide cover while the soldiers escaped on an Israeli helicopter that had landed nearby to extract them.
Militants also said that the Israeli air force had destroyed the civilian car used in the operation, and distributed photos of what they said was the burned-out car Monday.
Hamas accused Israel of hypocrisy. Musa Abu-Marzouq, a senior member of the Hamas Political Bureau, said in a statement on Monday morning, the Israeli military operation in Gaza “exposed the Israeli occupation’s hypocritical behavior with the international community.”
A barrage of rocket fire was directed at Israel following the Palestinian deaths. The Israeli army said 80 rockets were launched from Gaza towards Israel in one hour Monday, some of which were intercepted by the IDF’s Iron Dome aerial defense system.
An Israeli bus was hit by an anti-tank missile from Gaza on Monday afternoon, the Israeli military said. One person was seriously injured, according to ZAKA, a volunteer emergency response service.
Ten other people were wounded after rockets were fired towards the town of Sderot.

Israeli security forces and firefighters gather near the bus hit by fire from Gaza.

Three people were killed and foud injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said. The ministry said it had increased the level of alertness at hospitals and among ambulance units in Gaza, in anticipation of a possible escalation of hostilities.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the two prominent militant groups in Gaza, announced that their fighters were also on high alert. Israel blamed Islamic Jihad for the last sharp escalation over Gaza two weeks ago, accusing the group of firing dozens of rockets at Israel at the instruction of Iran.
The developments came just days after Qatar sent $15 million into Gaza in an attempt to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the coastal enclave and reduce tensions along the Gaza border, which has seen often violent clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters.

Relatives mourn a Palestinian man killed in an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis, Gaza, on Monday.

Hamas hailed the money as a victory for the Islamist group, saying it would go to pay salaries of civil servants in Gaza, and help care for those wounded in the weekly clashes.
Netanyahu, who approved the transfer of the Qatari money through Israel into Gaza, had defended the payments, saying in Paris on Sunday before the latest round of violence that he was trying to avoid an “unnecessary war.”
Speaking to reporters, he said: “I am working in every direction to try to return the calm to the residents of the Gaza periphery and also to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. This is the decision that the [Israeli] security cabinet has made.”
But Netanyahu had also struck a note of caution, suggesting he sees a long-term arrangement with Hamas in Gaza as impossible. “There is no diplomatic solution to Gaza,” he said.