Merkava tank in action
Merkava tank in actionIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Israel has complained to the United Nations after an escalation in Gaza terrorist attacks, including the first firing of an advanced Kornet anti-tank missile from Gaza that penetrated a Merkava tank.  The soldiers inside the tank were not injured.

The advanced missile, apparently made in Iran, was fired last week from a longer range than more primitive anti-tank rockets, and its use two weeks ago was revealed on Tuesday by IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. Hizbullah used the Kornet in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Hamas and allied terrorists have attacked the western Negev with at least 18 missiles and mortar shells since Monday in a sharp escalation in violence. Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi said that the IDF retaliation included buildings housing Hamas terrorists, the first time they have been targeted, with the exception of “ticking bombs,” since the end of Operation Cast Lead two years ago next month.

The complaint to the United Nations pointed out that a Kassam rocket exploded near a kindergarten on a kibbutz Monday morning, wounding a 14-year-old girl and sending several others into traumatic shock.

“The incidents of the past several days are part of an escalation of terrorist attacks emanating from Gaza that target Israeli civilians, towns, and military personnel,” wrote Israel's United Nations Ambassador Meron Reuben.

“Israel holds the de facto Hamas authority in the Gaza Strip completely responsible for all of these incidents, which are carried out in clear violation of international law,” he added. “In response to such attacks, Israel has exercised and will continue to exercise its right to self-defense.

“In a previous letter on 9 December 2010, I mentioned that the escalation of such attacks should be viewed with the utmost seriousness. With the intention of preventing the continued escalation of conflict, the Security Council, the Secretary-General, and the international community must send a clear and resolute message that these attacks are unacceptable.

“In addition, the Security Council must give appropriate attention to the smuggling of arms into Gaza, which continues to fuel violence and instability in our region - in violation of numerous Security Council resolutions, including resolution 1860.

“I wish to inform you that an identical letter has been sent to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations."