Israel Furiously Attacks Gaza — And Braces for Reprisal

There was nothing peaceful about the Sabbath in Israel.

Following the launch of Operation "Cast Lead" -- a bombing mission and show of overwhelming force from the air in Gaza that killed at least 200 Palestinians -- the atmosphere has been tense and fearful.

The mission, in which 60 planes hit at least 100 carefully selected targets in Gaza, didn't come as a surprise. It has appeared inevitable over the past week, following the end of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

The initial targets of the attack were Hamas police compounds. A Reuters report said that the casualties included "40 at a police headquarters where Hamas was hosting a graduation ceremony for new recruits. Among those killed was police chief Tawfiq Jabber."

Israeli television said that other targets included other Hamas targets and locations where ammunition and other weaponry are stored. In addition, Reuters reported that the attacks took place on the Gaza-Egypt border, clearly aimed at the tunnels used to smuggle weapons into the Strip.

Saturday was the appropriate day to do it from the Israeli perspective -- a day when stores would be closed, schools wouldn't be in session, and residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and other parts of southern Israel would be in their homes with their families, where they were ordered to stay, close to their shelters.

One of the first casualties of the mission on the Israeli front was the political season. Immediately, the political parties called time out from politics for a show of unity and all events related to the January elections were canceled.