The Fields of Nazir
Wednesday, 10:30 p.m.
The men were gathered in the hall when Hannah Lira entered and approached the podium. There was little doubt as to what the meeting was about. Although no other rockets had landed anywhere near the facility, it was obvious that Israel’s security situation was intensifying exponentially. Ben figured the next stage of prophetic fulfillment had probably arrived.
“Guys,” she began with a smile, “I want you to know you are making great progress in your training. Personal fitness has improved dramatically for every one of you, as has the scores in marksmanship and two-man tactics. I expected nothing less. However, I imagine some of you are feeling some aches and pains in your bodies.”
Hannah’s statement was met with various levels of groans and animated rubbing of muscles. More than anything, the men were just tired.
“As you can tell, bad things are happening all around us,” she began. “The numbers of Scud and Zelzal missiles that have been fired upon Eretz Israel is astounding. In fact, defense intelligence fouled up in its estimates by at least half. The number is approaching one hundred ballistic missiles in only two nights, and this night is only half over. Add to that the approximate six thousand smaller rockets fired from Lebanon and Gaza and you have quite a fireworks display going on. The miraculous thing is less than two hundred casualties have been reported in the attack so far, and all of those have been relatively minor. We have yet to hear of any deaths.”
The mood in the room changed for the better. No team member had been exempt from worrying about family and friends. Hannah felt them react to the news. “I haven’t told you this before now, but we have people keeping track of each one of your family members.” She looked right at Ben. “For some of you, that includes your close associates. All are safe. None have been harmed. I believe, with all my heart, the Lord is watching over them.”
Expressions of gratitude came from all around the room. Everyone was relieved, which was exactly the effect Hannah desire to create.
“Now, here’s the big news. The government has been pushed to act with overwhelming force. As I informed you last evening, the IDF had planned to launch an operation into Syria. I felt it would trigger the prophecies spoken in Psalm 83. Well, it seems the nations of Psalm 83 have beaten us to the punch.”
Ben looked at Gilad with a question on his face.
“Within the last two hours Saudi, Jordanian, and Egyptian fighter jets have gone head-to-head with the IAF.” She turned to the map behind her and pinpointed the where the confrontations had taken place. “Once again, we have no word that any Israeli aircraft was lost in these initial battles. But, from what I’ve been able to gather from my sources, there were some very close calls.”
Ben was certain Moshe would have been in the latter category. It seemed his new brother in Messiah had a knack for being in the thick of every hot spot. He was compelled to offer a silent prayer for his friend.
“On the surface this all looks bad, but there are a couple of good aspects for which we need to be thankful. First, Israel now has a legitimate reason to go on the offensive. Up until the moment enemy aircraft became aggressive, all the IAF was doing involved search-and-destroy missions against the scuds. Operation Pile Driver, that’s the push over the Golan Heights, had not yet been initiated. Second, because the surrounding nations have all moved under the Iranian umbrella, the rest of the world will see that Iran has double-crossed the Russians. No one will blame Israel for doing what it must do.”
Ben thought about it from a Biblical point of view and had no trouble guessing what was coming next. It was as if the nations surrounding Israel had put a gun to Jewish heads and were about to pull the trigger. But God was the master manipulator in everything that was happening. Ben knew the thought sounded negative, but if God was really in control as he said, then nothing was happening without his permission. A long awaited judgment was at the doorstep. Even now, Ben knew that the Lord would be giving the civilians of those nations an opportunity to repent and turn to the truth of Yeshua. Would they? That was the question.
“What will Israel do?” one of the men called out.
“All I can say is that by tomorrow morning, the inner ring we were talking about will be subdued,” Hannah stated. “What is about to happen will make people consider the temporary nature of human existence.”
“Dear Lord,” Gilad whispered. Everyone heard it.
“Amen to that,” said Hannah. “Now, a concentrated attack is set to begin within the hour. That means we are going underground for the rest of the night. When we come out of our hole tomorrow, we will continue our mission preparations in earnest. I told you our timetable was being moved up. Well guys, we have no more than one week to get ready. Get your heart and your head into the game. We are fast approaching the point of no return.”
The gathering was over. Ty had done his best to introduce hope into the lives of the group. He’d taken them through scriptures of solace. They’d prayed together for much of the evening. A bond was forming. But now, twenty minutes after Tasha had escorted him and Blake to one of the many private quarters in the shelter, he heart was apprehensive.
“What are you thinking so hard about, sweetie?” She was curled up next to Ty with her head lying on his lap. Even with her eyes closed she could feel the wheels of thought churning in his mind.
Ty chuckled. “We’ve only been married five days and you can practically read my mind.”
She turned her body so she could look up at him.
He brushed aside a few strands of long blond hair away from her face.
“Hey, buddy, our spirits are knit, remember?” she smiled. “Plus, it’s my right to read your mind. So, what’s going on in there?”
He took a deep breath and sighed. “I’m asking myself if we did the right thing in coming here.”
“I suppose it’s because I figured this would be the safest place to be as things unwind. Instead, we’ve spent the last two nights in a bomb shelter,” he shook his head. “Not so safe after all, is it?”
“No, but from my perspective, it sure is cuddly.” She smiled at him.
“You know what I mean,” he smiled back. “I’m wondering if we missed God on this one.”
His statement made Blake sit up and intertwine her fingers into his.
“I think if I had a choice between this and living through radioactive fallout in Kansas City, I’d choose being here. I’m also of the high opinion that wherever you are, that’s where I want to be.”
“I guess the last thing I want to do is put you in danger.”
“You know I love you, but you are not the one ordering our steps,” she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. She was deeply gratified that her new husband was thinking solely for her safety. His protective responsibilities had kicked into gear.
He shook his head and raised his eyebrows for a second. “Yeah, I suppose,” he acknowledged.
“No, you know!” she nudged him. “The steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord. We’re here for a purpose. There is no way in the world that I think you made a wrong decision on this one.”
He kissed her soft lips and soaked up her confidence.
“You understand this could get rough, don’t you?”
“Sure. ‘Bring it on’ is what I say. The way I see it we’ve got a mission to accomplish. Let’s go into to it full bore.”
“Okay, then,” he stated. “We’re going to be in here all night. Let’s get some rest.”
“Okay, then,” Blake echoed.
Her head went right back to his lap and she was asleep before he could take his eyes off her beautiful face.
Over Saudi Arabia
Wednesday, 11:30 p.m.
“Stay sharp, Frisbee. We’re two hundred miles from King Khalid Military City, and hopefully, the Heron Drone has done its worst. I’m getting radar returns that indicate it has gone back to high altitude.
“I see it too—Dagger.”
The Heron TP unmanned drone had been on station and in attack mode for at least an hour. Its mission had been to seek out and destroy as many S-300 missile launchers it could find. The stealthy drone aircraft, roughly the size of a Boeing 737, was being flown by some computer geek back at Ramon Airbase, one who had demonstrated an uncanny ability to play video games. The only difficulty was finding the S-300s without having them engage their defensive radar. The Arabians had to be shocked watching their vaunted Russian system being eaten up by a piece of Israeli technology.
“A squadron of Arabian F-16Cs will probably be appearing shortly,” said Moshe.
Rueben responded with two clicks on his transmitter.
Dagger Flight was skirting the desert floor at an altitude of two hundred feet. They were barely one hundred miles south of the Iraqi border. This particular aspect of the mission was to perform a coordinated strike with six F-15 Ra’am ‘Thunder’ fighters by sniffing out the locations of as many anti-aircraft missile batteries as possible. Destroying every S-300 within their designated sector was the objective. Dagger flight also had the responsibility of countering and eliminating any aerial threat.
The entire Northern Command of the Saudi armed forces was deposited within the confines of two facilities. The largest was housed in King Khalid City. An armored brigade and its supporting units were also housed on the base. The anti-aircraft batteries that protected it would catch the brunt of the F-15 strike.
Sixty miles northeast of King Khalid was Hafar-al-Batir airbase, home to two squadrons of Arabian Air Force F-16C Fighting Falcons. Situated in various locations around the base were an unknown number of S-300 mobile launchers. They all had to be taken out. The task belonged to Dagger Flight.
Moshe monitored his display and mentally prodded himself to stay alert. The day had already proven to be extremely long, but Israel was at risk. The nation’s existence seemed to be balanced on the sharp edge of a knife. Everything that was happening was to save her and her people. Rest was a luxury Israel’s defenders simply did not have.
The flight crossed the one hundred mile barrier at an airspeed of mach one. Showtime was imminent. Moshe thought through the variables one more time before he initiated the plan.
“Frisbee, check right and widen to one mile.”
“Roger, Frisbee is moving south by one.”
Moshe prepared to disengage the autopilot and terrain following radar. Once that was done, he would make a quick ascent to an altitude of four hundred feet to get a fix on any remaining Saudi air defense systems. If the drone had done its job, there would be few. He would then drop back down to the deck and prepare for a welcoming committee comprised of infrared-tracking missiles and standard anti-aircraft fire, called ack-ack. The action he was about to commit would alert the enemy to his presence, but it had to be done in order to pinpoint their objectives.
He checked Rueben’s position then widened his radar pattern until he acquired the six F-15s. Their group call sign was Jackhammer.
Moshe thumbed his transmitter. “Dagger—Jackhammer—we’re going hot in twenty seconds.”
“Roger—Dagger—make us some friendly skies,” Jackhammer One responded.
“Frisbee, concentrate your snapshot to the south. I’ll look to the north,” Moshe radioed to Rueben. “We’re going up on my mark. Three—two—one—mark.”
The F-16s, now separated by a mile, jinked up to four hundred feet above the desert floor, held the altitude for five seconds then dropped back under normal radar coverage. Immediately, threat receivers on both aircraft began squawking. Four anti-aircraft batteries were active around Hafar-al-Batin, less than a third of what intelligence had estimated would be present. The drone had proven its worth.
The computer took no time in identifying the radar signatures as S-300 tracking units. Several ZSU-track mounted anti-aircraft guns with an older model, wide-band radar were also detected. The ZSU-flak shooters could be dealt with relatively easily. However, Israeli jets had yet to attack any targets protected by the Russian-designed S-300 system. Each battery consisted of four launch canisters mounted on special vehicles the approximate size of a semi-truck trailer. The system was completely mobile and each battery could fire its missiles and be fully reloaded in less than ten minutes. Only stealthy aircraft had been proven successful against the S-300 and the F-16s possessed no stealth technology. Four batteries meant sixteen missiles were locked, loaded, and ready to kill.
“All flights,” Moshe alerted his fellow pilots as he dove toward the desert floor, “we have active S-300 radar in the vicinity of both objectives. Dagger will take the northern group. Jackhammer flight heads south. Watch your tails.”
Clicks sounded in his receiver and within seconds, Rueben was back into formation behind his leader.
Moshe and Ruben, now directly west of Hafar-al-Batin airbase, converged on a preprogrammed waypoint. After a ten degree right turn, a shallow wadi would be utilized to fly below radar all the way to the target.
As he nudged his fighter in the right direction, Moshe entertained a thought. Because of the drone’s search and destroy mission, it was likely that Arabian F-16s were already scrambling. That meant a certain degree of activity would be happening on the tarmac and runway. He could use that his advantage if he timed it correctly. “Frisbee, let’s drop speed to six hundred knots and give them time to get their Falcon’s moving,” Moshe said to this wingman. They were now just thirty miles out and that distance would be eaten up rather quickly, even at six hundred knots.
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