Posts Tagged ‘Gaza’

Hamas alleges Israeli spies used Bosnian passports for assassination

November 16, 2017


© AFP | Members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, attend a memorial for Tunisian engineer Mohamed Zouari in the Gaza Strip on January 31, 2017

GAZA CITY (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – Hamas on Thursday alleged Israeli spies used Bosnian passports to enter Tunisia and assassinate one of its drone experts as the Palestinian movement announced details of its probe into the December incident.

Tunisian engineer Mohamed Zaouari was shot dead in his car in December 2016 by unknown gunmen, with Hamas accusing Israel of responsibility at the time.

Senior Hamas figure Mohamed Nazzal made the allegations on Thursday in a statement and at a press conference in Beirut.

He said an investigation concluded a number of agents from Israeli intelligence agency Mossad had operated in Tunisia over several months, including pretending to be foreign journalists in order to get close to Zaouari.

The main two assassins who entered the country before the killing were using Bosnian passports, Nazzal said.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon declined comment. Israel also had not previously commented on the killing.

Israel has previously faced criticism after its agents reportedly used British, Irish, Australian and other passports to assassinate a Hamas leader in the United Arab Emirates in 2010.

That led to Britain, Ireland and Australia expelling some Israeli diplomats in protest.

Zaouari, 49, was murdered at the wheel of his car outside his house in Tunisia’s second city Sfax on December 15 last year.

The engineer and drone expert had worked for a decade with Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, the group said at the time.


Palestinian hopes for Egypt border opening dashed for now

November 15, 2017


© AFP | Palestinians wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was briefly opened on August 16, 2017

GAZA CITY (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – Palestinian leaders hoped a recently signed reconciliation agreement would lead to Egypt reopening its border with the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, but those hopes seem to have been dashed.

Egypt has kept its crossing with Gaza largely closed in recent years, while the territory has also been under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade.

Israel has fought three wars with Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, since 2008.

Hamas and rival Palestinian faction Fatah, which is based in the occupied West Bank, signed a landmark reconciliation deal last month aimed at ending their decade-long split.

The agreement mediated by Egypt led to president Mahmud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority retaking control of Gaza’s borders on November 1.

The PA is supposed to retake full civil control of the Gaza Strip by December 1.

Palestinian leaders had said they hoped one result of the deal would be the opening of Egypt’s Rafah border with the Gaza Strip on November 15.

On Wednesday, Palestinian officials said they were still awaiting word from Egypt.

“We don’t have any information about when Rafah border will reopen again,” Nazmi Muhanna, in charge of border crossings for the Palestinian Authority, told AFP.

Cracks have emerged in the reconciliation deal, particularly over security control of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas is refusing to disarm its military wing as Abbas wants.

Security in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula is also thought to be one of Cairo’s concerns.

Egyptian security forces have been fighting a branch of the Islamic State group in the Sinai.

Egypt is expected to host another meeting of Palestinian factions in Cairo on November 21 to discuss next steps in the reconciliation process.

Israel Raises Alert Level Fearing Islamic Jihad Retaliation for Gaza Tunnel Bombing; Anti-rocket Systems Deployed

November 15, 2017


Heightening of nationwide alert follows threats by Gaza-based militant group to avenge killing of 12 of its fighters; comes amid raised tensions in Israel’s north after army downs Syrian drone

By Amos Harel and Yaniv Kubovich

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor

Israeli soldiers near Gaza after Israel bombed a cross-border attack tunnel, October 30, 2017. Eliyahu Hershkovitz


The Israeli military raised its alert level on Monday, taking various measures in the wake of new assessments that the Islamic Jihad will attempt a revenge attack. The leadership of the Gaza-based group is threatening revenge over Israel’s bombing of a cross-border attack tunnel near Gaza two weeks ago, in which 12 members of Islamic Jihad and Hamas were killed. These measures, which are considered exceptional, included the deployment of anti-rocket Iron Dome batteries in central Israel, but not the calling up of reservists. This is the first time such measures were taken since the 2014 Gaza war ended.


The assessments regarding Islamic Jihad involve a range of possibilities on the Gaza border and further beyond. The organization controls dozens of Grad-type Katyusha rockets with a range of over 40 kilometers, capable of hitting Ashdod and Be’er Sheva, and possibly even longer-range rockets. The group also still has operational capabilities in certain areas of the West Bank, including the Jenin area, but it is unclear whether it could carry out an attack. Islamic Jihad is under pressure both from Israel’s security services and the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence apparatus.

Image result for Islamic Jihad, photos

Israel and Islamic Jihad have exchanged threats over the past few days. The coordinator of government activities in the territories, Gen. Yoav Mordechai, announced in Arabic on Saturday a warning that Islamic Jihad “is playing with fire on the backs of residents of the Gaza Strip, and at the expense of the internal Palestinian reconciliation and the entire region.” Mordechai stressed in the video message: “Just to be clear, Israel will respond forcefully and resolutely to any Islamic Jihad reaction whatsoever — not just against Jihad, but also against Hamas.” The video concluded, “We advise Islamic Jihad’s leadership in Damascus to exercise caution and keep things under control.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel holds Hamas responsible for any attack originating from Gaza. “We will take a very firm stance against anyone who tries to attack us or attacks us from any area,” he warned. Islamic Jihad responded that it would see any attack on its leadership as a declaration of war against it.

Although two weeks have passed since the bombing of the tunnel, which extended into Israel beneath the large fence at a distance of about a kilometer from Kibbutz Kisufim, defense officials have the impression that Islamic Jihad has not abandoned its revenge plan following the killing of its members, who were hit when the Israeli army attacked the eastern side of the tunnel, inside Israeli territory. It seems that the organization is preparing to carry out an attack, and the intention is to make a reverberating response. Under such circumstances, Israel is expected to respond harshly. From such a point, the road to another round of real blows with Gaza, which would be the first one in three years, is liable to be short.

The lack of an immediate retaliation by Islamic Jihad likely stemmed as well from measures that Hamas against it. Hamas feared two weeks ago that an escalation with Israel would undermine its process of reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority. However, reconciliation talks have really slowed down since then, and the Palestinian Authority has yet to release funds to Hamas that it had hoped for in order to fund salaries of government workers in Gaza and to help fund the electricity supply from Israel to Gaza.


Failure to attain a breakthrough in the unity talks could lessen the motivation of Hamas to restrain Islamic Jihad.

Escalation in the south is happening as tension remains in the north along the Syrian border. The Israeli army last weekend shot down a drone, most likely Syrian, which had infiltrated the demilitarized zone in the Golan border. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened in response that Israel would take action to thwart Iran’s attempt, with Hezbollah’s help, to establish a military presence in Syria. Israeli analysts are still struggling to decipher Saudi Arabia’s moves, chief among them the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Said Al-Hariri (which seemed to have been dictated by Riyadh) – which they see as having added to confusion and instability in the region.

Amos Harel
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Islamic Jihad Raises Readiness Level to Highest — Destruction of Islamic Jihad-Constructed Tunnel By Israel Considered an “Act of War”

November 14, 2017
 NOVEMBER 14, 2017 11:50


The group says that they are “closely monitoring” Israeli activity.

Report: Islamic Jihad raises state of readiness to 'highest level'

Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants attend a military parade in Gaza October 19, 2016.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Amid increasing tensions between Israel and Islamic Jihad, the militant group has raised its state of readiness to its ‘highest level,’ according to a report in the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat.

Senior sources in the Gaza-based militant group stated that, should Islamic Jihad choose to act against Israel, any action would be “for purposes of self-defense” and “deterrence.”

The group also said that they are “closely monitoring” Israeli activity, including watching civilians in Gaza border communities.

The increased state of readiness comes, according to the report, as the IDF carries out a military exercise near the Gaza Strip.

Propoganda video by Islamic Jihad in Gaza against Israel. November 2, 2017.

Propaganda video by Islamic Jihad in Gaza against Israel, November 2, 2017.

Amid the war of words, the IDF moved its Iron Dome missile defense systems to the center of the country on Monday.

Recent tensions come after repeated threats exchanged between the IDF and Islamic Jihad, after the IDF destroyed an Islamic Jihad-constructed tunnel in late October, killing 12 Palestinian militants.

The event was considered by Islamic Jihad to be “a declaration of war” by Israel, and stated “it is our right to respond to any aggression, including the right to respond to the crime of attacking the tunnel east of Dir al-Balah, where 12 Mujahideen from Al-Qassam and Saraya al-Quds fell.”

On Tuesday morning, US special envoy Jason Greenblatt warned Islamic Jihad to stop its threatening rhetoric.

“Extremist statements & provocation vs. Israel by Islamic Jihad significantly harm the people of Gaza & are very dangerous,” wrote Greenblatt on Twitter.

Extremist statements & provocation vs. Israel by Islamic Jihad significantly harm the people of Gaza & are very dangerous. The PA must resume full responsibility in Gaza. US is working with the PA, Israel, Egypt & others to try to improve the situation. Gaza deserves better.

“The PA must resume full responsibility in Gaza. [The] US is working with the PA, Israel, Egypt & others to try to improve the situation. Gaza deserves better.”

The IDF arrested Tariq Qa’adan, an Islamic Jihad leader, in the West Bank early Monday morning due to his “activities” in the group.

The arrest came a day after Islamic Jihad called Israeli threats against its leadership “a declaration of war, which we will confront.”


Palestinian terror group threatens Israeli forces, promises war with “Zionist State”

November 7, 2017


 NOVEMBER 7, 2017 15:55


The organization, which has been classified as a terrorist entity by both the EU and the US, boasts of preparing for a major conflict with Israel.

PFLP Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

Palestinian members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) take part in a military show in Gaza . (photo credit:REUTERS)

The military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an organization that orchestrated terrorist attacks that killed scores of Israelis over the years and has been classified by both the United States and the European Union as a terrorist entity, released on Tuesday a threatening video against the Jewish state and in particular its army.

The video depicts IDF vehicles moving along the security barrier between Israel and the Gaza Strip, and as one vehicle emerges a text appears in Arabic and in Hebrew on the screen saying: “In the line of fire.”

The video also shows Palestinian snipers aiming their weapons at Israeli combat engineering units that operate in the area in order to ensure the safety of other military units as well as uncover terror tunnels being dug into Israeli territory with the intent of harming the country’s population.

“We can reach the crimes and the aggression of Israel against the Palestinian people,” the video says. “The way of resistance is armed resistance, as long as the occupation sits on the land of Palestine.”

The armed wing of the PFLP also used the video to reiterate that it planned to resist Israel (which imposes its military rule over Area C of the West Bank and some parts of Area B) forcefully. “The weapon of resistance is a holy weapon, one we will not accept seeing damaged, and it will remain [in the hands of] the resistance which doubles its efforts to prepare for the next confrontation.”


Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists again digging into Israel — Warning for War?

November 6, 2017



 NOVEMBER 6, 2017 22:36

Digging remains a strategic priority for Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist organizations.

TUNNELS FROM Gaza are a threat but the government’s tunnel vision also needs to be corrected.

TUNNELS FROM Gaza are a threat but the government’s tunnel vision also needs to be corrected. (photo credit:REUTERS)

The construction industry is thriving in Gaza, but we have evidence once again that much of it is taking place underground. Undeterred by the outcome of the Gaza war three years ago, Hamas, firmly in control of the coastal territory for more than a decade, and its terrorist sibling Islamic Jihad have been busy excavating toward and into Israel.

Israel’s discovery of a tunnel beginning in Khan Younis, crossing under the border and reaching near Kibbutz Kissufim revealed that digging remains a strategic priority for the Gaza-based Palestinian terrorist organizations. Its destruction last week confirmed that Israel’s government and military will take defensive measures to protect its citizens.

Discovery of the now destroyed tunnel was credited by Israel’s prime minister to “breakthrough technology” developed following the 2014 war, when Israeli forces encountered an extensive network of Hamas tunnels, including 14 extending into Israel. By war’s end, Israel had destroyed 32 tunnels, many large enough for terrorists to stand upright.

Israel learned at the time that a massive terrorist attack using the tunnels had been planned for the Jewish New Year. While terrorist attacks have always been one real concern, another is using these tunnels to kidnap Israelis. In 2006, Hamas grabbed Gilad Schalit and held him hostage in Gaza for more than five years.

A 2011 Hamas-Israel agreement led to Schalit’s release in exchange for over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, many of them convicted terrorists with blood on their hands.

Israel is erecting an impenetrable concrete wall deep in the ground along its border with Gaza to obstruct future cross-border excavations. It is expected to be completed in 2019. Demonstrating its unlimited audacity, Hamas actually protested the subterranean wall plan after it was announced last year, claiming it would hinder its resistance against Israel – though Hamas never calls Israel by its proper name.

Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad not only refuse to recognize Israel, but seek its destruction, and thus stand firmly in the way of those who are genuinely working to achieve peace.

Since capturing Gaza from Fatah in 2007, after Israel withdrew totally from the territory and transferred it to the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Israel have fought three wars, and after each Hamas replenished and expanded its stockpile of missiles and rockets. Hezbollah acted likewise after its wars with Israel, the last one in 2006, significantly increasing its own supply of armaments to be used in the next round.

In defense against these threats, Israel, with US support, developed the Iron Dome, which has been successfully deployed to down short-range missiles and rockets. The technology used to detect tunnels, and the underground wall being built along the Gaza border, are further necessary defensive actions.

Despite the reconciliation agreement Hamas signed last month with the PA, it has adamantly insisted that relinquishing its stockpile of weapons is not part of the deal. Nor, presumably, is the tunneling.

Indeed, the destroyed tunnel’s discovery by Israel came only days after UNRWA, the UN relief agency operating in Gaza, announced that it had found – and not for the first time – a tunnel beneath one of its schools.

In May 2014, a similar PA-Hamas “unity agreement” was announced with great fanfare. Two months later, Hamas kidnapped and murdered three Israeli Jewish teenagers and launched rocket barrages on Israel, sparking the war in Gaza that summer.

Now, Hamas has called Israel’s destruction of the tunnel “a desperate attempt to sabotage efforts to restore Palestinian unity,” while Fatah called it a “crime” to “thwart the Palestinian national reconciliation.”

And Iran, which provides political and material support for Hamas, as well as for Hezbollah, and continually threatens to eliminate Israel, joined in condemning Israel for demolishing the tunnel.

The impossibility of Hamas reforming its policies and seeking peace was reaffirmed after the reconciliation agreement with the PA.

“The time in which Hamas discusses the issue of recognizing Israel has ended,” declared Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader in Gaza.

“The discussion now is about when to erase Israel.”

For the Trump administration and others seeking a breakthrough to resume Israeli-Palestinian negotiations with the goal of achieving a comprehensive peace, Hamas dominance in Gaza remains a real and formidable obstacle.

The writer is the American Jewish Committee’s director of media relations.


Israel’s Air Power Engaged Over Syria as Hezbollah, Russia, Iran Make Moves

November 3, 2017
 NOVEMBER 3, 2017 03:34

The full details of what happened this week are clouded in secrecy, like many other alleged and acknowledged Israeli air strikes in Syria.

Protection from above: Air-power diplomacy in Syrian skies

An Israeli Air Force F-35 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli airforce pilots at the Hatzerim air base in southern Israel December 29, 2016.. (photo credit:REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

South of Homs on the road to Damascus there is a small town called Hassia. Beyond the village is a large industrial zone that occupies several square kilometers. On the other side of the road are a series of clusters of buildings laid out behind checkpoints and unmistakably governmental in appearance, with straight roads and gray warehouses.

According to various reports, including Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV, it was near here that witnesses claim an Israeli air strike took place on Wednesday.

The full details of what happened are clouded in secrecy, like many other alleged and acknowledged Israeli air strikes in Syria. In August, Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel said Israel had carried out at least 100 strikes in the last five years attempting to interdict weapons transfers to Hezbollah via Syria.

After the strike Wednesday night, the familiar dance began whereby Syria boasts that it has fired missiles and hit an Israeli aircraft, and an Israeli official makes some general statement about how Israel will continue to protect its interests. In this case it was Intelligence and Transportation Minister Israel Katz.

“Israel has previously operated and will continue to operate to prevent weapons smuggling,” he told Army Radio. There are reports about Iranian weapons factories and Hezbollah weapons storage depots in Syria.

The alleged air strikes in Syria appear to have grown in intensity in recent months, as well as in precision and in the wide area they affect. On September 7, a site near Masyaf of the Scientific Studies and Research Center was struck, igniting a large fire. This was supposedly a chemical weapons site. Syria warned of “dangerous repercussions.” On October 16, the same week that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was in Israel for a visit, a Syrian anti-aircraft missile was fired at Israeli jets that were conducting routine reconnaissance over Lebanon near the Syrian border. Israel Air Force craft struck the Syrian antiaircraft battery, 50 km. from Damascus, an IDF spokesman said.

The ongoing tensions in Syria come as Russia is making major moves to facilitate dialogue in Syria and what it describes as “de-escalation.”

This was clear from a joint statement by Iran, Russia and Turkey after the Astana international meeting on Syria on Wednesday.

The statement posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website emphasized the reduction of violence, the “progress in the fight against terrorism,” underlining that the conflict in Syria “has no military solution” and that there should be humanitarian aid and “confidence-building measures.”

Another Astana meeting is scheduled for December.

Russia wants to host a “Congress of the National Dialogue” in Sochi on November 18. This would include 33 parties from groups involved in the Syrian conflict. According to the TASS Russian news agency, the PYD and other Kurdish groups have been invited.

The air strike also comes as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin was visiting Iran on Thursday. Along with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, Putin met with President Hassan Rouhani.

According to Reuters, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also told Putin that “our cooperation can isolate America. The failure of US-backed terrorists in Syria cannot be denied, but Americans continue their plots.”

Meanwhile, the US is still not clear on its long-term goals in eastern Syria, where the Syrian Democratic Forces it backs have crushed ISIS in Raqqa and are moving toward the Iraqi border, capturing oil fields. It has been three years since the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which formed the basis for the SDF, stopped ISIS in Kobane with the help of US air power.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has said the Assad family has no future in Syria, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that the efforts of the US-led coalition were designed to defeat ISIS, “The US does not seek to fight the Syrian government or pro-Syrian government forces.”

However, he said the US would use proportionate force to defend the US, coalition and partner forces in Syria. Lt.-Gen. Paul E. Funk, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, told USA Today, “We need to structure ourselves to be prepared for a long-term commitment to building partner capacity in this area.” It is unclear if that includes only Iraq or also eastern Syria.

Confusing US policy, and Russia’s efforts to de-escalate tensions, leave Israel in a bind. It has worked its way out of that bind through a Clausewitz-style “war is a continuation of politics by other means.” In this case it means striking weapons destined for Hezbollah and continually emphasizing that there are red lines to these transfers.

Syria has reportedly used its antiquated SA-5 surface-to-air missiles to demonstrate the “repercussions” to Israel’s actions. According to the October 16 Reuters report, Syria also fired its anti-aircraft missiles over Lebanon, whose airspace has been reportedly violated by both sides. For now, the quiet understanding about Israel’s actions, Syria’s response, Russia and America’s policy, and Hezbollah’s grasping continue.


After air strike, Israeli minister warns against arms shipments to Hezbollah — “Smuggling arms to Hezbollah is a red line in our eyes.”

November 2, 2017

By Ori Lewis


JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A senior Israeli minister on Thursday declined to comment on reports that Israeli aircraft had struck a target in Syria the night before but repeated a threat to hit arms shipments to Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.

The air strike targeted a factory south of the Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday night and the Syrian army responded by firing a surface-to-air missile at the aircraft, a commander in a military alliance fighting in support of Damascus said.

An Israeli Air Force F-15 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration

An Israeli Air Force F-15 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration. (photo credit:AMIR COHEN – REUTERS)

An Israeli military spokeswoman declined to comment, but Israel’s Channel 10 said the aircraft were not hit and returned safely to base.

“I can‘t, of course, relate to reports about the Israel Defence Forces’ attack in Syria, but regardless, Israel’s position is clear: Smuggling arms to Hezbollah is a red line in our eyes,” Intelligence Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio.

Syria’s Foreign Ministry called on the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel’s attack, state-run SANA news agency reported.

The Foreign Ministry asked the Security Council to take “strict and immediate” measures to stop such Israeli attacks, it said, adding that the strike hit a copper factory in the industrial town of Hisya, 35 km (21 miles) south of Homs and 112 km (70 miles) north of Damascus. The statement did not give details of any casualties.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based organization that reports on the war, said the air strike had targeted a military installation.

“Israel has acted in the past and it will act in the future to prevent arms smuggling to Hezbollah according to intelligence information that we will have,” said Katz, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle of ministers.

He said Israel’s “red line” was “against arms smuggling (and) also against Iran’s consolidation in Syria” and that it was “prepared to act to deter against our responses.”

“I think the other side also understands this clearly and actions that took place in the past for which we did take responsibility, were actions that were according to these lines, these red lines,” Katz added.

The Israeli air force says it has struck arms convoys of the Syrian military and its Lebanese ally, the Iran-backed Hezbollah, nearly 100 times in recent years.

Israeli officials have expressed alarm at Iranian influence in Syria, where Iran-backed groups have played a critical role fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad during the conflict that erupted in 2011.

Iran’s military chief, General Mohammad Baqeri, warned Israel against breaching Syrian airspace and territory during a visit to Damascus last month.

Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah, which last fought a major conflict in 2006, have escalated this year. Each side has warned it will unleash devastating firepower in the event of a full-scale war.

Israel Again Uses Jet Aircraft to Respond to Artillery Fire from Syria — Syrian military launched a surface-to-air missile

November 2, 2017
 NOVEMBER 1, 2017 22:39

Arab media reports that Jerusalem attacked in Syria and that Damascus has responded in retaliation.

Israeli f-16 fighter jet

Israeli F-16 fighter jet. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Israel’s air force attacked a weapons depot situated in rural areas around Hisya, south of the Syrian city of Homs, Arab media reported Wednesday night.

Several reports claimed that the Syrian military launched a surface-to-air missile against Israeli jets from its 72nd Divison Base but did not hit them.

A commander in a military alliance fighting in support of the Syrian government told Reuters that the IAF struck a copper factory south of Homs, and did not provide details regarding any casualties.

Channel 10 reported that the aircraft were not hit and returned safely to base.

This is the third strike in Syria attributed to Israel in recent weeks.

Two weeks ago, the IAF attacked and destroyed a Syrian SA-5 anti-aircraft battery east of Damascus after it fired a surface-to-air missile at Israeli jets.

The SA-5 missile battery, which was stationed some 50 kilometers east of the Syrian capital, fired at Israeli jets that were on a routine aerial reconnaissance flight in Lebanese airspace.

Five days later, the IDF hit three Syrian regime artillery positions following five projectiles that were launched towards Israel earlier that morning.
Three of the five projectiles landed in open territory in Israel’s northern Golan Heights, causing no damage or injuries.

After the mid-October attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented: “Our policy is clear: anyone who tries to harm us will be hit. Today they tried to hit our planes, which is unacceptable to us.”

Netanyahu said the IAF acted with “precision and speed,” and “destroyed what needed to be destroyed. We will continue to act as is needed to protect Israel’s security.”

Anna Ahronheim  and Reuters contributed to this report.  


Israeli jets bomb Syria arms depot

November 2, 2017

Heavy smoke billows following an Israeli military strike in Gaza City on July 29, 2014. The Israeli offensive, which began on July 8 to end Hamas rocket attacks on the Jewish state, has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians according to the United Nations, while 56 lives have been lost on the Israeli side, all but three of them soldiers. AFP PHOTO / ASHRAF A

BEIRUT: Israel’s air force bombed a weapons depot in Syria’s Homs province on Wednesday, adding to a series of strikes in recent weeks, according to a monitoring group.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was still unclear whether the depot belonged to the Syrian government or its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
“Israeli planes fired rockets at an arms depot in the industrial zone of Hisyah, south of the city of Homs, the observatory’s director, Rami Abdel Rahman, told AFP.
Syrian television reported “an aggression” by Israel in the region, adding that the national army had “responded.”
The Israeli army refused to comment on the report.
Israel has acknowledged carrying out airstrikes in Syria since the outbreak of the bloody war in the country six years ago to stop arms deliveries to Hezbollah forces.
The Syria observatory said Israel had also struck an arms depot near the Damascus airport on September 22, and this month targeted a jihadist faction linked to the Daesh group in southern Syria, killing at least 10.
Israel said last month it had attacked Syrian government artillery after fire from across the armistice line hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and warned it would step up such retaliation in the future.