Posts Tagged ‘IDF’

Israeli Army Considering Taking Control of Palestinian Areas in East Jerusalem

January 17, 2018

A sharp rise in the number of recent attacks in the poverty-stricken neighborhoods of Shaafat and Kafr Aqab have prompted defense officials to consider intervention

The refugee camp of Shoafat, East Jerusalem.
The refugee camp of Shoafat, East Jerusalem. Credit Olivier Fitouss

The Israeli military is examining the possibility of assuming responsibility for security in the Shoafat refugee camp and in Kafr Aqab, Palestinian areas that are in the jurisdiction of Jerusalem but physically cut off from the city since the construction of the separation barrier.

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Sources in the defense establishment have confirmed to Haaretz that the armys Central Command and the headquarters of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories are reviewing the matter. The armys exact duties in Shoafat and Kafr Aqab, whose inhabitants carry Israeli identity cards and have residency status in Israel, have not been determined, nor is it known whether the intention is to change the civil status of the communities. Also still to be worked out is the division of responsibilities between the army and the police. The Israel Police currently operate in these areas.

Kafr Aqab

Haaretz has learned that the Israel Defense Forces is looking into the possibility that the Samaria Brigade, which is responsible for the Nablus area, will assume responsibility for additional areas further south, and the Binyamin Brigade, which is in charge of the Ramallah area, would assume control over Shoafat and Kafr Aqab, in cooperation with COGAT.

Defense officials said the decision to examine these changes was taken at the outbreak of the last wave of violence in Jerusalem. The events in the area and the number of attacks in those tense days created a need for greater cooperation between the police and the army in areas just outside the city, especially in East Jerusalem neighborhoods that remained on the other side of the barrier, as well as in the Har Adar area, west of the city, the officials said.

The army is considering assuming responsibility up to the separation barrier in areas abutting Jerusalem, bringing the army into neighborhoods on the other side of the barrier. The implications for residents of Shoafat and Kafr Aqab are also being examined. Defense officials stressed that the review was not initiated out of a need to find solutions for these neighborhoods, but rather out of cooperation between the army and police and the recognition that the future of the neighborhoods depends on the decisions that are made.

The Shoafat refugee camp and Kafr Aqab are inside Jerusalems borders but have been cut off from the city by the barrier. Precise population figures are unavailable, but estimates range between 100,000 and 150,000. Between one-half and two-thirds have blue Israeli ID cards and residency status. A recent survey by city water company Gihon put the population at 140,000.

Because these neighborhoods were severed from Jerusalem, the city and police provide few services and conditions have significantly deteriorated in recent years. Many of the terror attacks in 2015 were committed by people living beyond the separation barrier. Violence in these neighborhoods and environs have spiked, as have the incidence of drug trafficking and illegal weapons possession. The infrastructure is poor. In the absence of municipal oversight thousands of apartments have been built, overtaxing already-crumbling sewage, water and electricity systems.

Netanyahus settler government is continuing to take extreme steps aimed at preventing any possibility of a future peace plan, along with causing critical damage to the daily life of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem says MK Ayman Odeh, the chairman of the Joint List. This is a move designed to uproot 100,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem and to shatter East Jerusalem into small entities comprised of separate villages and neighborhoods.

Odeh believes that in addition to the political implications of such a move this will also hurt people who in any case are living in dire poverty and with unacceptable infrastructure, and for whom East Jerusalem is the center of their lives. Obviously after such a move their situation will worsen, families will be torn apart and tens of thousands of residents will be cut off from their sources of livelihood.

Perhaps the work being done these days at Central Command attests to the fact that the plan promoted by Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin for the division of the city is still alive and well. In an interview with Haaretz in Elkin said the situation in Shoafat and Kafr Aqab could not be worse.

The current arrangement has totally failed; it was a mistake to erect the barrier where they did. There are now two municipal areas, Jerusalem and the neighborhoods, with very loose links between them. Formally, the IDF cant operate there and the police only go in for special operations, and the area has gradually become a no-mans land.

Elkin continued, arguing that such an amount of tall buildings, with such density, you dont have even in Tel Aviv, and the planning implications are grave. There are dangers of collapsing buildings in case of an earthquake.

The municipality cannot provide any services there; any attempt to do so has become a great risk. Lately, there have been attempts to find a solution, but even when these are found they are pinpoint solutions, not systemic ones. Its a great challenge — a security and an operational one.

The defense establishment says the staff work has not been completed yet and that this is a lengthy process in which several alternatives are being examined, such as the army and COGAT assuming responsibility for neighborhoods beyond the separation barrier.

The IDF spokesman responded by stating that the IDF is constantly examining the optimal way of deploying its forces in different sectors, including in the Central Command area. Different alternatives are currently under review but so far no changes or decisions have been made.


Israeli Air Force Attacks ‘Terror Targets’ Along Gaza Border: ‘Hamas Is Responsible’

January 13, 2018

Kerem Shalom border crossing, linking Gaza to Israel, to close Sunday morning, Israeli army informs Palestinians

By Amos Harel and Yaniv Kubovich Jan 13, 2018 11:10 PM

The Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip

The Kerem Shalom border crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Israel army planes have attacked what military described as “terror targets” along the border with Gaza, the army announced late Saturday. In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces said that it views Hamas as responsible for what happens in Gaza.

Palestinian sources say that a tunnel was the target of the attack.

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Earlier, the IDF informed the Palestinians on Saturday evening that it was decided to temporarily close for all traffic the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, starting Sunday morning. The army said the decision, which is unusual, was reached “in accordance with current assessments.”

The crossing is the Gaza Strip’s main line of supplies. Every day roughly 500 trucks, carrying goods from the West Bank and Israel, pass through it and into the coastal enclave. Recently, tensions have run high along the border, where Israel continues to build an anti-tunnel wall and where three offensive tunnels were recently unearthed, as well as a recent surge in rocket fire.

Israel attributes the rocket fire to Salafist groups in Gaza, and in one case has attributed fire to Islamic Jihad. Since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on December 6, more than 40 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from Gaza, only half of which landed in Israeli territory. No Israelis were hurt by rocket fire.

Israeli officials, and among them the prime minister, the defense minister and the military’s chief of staff, have recently warned Hamas and Islamic Jihad on several occasions against continuing to dig tunnels and announced that Israel would act to locate and destroy them. Last week the IDF’s chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot, oversaw a drill of an elite IDF unit which centered on a scenario of a large terror cell infiltrating an Israeli community along the border with the Gaza Strip through a tunnel.

Over the weekend, Palestinian demonstrations continued close to the security barrier along the Strip, focusing on protest against Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem was the capital of Israel. Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yoav (Poly) Mordechai, published a statement in which he accused Hamas of handing out hand grenades to youngsters who participated in the protests. The latter then hurled the hand grenades toward IDF troops close to the security barrier.

In the West Bank, security forces are continuing to hunt after the Palestinian cell whose members shot to death last week Rabbi Raziel Shevach near the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad, west of Nablus. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has indicated that he expects to see progress soon in the cracking of the case that led to the terror attack.

The Israeli military and the Shin Bet are both disturbed by acts of violence carried out by extreme right-wing activist in reaction to the murder of Shevach. Since the attack at least eight cases have been recorded of the destruction of Palestinian property by Israelis in the Nablus area, such as the smashing of car windows and the destruction of Palestinian olive trees.

Amos Harel
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No One Wants a War in Gaza, but the First Israeli Casualty Could Change Everything

January 5, 2018

With deterrence measures used since the 2014 Gaza war appearing less effective, Israel is operating on borrowed time

By Amos Harel Jan 05, 2018 11:27 AM

A Palestinian demonstrator reacts during clashes with Israeli troops in the southern Gaza Strip near the border with Israel, December 29, 2017.

A Palestinian demonstrator reacts during clashes with Israeli troops in the southern Gaza Strip near the border with Israel, December 29, 2017. IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS

There is a growing sense that Israel may find itself sliding toward another military confrontation in the Gaza Strip, despite the still-valid assumption that it has no interest in one, and the highly likely belief that Hamas doesn’t, either. Sporadic rocket and mortar fire from Gaza has been going on for a month, ever since U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in early December. The fact that there have been no casualties from the 45 rockets and shells launched from the Strip, half of which fell inside Israel, is the main reason that the country’s leaders can refrain from taking harsher retaliatory measures.

However, with respect to Gaza, Israel is operating on borrowed time. Heads of local councils along the border and in the Negev are patient, as long as there are no casualties and the cycle of sirens and people running to shelters is not exacting a psychological toll on the residents. The army has managed to fine-tune the mechanism that alerts residents of an area likely to be hit by a rocket, which excludes many communities from being notified each time another one is launched.

Until this week the fire was attributed to Salafists, the smaller and more extreme groups operating in Gaza, with claims that Hamas was trying to restrain them. The rockets indeed stopped for a few days but was renewed this week with a barrage of mortar shells, which landed near Kibbutz Kfar Aza, where a memorial ceremony was being held for Sgt. Oron Shaul. The Israel Defense Forces admitted belatedly that the Islamic Jihad, a much larger organization than the Salafists, which is not always willing to obey Hamas directives, was responsible for the incident. Since then the Salafists have also resumed their fire, which now comes every two or three days. What seems like a routine journalistic chronicle from Tel Aviv may again make life intolerable in places like Sderot and Kibbutz Nirim.

Late on Wednesday night the Israel Air Force attacked a different type of target for the first time in this round of escalation. It was defined somewhat mysteriously as a “key terrorist infrastructure target”; the Palestinians also kept silent about it. However, reports of attacks on open agricultural fields in unpopulated areas, along with a statement by a spokesman that the army will continue taking all measures “above and underground,” suggest the logical hunch that the target was a tunnel.

If this is true, this would be the third tunnel struck by the IDF in the last two and a half months. In late October Israel destroyed an attack tunnel built by Islamic Jihad; 14 Hamas and Islamic Jihad members died with its collapse. Last month an attack tunnel built by Hamas was destroyed, without loss of life. It is patently obvious that the army’s construction of an underground barrier against tunnels, new technology and a change in the operation of intelligence teams are gradually depriving the Palestinians of their main offensive weapon, which they have pinned their hopes on in recent years.

These are noteworthy operational achievements. One can understand the IDF’s position that it would be best to continue building the barrier – which will take a year to complete, with another year to install the complementary components – rather than getting embroiled in another war with no strategic goal. With Israel finding it difficult to decide whether it wants to topple the Hamas government or just show the public that it’s not afraid of the enemy, it’s no wonder that senior military personnel prefer caution. In the background, Egypt is continuing its efforts to reconcile Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The Netanyahu government, although not comfortable with the (slim for now) chances for renewed Palestinian unity, does not want to be blamed for foiling it. It wants a conflict with its close allies in Cairo even less.

The trouble is that Israel’s room for maneuvering is decreasing. Its methods of deterrence, such as limited strikes against Hamas so that it restrains the Salafists, which served it well for over three years since the 2014 Gaza war, no longer seem effective. A possible alternative is direct strikes against Islamic Jihad targets such as camps and offices, rocket launching squads or even senior commanders. In the absence of any other exit strategy from the tensions, this may be the option that is chosen. However, intelligence agencies cannot guarantee political leaders that this will necessarily restrain Islamic Jihad, particularly if its Iranian patrons view an escalation in Gaza favorably at this point in time.

In the meantime, with the advent of winter and the continuing deterioration of living conditions in the Strip, Israel has taken a step to ease the situation. Palestinian Authority leaders were persuaded to renew payments for supplying electricity to Gaza and Israel is expected to increase the amount it delivers in the coming days. The fact that the right flank of the coalition is silent on this matter and – as compared to the opposition parties – is not urging Netanyahu to take harsher military measures in Gaza attests to the fact that cabinet members are getting a full picture of the complexity of the situation in the enclave. They, too, are aware of the limited means at Israel’s disposal, given that it doesn’t want to slide toward a war at this point in time.

Amos Harel
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Israel Strikes ‘Central Terrorist Infrastructure’ in Gaza in Response to Rocket Fire

January 4, 2018

Three rockets were fired earlier at Israeli communities ■ Army says will operate ‘below and above ground’ to thwart attacks

Yaniv Kubovich Jan 04, 2018 6:29 AM

Israeli planes strike targets in Gaza following rocket fire on Israeli border communities, December 30, 2017.

Israeli planes strike targets in Gaza following rocket fire on Israeli border communities, December 30, 2017. Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Israel Air Forces struck “central terrorist infrastructure” targets in the Gaza Strip overnight Wednesday, said the Israeli army spokesperson in a statement.

“The IDF will continue to employ all tactics available to it below and above ground to thwart attempted attacks on Israeli citizens,” the mili tary said in an unusual statement. “We are prepared and ready for a variety of scenarios, and we will work to face every attempt to breach Israeli sovereignty.”

After previous rocket fire from Gaza the Israeli miltiary said it attacked Hamas positions in Gaza.

Earlier on Wednesday, three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israeli communities near the border, the Israeli army confirmed. All the rockets exploded in open areas, causing no injuries or damage, the army said. In the first two cases, sirens did not sound, while a siren sounded for the third one.

The army also said on Wednesday morning that Islamic Jihad was behind Friday’s rocket attack, in which militants in Gaza fired a rocket toward Israel that disrupted a ceremony for a fallen IDF soldier.

The Israel Air Force hit a Hamas military compound in the Strip early Tuesday morning. The rocket was in retaliation to an earlier rocket fired from Gaza, which struck an open area in southern Israel on Monday. There were no casualties or damage in the incident.

Yaniv Kubovich
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Israel is surrounded by dangerous enemies, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot says — Sees two Shi’ite crescents

December 26, 2017

Israel is surrounded by dangerous enemies that require the military to act judiciously and creatively, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said.

“The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are clearly superior to its enemies, but we are aware of the real danger of proliferation on several fronts which are explosive and require us to act judiciously and creatively, to initiate and to dare,” Eisenkot said during the annual Chief of Staff Award ceremony honoring outstanding units at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv on Monday night.


 DECEMBER 26, 2017 17:05
The Jerusalem Post
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot speaks at the annual awards for outstanding IDF units. (IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot speaks at the annual awards for outstanding IDF units. (IDF SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

Eisenkot was addressing commanders and soldiers at the ceremony, in which certificates of excellence were awarded to outstanding troops in regular and territorial brigades, battalions, reserve units, training units, combat support units and technology units.

“You know more than anybody that we are in the midst of a complex security period in which you are required to take command and have a clear impact on the operational results,” he continued. “This evening is the most tangible expression of the operational and human strength of the Israel Defense Forces today.

 “All of you together contribute to the moral and operational strength of the IDF and serve as an important element in the IDF’s ability to realize its mission while maintaining its character as a professional and responsible army whose role is to safeguard the security of the State of Israel,” the chief of staff continued.

“I trust you that at this time you will serve as an example of professional and responsible action, that we will continue to maintain a good security reality over time, and if we are required to use the power of the IDF, we will use our full strength and defeat every enemy.”

The IDF has been kept on high alert along the borders, with an increasingly dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the ongoing wave of violence in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Following the US recognition on December 6 of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, dozens of rockets were fired from the Hamas-run enclave and thousands of Palestinians took to the streets, with some attacking IDF troops, leaving several Palestinians dead.

In the south, Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate is believed to be the jihadist group’s strongest branch. Israeli intelligence officials have warned that ISIS fighters from Iraq and Syria might join the branch in the restive Sinai Peninsula which, despite consisting of fewer than 1,000 operatives, has been responsible for numerous deadly attacks, mostly against Egyptian security personnel and civilians.

The war in Syria has also been a focus of Eisenkot’s, especially in terms of keeping advanced Iranian weapons from the hands of Hezbollah. Speaking to the London-based, Saudi-owned online newspaper Elaph in a rare interview in November, Eisenkot warned of the expansion of Iranian influence across the Middle East as a major concern to Israel and to the Sunni kingdom.

“The Iranian plan is to control the Middle East by means of two Shi’ite crescents,” he told Elaph. “The first being from Iran through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon, and the second across the Gulf from Bahrain to Yemen to the Red Sea. We must stop that from happening.”

During his two years as chief of staff, Eisenkot has focused on preparing Israel and its military for a sudden outbreak of conflict on the borders, and has restocked the IDF’s arsenal and increased training for reserve soldiers from five days a year to two weeks.

In March, during one of the army’s largest planned drills where 2,000 reserve soldiers were called up to simulate war in the Gaza Strip, Eisenkot said: “We have put preparedness at the top of the IDF’s list of priorities. This is evident from the increased training program.”

Another Palestinian Dead After Clashes With Israeli Forces

December 23, 2017


Above, Palestinian protesters carry a wounded comrade during clashes with Israeli soldiers near the border fence east of Gaza City on Friday, December 22. (AFP)

GAZA CITY: A Palestinian died on Saturday after being wounded by Israeli fire during a protest on the Gaza border against US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Health Ministry said.

Sharaf Shalash, 28, sustained bullet wounds last Sunday during a demonstration east of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra said.

His death brings to 11 the number of Palestinians killed since US President Donald Trump announced on Dec. 6 that he would recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US Embassy there from Tel Aviv.
Nine protesters have died in clashes with Israeli troops, two of them on Friday. Two others were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza earlier in the month.
Shalash and the two Palestinians killed on Friday were buried on Saturday, in Gaza City, Beit Hanun and Jabalia.
After the Shalash funeral in Jabalia, Palestinians went to the border with Israel where they threw stones at soldiers, who responded with tear gas and live bullets.
One Palestinian was wounded, Qudra said.
A UN General Assembly resolution passed on Thursday, rejecting US President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 Jerusalem declaration, did little to calm Palestinian anger over his reversal of decades-old US policy on the contested holy city.
Most countries regard the status of Jerusalem as a matter to be settled in an eventual Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, although that process is now stalled.
A total of 128 countries voted for the UN resolution. Nine opposed it and 35 abstained. Twenty-one countries did not cast a vote.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a Christmas message, called the US move “an insult to millions of people worldwide, and also to the city of Jerusalem.”
Abbas also said Palestinians would reject new Middle East peace proposals to be unveiled by US President Donald Trump early next year.
“The United States has proved to be a dishonest mediator in the peace process and we will no longer accept any plan from it,” he told a joint press conference in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron repeated his earlier condemnation of the US decision, but he also ruled out recognizing Palestine as a state, which France has considered before.
“The Americans have marginalized themselves and I am trying to not do the same thing,” Macron said.
Abbas praised Macron at the news conference, which was notable for the warmth of the exchanges and the relaxed body language.
Macron said he had “committed myself very clearly to doing everything” to further the peace process and would visit the Palestinian territories in 2018 and “intensify” contacts between the French and Palestinian governments.
The US decision on Jerusalem continues to reverberate in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Israel: IDF stresses no basis for claim paraplegic Gaza protester was targeted by troops

December 23, 2017

A week after Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh’s death, Yoav Mordechai asks Red Cross to share details of injuries the double amputee sustained, urges end to ‘conspiracy of lies’

Time of Israel
December 22, 2017
This  photo taken on May 19, 2017 shows handicapped Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waving a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the blockade on Gaza, near the border fence east of Gaza City. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

This photo taken on May 19, 2017 shows handicapped Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waving a Palestinian flag during clashes with Israeli soldiers following a protest against the blockade on Gaza, near the border fence east of Gaza City. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

A top Israeli general on Saturday said there was no basis for reports that the wheelchair-bound Palestinian amputee who was killed during riots along the Gaza border on December 15 was deliberately targeted by an Israeli army sniper or by Israeli troops in general.

An IDF investigation did not establish that Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh died as a result of IDF fire, Maj. Gen Yoav Mordechai, the IDF liaison to the Palestinians, wrote on his Facebook page in Arabic. And there was “no basis for the false reports that a sniper deliberately targeted” him, Mordechai said.

Mordechai said he had called on the International Red Cross to share its records of the injuries Abu Thurayeh sustained at the border protest in order to “determine the truth and end the conspiracy of lies that incites violence.”

The Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of the Government’s Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. (Screenshot)

Palestinian reports, wrote Mordechai, have asserted that Abu Thurayeh, a double amputee who reportedly lost both his legs in a 2008 Israeli airstrike, died after he was shot by an Israeli sniper during the border protest.

His death sparked angry denunciations by Palestinians and others, who said he could not have represented a serious threat during the ongoing protests against US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

A picture taken on December 10, 2017 shows a tear gas cannister falling amdist Palestinian protesters during clashes with Israeli forces near the Israel-Gaza border east of the southern Gaza strip city of Khan Yunis. (AFP PHOTO / MAHMUD HAMS)

In the wake of the incident, the IDF launched an internal probe of Abu Thurayeh’s death, and determined that soldiers did not intentionally shootthe wheelchair-bound protester.

The results of the internal probe presented to Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir on Monday identified no “no moral or professional failures” by the part of the Israeli soldiers, but slammed Palestinian officials for hindering its investigation by not sharing details of his injuries sustained at the protest.

In its statement, the military said last Friday’s demonstration “was extremely violent and included thousands of rioters, and soldiers fired selectively on chief instigators.”

According to AFP, Abu Thurayeh was a regular feature at protests along the border. The unmarried 29-year-old lived at home with his parents and had been without regular work since the incident in which he lost his legs, the agency said.

“He was injured in 2008 by an Israeli helicopter that targeted him after he brought down the Israeli flag and raised the Palestinian flag along the border,” his brother Samir told AFP after his death was confirmed last week. “It did not stop him from demonstrating for Jerusalem. He went alone every day to the border.”

In video footage recorded early on the day of the incident, Abu Thurayeh could be seen carrying the Palestinian flag and waving the victory sign at Israeli soldiers across the border.

“I want to go there,” he said, referring to the other side of the border, as a number of young men surrounding him waved Palestinian flags and others threw stones towards the troops. “This land is our land, we will not give up. America has to withdraw its decision,” he said in another video posted on social media.

Wheelchair-bound Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waving a Palestinian flag during a protest along the Gaza-Israel border on December 15, 2017, as clashes with Israeli security forces against Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital intensified. (MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

A few hours before his death, and despite having no legs, Abu Thurayeh climbed an electricity pole to raise the Palestinian flag, eyewitnesses and journalists present said.

The Guardian quoted eyewitnesses who said Abu Thurayeh’s wheelchair was later pushed up to the fence, whereupon he climbed out of it and tried to crawl forward towards it, before being hit.

Hamas, the terror group which rules Gaza and seeks to destroy Israel, has called for a new intifada to liberate Jerusalem and urged Palestinians to confront soldiers and settlers.

At Abu Thurayeh’s funeral last week, Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh termed him a hero and a martyr, and vowed never to relinquish Jerusalem. “And I don’t mean East Jerusalem, but unified Jerusalem,” he said, in footage screened by Israel’s Channel 10. “Not East Jerusalem and not West Jerusalem. Muslim. Muslim.”

On Friday, the Gaza health Ministry said two protesters were killed in ongoing clashes along the border, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed since Trump’s December 6th announcement to 11.

During clashes east of Gaza city, another wheelchair-bound demonstrator was documented by Daily Mail taking part in violent riots.

Israel targets Hamas site in Gaza after rocket fire

December 18, 2017

An Israeli F-15 fighter jet takes off during an exercise at Ovda Military Airbase in southern Israel in this file photo from 16 May 2017. (Reuters)

JERUSALEM: Israeli aircraft targeted a Hamas facility in the northern Gaza Strip early Monday, hours after two rockets fired from the Palestinian enclave struck southern Israel, the army said.

“In response to the rockets launched toward southern Israel, IAF (Israel air force) aircraft targeted a Hamas training compound in the northern Gaza Strip,” a statement from the military said. “In the compound three structures and other terror infrastructure were targeted.”
There were no reports of injuries from the health ministry in Gaza.
On Sunday night, two projectiles fired from Gaza hit southern Israel, one damaging a home in a border town.
Another projectile flew short of its target and hit Gaza, the army said.
The Sunday attacks ended a three-day lull in the latest wave of rocket fire amid anger over US President Donald Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Militants in the Palestinian enclave have fired both rockets and mortar rounds into Israel since Trump’s deeply controversial announcement.
Trump’s announcement was followed by protests across the Palestinian territories, with six Gazans killed — four in clashes with Israeli forces along the border and two Hamas militants in an Israeli air strike in retaliation for rocket fire.
The rockets are often fired by small Islamist groups but Israel holds Gaza’s rulers Hamas responsible for any attacks from the territory.
“The IDF (Israel defense forces) holds the Hamas terror organization accountable for this hostile act originating from the Gaza Strip,” the Monday statement from the military read.

Israel destroys cross-border tunnel — Hamas uses tunnels to infiltrate into Israeli territory

December 10, 2017
 DECEMBER 10, 2017 12:00


The tunnel “is a flagrant violation of Israel’s sovereignty and cannot be accepted,” said IDF Spokesman Brig-Gen. Ronen Manelis.

The Israeli army destroyed a large Hamas tunnel which had infiltrated into Israeli territory from Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip, IDF Spokesman Brig-Gen. Ronen Manelis announced on Sunday.

The tunnel, which stretched a few hundred meters into southern Israel was identified several weeks ago using  “unique tools combined with advanced technology, intelligence and operational capabilities,” Manelis said.

The neutralization, which was done by the IDF’s Southern Command, “is a necessary defensive action to prevent harm to civilians and soldiers,” he said, adding that “it was a quiet neutralization. No one heard it. But the tunnel has been destroyed.”

IDF forces destroy a cross-border Hamas tunnel on December 9, 2017. (IDF SPOKESMAN'S UNIT)IDF forces destroy a cross-border Hamas tunnel on December 9, 2017. (IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

“Locating two terror tunnels in recent weeks is an operational success based on advanced technology, attesting to a rise in the level of the tools developed and used by the IDF.”

In late October the IDF destroyed a cross-border Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) attack tunnel, killing 12 terrorists including two senior Islamic Jihad commanders and two Hamas members. The group threatened to retaliate against Israel for the deaths of its members, leading the IDF to deploy Iron Dome missile defense batteries in central Israel.

Two weeks ago the group fired 12 projectiles aimed at the IDF post and a cement factory on the northeastern edge of the Gaza Strip where construction crews are working on Israel’s new underground barrier with the Strip.

According to Manelis, while the tunnel destroyed on Sunday was discovered several weeks ago, there was no connections between the PIJ barrage and the tunnel.

The tunnel destroyed on Sunday was found deeper in Israeli territory than the tunnel belonging to PIJ, which was found on the border and was in advanced stages of construction, Manelis said, stressing that Hamas had put significant effort into it.

The IDF has been investing extensive effort in locating cross-border tunnels from Gaza after several soldiers were killed by Hamas militants during Operation Protective Edge in 2014, when they emerged from numerous tunnels dug into Israel by the terror group.  Hamas’ tunnel infrastructure surprised the IDF and left the residents of border communities concerned of possible tunnels beneath their homes.

According to Manelis, civilian communities were not threatened at any moment by the tunnel [which was at least 1 kilometer from the nearest community] which “is a flagrant violation of Israel’s sovereignty and cannot be accepted.”

In response to the tunnel threat, Israel has begun building a state-of-the-art underground barrier, which has a system of advanced sensor and monitoring devices to detect tunnels combined with a 6 m. high above-ground smart fence.

While the IDF is confident that no tunnel will be able to cross the underground barrier, there remains a large amount of construction on the barrier which has yet to be completed, including in the area where the tunnel was located.

The destruction of the tunnel did not lead to any deaths, Manelis said, adding that even if there were he was “not sorry,” and that Israel will continue to take all measures at its disposal to destroy any cross-border tunnels.

“I advise any group who wants to threaten Israel to think twice,” he said. “These tunnels will be a death trap to anyone inside.”

#IDF announced that a new terrorist attack tunnel, penetrating several hundred meters into Israel, was destroyed overnight. Israeli Engineers, intelligence, and technology combined made this possible. This is the second attack tunnel destroyed in a few weeks.

Israel’s Iron Dome Destroys Rocket Fired From Gaza

December 8, 2017
 DECEMBER 8, 2017 18:38

No injuries or damage after projectile explodes en route to Israeli territory.

iron dome

An Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod.  (photo credit: REUTERS)

No one was hurt and no damage was reported.

Later Friday evening, rocket sirens sounded in Sdot Negev Regional Council and in Bnei Shimon. The IDF reported that rockets were fired toward Israel from Gaza, but no landings have yet been discovered. Troops are currently searching the area.

Alarms were heard in several communities in the area surrounding the Gaza Strip.

There were some reports of an explosion seen over the city of Sderot.

Earlier today a Palestinian protester was shot dead and around 30 others were injured in clashes along the border fence with Israel, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.