Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Russia Condemns Iran’s Calls to Destroy Israel, but Also Tells Jerusalem That Tehran Is Not the Problem

February 19, 2018

Russian FM Lavrov admonishes Iranian desire ‘to wipe Israel off the map,’ but insists: Iranian meddling isn’t the only way to understand Middle East

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FILE PHOTO: Iran's President Hassan Rohani together with his counterpart Russia's Vladimir Putin Russia on November 22, 2017.
FILE PHOTO: Iran’s President Hassan Rohani together with his counterpart Russia’s Vladimir Putin Russia on November 22, 2017. \ SPUTNIK/ REUTERS

Russia condemned Monday Iranian sentiments that Israel should be destroyed, but also sent a clear message to Israel that solving the Mideast’s regional conflicts should not be viewed solely through the prism of conflict with Iran, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

In comments reported by the TASS news agency, Lavrov said “We have stated many times that we won’t accept the statements that Israel, as a Zionist state, should be destroyed and wiped off the map. I believe this is an absolutely wrong way to advance one’s own interests,” Lavrov stressed.

Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018Sven Hoppe/AP

Lavrov said that tensions between Israel and Iran are escalating and that “by the same token, we oppose attempts to view any regional problem through the prism of fighting Iran.

“This is happening in Syria, Yemen and even the latest developments around the Palestinian issue, including Washington’s announcement of its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, are largely motivated by this anti-Iranian stance,” Lavrov emphasized.

These comments follow the speeches made by Prime Minister Benjamina Netanyahu and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Sunday at the annual Security Conference in Munich.

Holding up wreckage of the Iranian drone shot down by Israel recently, Netanyahu said Israel “will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself,” and warning Zarif not to “test Israel resolve.”

On the Iranian side, Zarif accused Israel of using aggression as a policy. When asked about what would Iran do if the United States abandoned the nuclear deal, Zarif said Iran will respond “seriously” if its interests were not secure, adding that the world will be “sorry for taking this erroneous course of action.”

Zarif however said that the deal was struck the accord “in spite” of Netanyahu, adding that the world “will maintain” the agreement, “despite his [Netanyahu’s] delusional attempts” to dismantle it.”

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/russia-condemns-calls-to-destroy-israel-or-fight-iran-1.5828003

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Israel strikes Gaza tunnel after renewed rocket fire

February 19, 2018

Times of Israel
February 19, 2018

By  JOSHUA DAVIDOVICH

Palestinians report heavy damage from raids in second straight night of cross-border fire following fresh rocket attack out of Strip

Palestinians check the site of an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on February 18, 2018. (AFP / MAHMUD HAMS)

Palestinians check the site of an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on February 18, 2018. (AFP / MAHMUD HAMS)

The Israeli military struck the Gaza Strip early Monday, hours after a rocket was shot into southern Israel as intense cross-border fighting persisted for a third straight day.

The army said it attacked “underground infrastructure” in the southern Gaza Strip, likely referring to a tunnel dug by the Hamas terror group and others in the Palestinian enclave.

The military did not say if the strikes were from tank shelling or airstrikes.

The Palestinian Safa news site reported that heavy damage was caused by 10 airstrikes, but no injuries were reported.

Palestinians in the Strip reported hearing explosions near agricultural areas outside Rafah in the south of the Strip on social media.

أصوات القذائف والصواريخ التي سقطت شرق رفح جنوب قطاع ,, حيث استيقظ الاطفال والنساء من النوم نتيجة الأصوات العالية والتي تسبب بخوفهم , ننوه بأن طيران الاحتلال ما زال يحلق بكثافة في سماء القطاع .

The IDF said the attack was in response to a projectile fired at Israel earlier. The rocket, fired late Sunday, reportedly landed in an open area in the Sha’ar Hanegev region bordering the Strip.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket, but Israel maintains a policy of holding Hamas, which rules Gaza, responsible.

“Hamas is responsible for anything that happens in the Strip and whatever comes out of it, both over and underground,” the army said in a statement.

Israeli troops and first responders at the Gaza border following an explosion that targeted an IDF patrol, February 17, 2018 (Hadashot news screenshot)

Israel has been working to thwart tunnels being dug by Hamas and other group under the Strip, some of which cross into Israeli territory and are thought planned for use in future attacks. The Defense Ministry is at work on an underground barrier that it says will stop the tunnels from crossing into Israel.

Fighting with Gaza ramped up over the weekend after four soldiers were injured by an explosive device attached to a flag on the border. Later Saturday, a house in the community of Sha’ar Hanegev sustained damage from a rocket fired from Gaza. No injuries were reported.

Israel responded by targeting 18 sites in Gaza, including Hamas posts and one target that the army said was managed by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, thought behind the IED.

The targets included observation posts, an attack tunnel and Hamas weapons factories, the army said.

Two Palestinians were killed, according to the Hamas-run Gazan health ministry.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-strikes-gaza-tunnels-after-renewed-rocket-fire/

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Israeli warplanes hit Gaza after new rocket attack

February 19, 2018

AFP

© AFP | Israeli soldiers monitor an area near the border with Gaza on February 18, 2018
GAZA CITY (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) – Israeli warplanes hit Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early on Monday after a rocket fired by Palestinians slammed into southern Israel, the army said.It did not elaborate on the targets but Palestinian security sources said several missiles were fired at farmland east of Rafah in the south of the coastal enclave.

Israeli “fighter jets targeted underground infrastructure in the southern Gaza Strip, in response to the projectile that was launched at Israel earlier,” an army statement said.

No casualties were reported in either incident.

The strikes followed fierce exchanges over the weekend in which Israeli ground forces killed two Palestinian teenagers in the enclave in cross-border fire.

Warplanes also pounded 18 Hamas facilities in two waves of air strikes, according to the Israeli military.

Those raids were in response to an explosion Saturday in which four Israeli soldiers inspecting the border fence were injured by an apparent Palestinian booby trap.

Two of the men were severely wounded but their lives were not in danger, the army said.

The blast and the retaliatory fire marked one of the most serious escalations in the Hamas-ruled territory since the Islamist movement and Israel fought a war in 2014.

Rocket Launched at Israel From Gaza Explodes in Open Territory

February 18, 2018

Haaretz

No injuries or damage has been reported. Yesterday the Israeli army attacked 18 Hamas targets in the Strip

.File photo: Rocket fired from Gaza.
File photo: Rocket fired from Gaza.אילן אסייג

A rocket launched from Gaza exploded in an open territory of southern Israel’s Sha’ar Hanegev regional council on Sunday night, the Israeli army said.

A rocket siren sounded in the southern Israel city of Sderot and Sha’ar Hanegev regional council. No injuries or damage have been reported.

Early Sunday morning, the Israeli military said it attacked 18 Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, the second such action by Israel in less than 24 hours. The attacks was in response to an explosive device going off on the border with Israel and to rocket fire.

A rocket fired from the Strip on Saturday hit the roof of a house in an Israeli town after sirens sounded in several communities near the border. Rocket sirens sounded multiple times during the night.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said that two people were injured moderately as a result of the Israeli attacks and were transferred to receive medical care at a hospital in Rafah. Palestinian rescue forces, the ministry said, were scouting an area east of Rafah that they said was hit by Israeli artillery fire.

Two Palestinians were killed and two others were wounded Saturday night by Israeli shells when they approached the Gaza border, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. The two wounded Palestinians were evacuated to hospital overnight and only this morning two bodies were found in the area, east of Rafah, the ministry added. The bodies were identified as Salem Mohammed Sabah and Abdullah Ayman Sheikha, both 17, from Rafah.

This is a developing story.

Swastikas Sprayed on Poland’s Tel Aviv Embassy Day After ‘Jewish Holocaust Perpetrators’ Remark

February 18, 2018

Haaretz

Police investigating graffiti found at entrance to Tel Aviv embassy. On Saturday, Polish PM said Holocaust had Polish perpetrators ‘just as there were Jewish ones’

.Swastikas sprayed on the gate of the Poland's embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.
Swastikas sprayed on the gate of the Poland’s embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.Israel Police

Swastikas and anti-Polish slogans were found sprayed on Sunday at the entrance to the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv. Israel Police said an investigation has been launched.

The graffiti was sprayed a day after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the Holocaust had Polish perpetrators, just as it had Jewish ones.

Moraweicki made the statement at the Munich Security Conference in response to a question by Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman regarding the controversial law that criminalizes mentioning the Polish nation’s complicity in the Holocaust. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply rebuked the ‘outrageous’ remarks.

Graffiti sprayed at the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.

Graffiti sprayed at the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.דוברות המשטרה

.Swastikas sprayed on the gate of the Poland's embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.

Swastikas sprayed on the gate of the Poland’s embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.Israel Police

Israel has vehemently criticized the bill ever since it’s proposal, with Morawiecki recognizing the poor timing of the bill but stressing that “All the atrocities and all the victims, everything that happened during World War II on Polish soil, has to be attributed to Germany.”

The legislation, which was approved by the Polish parliament, had referred the legislation to the Constitutional Tribunal to consider its constitutionality, and added that possible prison sentence and fines “are not really designed to punish anyone.” The law will also be difficult to enforce, he acknowledged, and may be subject to changes required by the country’s constitutional tribunal.

.Graffiti sprayed on the gate of the Poland's embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.

Graffiti sprayed on the gate of the Poland’s embassy in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2018.דוברות המשטרה

Israel arrests Palestinians ‘planning attack on defence minister’

February 18, 2018

AFP

© POOL/AFP/File | Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman is seen during a press conference in Tel Aviv on April 21, 2017

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel arrested six Palestinians suspected of planning attacks targeting Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and other Israelis in the occupied West Bank, security agency Shin Bet said Sunday.Shin Bet said the six were affiliated with the Islamic Jihad militant group and were active in the Bethlehem area where they sought to carry out shootings against Israeli civilians and security forces.

In addition, some of the group had been planning to target Lieberman’s vehicle when he travelled to his home in a West Bank settlement.

According to a Shin Bet statement, the suspects had been “trying to obtain explosives to make a bomb, and even reached out to terror elements in (Gaza) for funding.”

“Upon failing to acquire the materials, they decided to create a fake device to receive recognition for their action and enable further attacks,” the statement read.

The six will be charged in an Israeli military court later Sunday.

In 2014, Shin Bet said it had apprehended a Hamas group planning to assassinate then-foreign minister Lieberman by firing a rocket-propelled grenade at his convoy.

Iran’s Zarif says Israel’s ‘myth of invincibility’ has crumbled

February 18, 2018

Image may contain: 2 people

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui Reuters

Reuters

MUNICH (Reuters) – Iran’s Foreign Minister said on Sunday the shooting down of an Israeli jet after it bombed an Iranian site in Syria had shattered Israel’s “so-called invincibility”, reacting to a critical speech delivered earlier by Israel’s premier.

“Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbours,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Munich Security Conference, accusing Israel of “mass reprisals against its neighbours and daily incursions into Syria, Lebanon.”

“Once the Syrians have the guts to down one of its planes it’s as if a disaster has happened,” Zarif said.

He was responding to Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the conference hours before, in which the Israeli prime minister, holding a piece of what he said was an Iranian drone, accused Iran of trying to impose an “empire” across the Middle East.

“What has happened in the past several days is the so-called invincibility (of Israel) has crumbled,” Zarif said of Netanyahu’s remarks, which followed the Feb. 10 downing of an Israeli F-16 jet.

David Ivry, a former Israeli Air Force chief, told Reuters earlier this month he believed it was the first time an Israeli F-16 was brought down since Israel began using the jets in the 1980s.

Anti-aircraft fire downed the jet as it was returning from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria.

It was one of at least eight Israeli planes despatched in response to what Israel said was an Iranian drone’s incursion into its airspace earlier on that day.

The jet was hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile and crashed in northern Israel, according to an Israeli official.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott and Thomas Escritt)

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Netanyahu says Israel could act against Iran’s ’empire’

February 18, 2018

Reuters

MUNICH (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel would act against Iran, not just its allies in the Middle East, if needed, reiterating his country’s position that Tehran was the world’s greatest threat.

 Image may contain: 1 person, standing and suit

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, delivers a speech during the International Security Conference in Munich, Germany, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018. (Sven Hoppe-dpa via AP)

As tensions increase in the Middle East over Iran’s role in Syria and Yemen and as U.S. President Donald Trump presses for a tougher approach on Tehran, Israel is seeking wider support to contain its regional nemesis.

Holding a piece of what he said was an Iranian drone after its incursion into Israeli airspace earlier this month, Netanyahu told the Munich Security Conference: ”Israel will not allow the regime to put a noose of terror around our neck.

“We will act if necessary not just against Iran’s proxies but against Iran itself,” he said.

In his first address to the annual Munich event, which draws security and defense officials and diplomats from across Europe and the United States, Netanyahu urged his audience to counter Iran immediately, displaying a map showing what he said was Iran’s growing presence in the Middle East.

For its part, Iran pushed back. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who also addressed the conference, called Netanyahu’s presentation “a cartoonish circus, which does not even deserve a response”.

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting and indoor

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Munich, meeting with UK Labour MP Catherine Ashton

Zarif accused the United States of using the conference to “revive hysteria” against Iran, and denied that Tehran was seeking “hegemony” in the Middle East.

But Netanyahu said Iran was increasing its power as a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was regaining territory from militants.

“The unfortunate thing is that as ISIS compresses and Iran moves in, it is trying to establish this continuous empire surrounding the Middle East from the south in Yemen but also trying to create a land bridge from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza,” Netanyahu said.

“This is a very dangerous development for our region.”

Among Israel’s main concerns is Lebanon, where the heavily armed Iran-backed Shi‘ite militia Hezbollah is part of a coalition government. Israel last fought a war against Hezbollah in 2006. Tension between Israel and Lebanon has increased, including over a maritime border dispute.

Lebanon’s Defense Minister, Yacoub Riad Sarraf, who spoke after Netanyahu, said: “Watch out, we will defend ourselves … we also have friends.”

Image result for Lebanon’s Defense Minister, Yacoub Riad Sarraf, photos, Munich

Lebanon’s Defense Minister, Yacoub Riad Sarraf

Tensions in the region surged on Feb. 10 when anti-aircraft fire downed an Israeli warplane returning from a bombing raid on Iran-backed positions in Syria.

“PUT OUT THE FIRE”

Netanyahu also reiterated his view, shared by Trump, that world powers needed to scrap or rewrite the 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran that curbs Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions in return for economic sanctions’ relief.

“It’s time to stop them now,” Netanyahu said, without specifying any military action. “They’re aggressive, they are developing ballistic missiles, they’re not inspecting, they have a free highway to massive (uranium) enrichment,” he said of the fuel needed for nuclear weapons.

France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China, which signed the nuclear deal along with Iran and the United States, say the accord cannot be reopened, that it is working and that Iran is allowing inspections.

Russian senator Aleksey Pushkov said that scrapping the agreement was akin to choosing between war and peace, while John Kerry, the former U.S. secretary of state who helped clinch the agreement, said it was wrong to assume that Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon as soon as the 15-year scope of the deal ends.

Image result for 54th Munich Security Conference, John Kerry, others, photos

John Kerry, former U.S. secretary of state

“If your house is on fire, are you going to refuse to put it out because you are concerned it will light on fire again in 15 years? Or are you going to put it out and use the intervening time to prevent to ever catching fire again?” Kerry said.

Iranian FM Ridicules Netanyahu’s ‘Cartoonish Circus’ as Attempt to ‘Avoid Domestic Crisis’

February 18, 2018

HAARETZ

More details soon…

.Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during the Tehran Security Conference in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.
Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during the Tehran Security Conference in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

MUNICH – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif on Sunday called remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he waved wreckage of an Iranian drone shot down over Israel, a “cartoonish circus.”

Zarif said some at the conference “resort to cartoons to justify strategic blunders or maybe avoid domestic crisis,” possibly hinting at Netanyahu’s legal trouble at home.

Netanyahu, who spoke earlier at the conference, said held up a piece of an Iranian drone Israel shot down last week, and asked Zarif, who was sitting in the crowd: “Do you recognize it? You should, it’s yours. Don’t test us.”

When asked about Netanyahu’s speech, and what should happen for Iran to recognize Israel, Zarif accused the prime minister of using “aggression as a policy.”

“The entire speech was trying to evade issue. What has happened is the so-called invincibility has crumbled. Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbors.”

More details soon..

Munich Security Conference: Netanyahu, Holding Wreckage of Iranian Drone, Says Israel Will Not Allow Iran ‘Put a Noose of Terror Around Our Neck’

February 18, 2018

Haaretz

More details soon…

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Netanyahu holding up a piece of an Iranian drone shot down last week over Israel.
Netanyahu holding up a piece of an Iranian drone shot down last week over Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Iran is the greatest threat to the world. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, the Israeli premier said Iran was not Nazi Germany, but stated that the two has many similarities.

“Israel will not allow the Iranian regime to put a noose of terror around our neck,” Netanyahu said.

During his speech, Netanyahu held a piece of an Iranian drone Israel shot down last week after it infiltrated its territory.

More details soon…