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January 22, 2017 / 24 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘fighters’

69 Years Ago Today: Loss of 35 Fighters Who Could Have Saved Gush Etzion

Monday, January 16th, 2017

On Wednesday, Shvat 3, 5708, January 14, 1948, a massive Arab force of between 400 and 600 Arab gang members and local villagers attacked Gush Etzion, a Jewish enclave of four agricultural villages south of Jerusalem, established between 1940 and 1947 on property purchased in the 1920s and 1930s. The Arab forces tried to take over Khirbet Zakaria, a small Arab sharecroppers’ village at the heart of the Gush, and thus sever Ein Tzurim and Revadim in the north from Kfar Etzion and Masuot Yitzhak south of Khirbet Zakaria. It was a well-organized attack, which pinned down the defenders of Kfar Etzion, preventing them from sending reinforcements to the southern communities. In the end, though, the Jewish forces prevailed, showing astonishing bravery, killing as many as 100 Arab attackers and wounding hundreds more.

The victory of “Battle of Shvat 3rd,” as it was hailed at the time, was extremely costly, increasing the Gush’s already dire situation in terms of number of weapons, ammunition, batteries for the com systems and medical supplies. But most of all, as the Gush Commander Uzi Narkis, who in 1967 commanded the forces that liberated it, kept sending desperate telegrams warning about the high casualties and the urgent need to replace lost men. Add to that intelligence reports that suggested the Arabs were preparing for another attack, and there was no doubt left that a convoy had to be sent to improve the situation.

Graves of the Convoy of 35 on Mount Herzl.

Graves of the Convoy of 35 on Mount Herzl.

On January 16, 1948, the “Company of 35” (which started out with 38 fighters) was sent by the Haganah to deliver the badly needed supplies to the four Gush Etzion villages under siege. It was made up of men from several Hagana units, commanded by the former commander of Gush Etzion, Daniel “Dani” Mass, who was born in Berlin and made Aliyah with his parents in 1933.

The company set out on foot from Hartuv at 11 PM, January 15. They took a detour around the local British Police station, to avoid detection. Three were sent back because one man sprained an ankle, and two accompanied him. The remaining 35 were killed overnight by Arab villagers and militiamen between the villages of Jaba’ and Surif.

Had the “Lamed Heh” (35 in Hebrew) made it to the Gush, the entire area south of Jerusalem that ended up under Jordanian occupation for 19 years could have remained intact as part of the new Jewish State that was declared in May of that year. It would have reduced significantly the size of the remaining area under Arab rule and its annexation in 1968, along with eastern Jerusalem could have been less challenging to the Israeli government after the Six-Day War.

The fate of the 35 was later reconstructed from British and Arab reports. Daylight apparently came too soon, exposing the force an hour away from their destination. Two Arab women spotted two scouts from the force near Surif. A large mob of armed villagers from Surif and other Arab villages set up an ambush in the company’s path. The battle that ensued was fought in two segments, about four hours each, until their ammunition ran out and the last fighter was killed around 4:30 PM. Among the fallen were botanist Tuvia Kushnir, US born Moshe Perlstein who fought in WW2, and three members of the Hebrew Communist Party.

The British dispatched a platoon of the Royal Sussex Regiment to investigate the outcome of the battle and were led by local Arabs to the remains of the 35, which, reportedly, had been mutilated.

According to historian Benny Morris, the Palmach launched a retaliatory attack on the village of Sa’sa’ on February 14, killing 60 Arabs and blowing up 20 houses.

JNi.Media

IDF Special Force Unit to Require Officer’s Rank of All Fighters

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

The IDF Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance) special forces unit is about to become revolutionized as all its future warriors will be expected to attain an officer’s rank and sign up for an extra three years of service, on top of the current compulsory service time, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Saturday. It will turn Sayeret Matkal into an officers-only force.

The IDF Intelligence HR departments are in the process of completing the work required to carry out this significant change in the unit. The main reason for the move has to do with the fact that the equipment and technological facility required of the unit’s fighters are exceptionally high, making their initial training time longer. The military does not want to lose its investment in these men when they are discharged after three or four years.

Fighters who are already part of the unit will be offered a shortened officers’ course, and would be obligated to sign for extended service which is a prerequisite of their new rank.

Sayeret Matkal was created to fill the void left in 1954, after Israel’s first special operations force Unit 101 was disbanded as a result of the Qibya massacre of October 1953. In 1957 Avraham Arnan, a former yeshiva student and Palmach fighter, was authorized by the IDF General Staff to create a unit that could be dispatched to enemy-held territory to carry out top secret intelligence-gathering missions. Modeled after the British Special Air Service, the unit was trained, among others, by Bedouin trackers. It also took advantage of the IDF new fleet of helicopters for longer and deeper missions in Arab territory.

JNi.Media

Pentagon Confirms American Soldier Killed by ISIS in Northern Iraq

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

The Da’esh (ISIS) terrorist group killed a U.S. soldier in Iraq this week, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense announced Tuesday.

The soldier was “aiding Kurdish fighters near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul,” according to the statement by the DoD spokesperson.

He was “hit by direct enemy fire about 20 miles from Mosul,” which the spokesperson labeled as the Da’esh “de facto capital in Iraq.”

CBS News quoted U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter as saying in a brief statement “It is a combat death, of course. And a very sad loss,” but giving no detail.

The U.S.-led “Operation Inherent Resolve” also issued a short written statement that said a coalition “service member was killed in northern Iraq as a result of enemy fire.”

The “enemy” was not specifically named by the government, however.

According to CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin, the soldier was an American adviser to the Kurdish Peshmerga force, working with a unit a couple of miles behind the front line “during a battle with ISIS.”

Some of the terrorists managed to penetrate through the line into Kurdish territory and killed the soldier with a gunshot, he reported, despite air support from U.S. F-15 fighter jets and drones during the battle.

“It was a real battle, not just one-off raid,” Martin reported.

A U.S. Marine was killed by Da’esh rocket fire and several others were wounded in northern Iraq in mid-March.

Hana Levi Julian

Human Error Kills Dozens of Hezbollah Fighters in Syrian Chemical Attack

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

Dozens of Hezbollah fighters were killed last week in a chemical attack perpetrated against them in error by their allies in the Syrian air force, diplomatic sources in Beirut told Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida reported on Sunday. The report said that Syrian aircraft attacked by mistake the town of al-Ais south of Aleppo. The attack came as part of the Syrian regime’s effort to retake the Aleppo area, and the Hezbollah men simply got in the way.

The report said there were chemical burn marks on the bodies. “This is not the first incident to take place due to the coordination problems between the regime and the Russian army, Hezbollah and Iran,” the diplomatic source told Al Jarida, noting that “such incidents have been repeated since the Russians’ entry into the conflict.”

The same source raised concerns regarding the Syrian regime’s return to everyday use of unconventional weapons, well after it was established that the President Assad army no longer possesses such weapons and had committed to never using such weapons again. The source even suggested that part of President Putin’s decision to take his army out of Syria had to do with concerns regarding Syrian chemical weapons.

The source suggested the incident may also cause Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to pull his forces out of Syria. Hezbollah casualties in the Syrian civil war are believed to have surpassed 1,000.

In early April, ISIS attacked the Assad forces with chemical weapons at an airbase in eastern Syria, according to state news agency SANA. The report said “ISIS terrorists attacked Deir Ezzor military airport with rockets carrying mustard gas, causing some people to suffocate.”

JNi.Media

Kurds Block ISIS Advance on Syrian Town

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Kurdish fighters in Syria say they have blocked an advance by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) towards the town of Kobani near the border of Turkey.

“Fierce clashes are still underway but the ISIS advance to the east of Kobani has been halted since last night,” said Redur Xelil, spokesman for YPG, the main Syrian Kurdish group.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that ISIS fighters have made no significant advance in the past 24 hours. The Observatory tracks violence in the Syrian civil war.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Who by the Sword, Who by Wild Beasts, Who by Hunger, Who by the Plague

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

In the supplemental prayer of The Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement, we say these words almost mechanically, theoretically, because this is the text. But in Syria this is reality. The regime’s war against the citizens’ demonstrations, which began two years and seven months ago, has become a dirty, despicable and accursed war, where everyone is fighting everyone else. People from both sides have lost the likeness of man, thrown human values to the winds, lost any semblance of humanity, and have become predatory animals, (“and who by a wild beast”).

Assad’s army has besieged the eastern neighborhoods of Damascus because they serve as a corridor of passage to the capitol for the jihadists who come from Jordan and Iraq. In these neighborhoods in recent weeks, tens of thousands of people have been besieged, cut off from all sources of life: food, water, electricity, and from Asad’s point of view they might as well all die from starvation. These were the neighborhoods that suffered the great attack of chemical weapons on the 21st of August in which approximately 1500 people were killed, men, women and children. As a result of the hunger, a group of Muslim religious arbiters issued a ruling that allows the residents of these neighborhoods to eat cats, dogs and donkeys, in order to survive the siege and the starvation.

There are reports about places like Mu’adhamiyat al-Sham where there have been many cases of death by starvation because of the siege imposed on these places, in addition to cases when injured people have died because they did not receive treatment in time. In addition, there are places where diseases like cholera are rampant, which are caused by spoiled food, contamination of water and the environment, and from pests such as mice, rats, and snakes that multiply alarmingly in ghost towns and ruins of cities like Homs, Hama and Idlib.

Approximately seven million Syrians are destitute refugees in neighboring countries and within Syria. The approaching winter threatens to pose great harm to their health and their lives, as if the misery that people – if it is possible to call them people – have caused them was not bad enough. Because of the distress and poverty, the refugees do anything they can in order to live: the men work for pennies, and many women are forced to do unethical things in order to earn a piece of bread. Families sell their daughters in forced marriages, to get a handful of dinars and reduce the number of mouths that they must feed.

Asad’s army systematically refuses humanitarian aid organizations to operate in the besieged cities, claiming concern that the lives of the volunteers will be endangered by fire from the opposition. But soldiers of the opposition to the regime are not guiltless either: they fight with each other over ideological differences, mainly regarding the future of Syria: will it be a civil state or an Islamic state. In the city of Aleppo “The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” is in control and the city is run by an Islamic court that imposes Islamic Shari’a by force of arm, whip and sword. Lately several tribes that live around Aleppo have announced that they have joined “The Islamic State” organization, in order to shelter in the shadow of the dominant force, and stay out of trouble.

The fact that children are present in the battle areas causes them severe emotional damage because of the terrible sights that they are exposed to. Children join the battle and take an active part in killing anyone who is thought to be an enemy. Asad’s militias, the “Shabiha”, are constantly on the lookout for the families of soldiers and officers who have deserted the army so that they can kill the men and abuse the women. In many cases they document and photograph this abuse to show it to those who are still serving, to discourage them from deserting.

This past month several dozens of jihad organizations operating in Syria came to the conclusion that the disagreements among them harm their fighting cause and strengthen Asad. This conclusion led dozens of organizations to put aside their differences and unify under an organizational umbrella by the name of “Jaysh al-Islam” – “The Army of Islam”. The other large organization – “The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” – is considering joining the “Army of Islam”, and it may be that “Jabhat al-Nusra”, which blessed the consolidation with “The Army of Islam”, will also join in the future.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

The Next Bloodbath : Lebanon

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

During the past two years we have become accustomed to the seemingly endless bloodbath in Syria, which has become a boxing ring for the many forces that are tearing it apart, while tearing its citizens apart in the process as well. But now the flames of the Arab Spring are threatening its western neighbor, Lebanon, the most democratic Arab or Muslim state in the modern Middle East. The Lebanese political system, which is built on a delicate balance among many sects and political bodies, has been directly influenced in the past two years by the events in Syria, because several Lebanese bodies are deeply involved in the Syrian tragedy.

Many have written about Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria, and one may assume that this involvement – together with the terror attack in Burgas, Bulgaria – was the basis for the EU’s decision to declare the military arm of Hezbollah as a terror organization. Hezbollah is the target of harsh criticism these days, both by Sunni groups that identify with the rebels against Asad in Syria, and by the Shi’ites who fear that the Syrian Sunnis will bring its revenge to Lebanon. However, Nasrallah does not listen to his opposition and continues to carry out Teheran’s instructions to help Asad survive at any price, even at the price of the lives of hundreds of Hezbollah fighters.

The Sunnis do their part too, by trying to attack Hezbollah in it’s own domain, in Lebanon. To date we have seen missile strikes on Dahiya, the southern suburb of Beirut, which is the Hezbollah stronghold, as well as a car bomb that exploded there in mid-June. Supporters of Syria are also targets of Hezbollah’s opposition: In the beginning of the week of July 21, a Syrian journalist of Kurdish extraction named Mohammed Dhirar Jammu, a supporter of the Asad regime, was murdered in the Lebanese city of Sarafand.

But lately reports have begun to appear in the Arabic media that a new Sunni front, the Lebanese branch of the Syrian group Jabhat al-Nusra, is steadily strengthening and consolidating in Lebanon. Jabhat al-Nusra, which also has branches in Iraq, is part of the global system of al-Qaeda-inspired organizations that translate into practical terms the teachings of bin Laden, which are based on the ideology of his mentor, Palestinian Sheikh Abdullah Azzam.

First of all, the full, official name of the organization is “Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahal al-Sham” – “The Defensive Front for the People of Greater Syria.” The term “Greater Syria” expresses the organization’s rejection of the division of the modern Middle East into modern states – Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel – because they were founded by Christian-European colonialism in order to serve its own interests. The “al-Sham” region includes West Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Land of Israel, which the Arabs call “Filastin”. Therefore, Israel must keep a watchful eye on this organization because it is theoretically possible that the Muslims in Israel will want to open branches of the organization in Israel as well. And this actually almost happened, but then was blocked when Sheikh Nazem Abu Islim of Nazareth was arrested, tried and imprisoned.

Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon

The Christian writer Luna Khuri describes the structure of the Lebanese branch of Jabhat al-Nusra in the Elaph Internet site. The head of the organization is Muhammad al-Rish from Tripoli, whose brother, Samer abd al-Rahim al-Rish, was one of the leaders of the Jund al-Sham organization (Greater Syrian Army) and was killed last month in the battle of the Crusader fortress Krak des Chevaliers, near Homs. Muhammad al-Rish’s immediate task is to defend the budding development of Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon from attacks by the Lebanese military, which are carried out against it by instructions from Hassan Nasrallah.

In mid-June of this year, the Lebanese army eliminated the Sunni Salafi sheikh, Ahmad al-Asir in Sidon, and captured a truck full of military equipment near the town of Arsal, in Lebanon’s  Bekaa Valley. This town is apparently the logistical center of the Jabhat al-Nusra organization in Lebanon, because of its location on the border of Syria and Lebanon. Its local commander in the town was Khaled Hunayd, who was killed by agents of Lebanese military intelligence. The present commander took a lesson from this event, so he now operates incognito, heading a group that includes approximately 200 fighters under the spiritual leadership of Sheikh Mustapha al-Hujairi – called Abu Takia (the turbaned one), who issued a fatwa – a religious legal ruling – that allows killing soldiers of the Lebanese army.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/dr-mordechai-kedar/the-next-bloodbath-lebanon/2013/08/01/

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