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December 7, 2016 / 7 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Gaza Strip’

Report: Hamas Terrorist Killed in Tunnel Collapse During ‘Mission’

Monday, October 24th, 2016

A member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, was killed in Gaza on Monday after an underground tunnel collapsed on him, Ma’an reported. The al-Qassam Brigades released a statement saying one of their fighters, Amir Jaber Abu Tuima from the town of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, died during a “mission” when the tunnel collapsed.

The announcement did not specify the nature of the mission, which was most likely digging a terror tunnel.

On Saturday another al-Qassam terrorist was killed in a tunnel collapse. Ma’an acknowledged that a considerable number of Gaza Arabs have been killed in the “vast tunnel networks that lie below the besieged enclave,” which is dedicated to commercial and military smuggling in the south and future terrorist kidnapping in the north.

Last Saturday morning, the head of the Egyptian army’s Ninth Armored Division was assassinated for his role in destroying tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip by filling them with water.

The smuggling tunnels are used by Hamas as a source of tax revenue and flow of weapons and commercial goods from the Sinai, including food, medicine, and infrastructure materials. The latter are being used mostly for digging military tunnels into Israeli territory.

The Institute for Palestine Studies reported in 2012 that Hamas suffered 160 deaths under collapsing tunnels since 2007. In August 2014, al-Jazeera cited 400 as the updated figure for tunnel collapse casualties.

Ma’an cited a UN report from September suggesting the damage from the three clashes between Hamas and Israel since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, including the destruction of local water, sanitation, energy, and medical facilities, together with a slow reconstruction (as Hamas is usurping the building material for building terror tunnels), will render Gaza “uninhabitable” by 2020.

JNi.Media

Egypt’s Tunnel Destroying Officer Assassinated

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

The head of the Egyptian army’s Ninth Armored Division Major Adel Ragaai was assassinated on Saturday morning, the army media office told Daily News Egypt on Saturday. Based in Dahshur, Giza, on the west bank of the Nile, the Ninth Armored Division was assigned the mission of destroying tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip by filling them with water.

Major Ragaai was attacked by heavy shooting from anonymous militants in front of his residence in Al-Obour City near Cairo, according to army sources.

Ragaai’s wife, Samia Zein Al-Abdeen, a defense correspondent for the state-owned daily Al-Gomouria, told her newspaper she hurried outside when she heard a burst of gunfire from a private vehicle as it sped down their suburban street.

The group Lewaa Al-Thawra, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, is blamed for the attack. Ragaai’s death is the first political assassination of a military figure since the ousting of Mohamed Morsi from office in 2013.

Over the past three years, the Egyptian military has destroyed more than one thousand smuggling tunnels connecting the Gaza strip with the Sinai peninsula. The tunnels serve both for cross-border commerce and arms smuggling for Hamas.

According to The Medialine, Ragaai oversaw a massive operation to dig a canal parallel to the Rafah border, flooding the frontier with sea water which seeps into the tunnels, preventing their use. Hamas officials in the town of Rafah have complained that Gaza’s limited fresh water aquifer is being rendered undrinkable as a result.

David Israel

Survey: Half of Evacuees Believe They’ll Return to Gush Katif

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

More than a decade after they had been expelled from their homes as part of the “disengagement” program, half of the sample of 248 Gush Katif evacuees responding to a survey conducted by the Raffi Smith Research and polling Institute said they believe they’d be returning home to Gush Katif some day. Of those, 92% said they would return when invited to. Among those who did not believe in the possibility of a return, fewer than half said they would take advantage of such an offer.

A full 30% of respondents say they still define themselves as Gush Katif residents and only a quarter see themselves as belonging to their new communities. Two thirds said living in a community has helped their adjustment process.

The survey found that religious evacuees have done better than their secular brethren. 90% of the religious respondents said they were satisfied with their new residence, compared with only 56% of the secular. More than 70% of the religious said their lives have returned to normal, compared with only 52% of the secular and 51% of those who described themselves as traditional.

There were a few specific differences between former residents of Nisanit, the largest settlement in the northern tip of the Gaza Strip, and the evacuees of the Gush Katif bloc in the southern part of the strip. Nisanit, which numbered about 300 families (some 900 people), was a ‘mixed’ settlement, with religious and secular Jews living together. Only half of the Nisanit residents surveyed said they had been able to return to a normal life, compared with two-thirds of the southern dwellers. Only a third of the northerners found a proper solution in new communities, compared with 70% of the people from the south.

As many as 80% of respondents said they were holding on to some object—from a sand bottle to a garden rock—from their demolished homes. 30% of them still reside in temporary housing. 14% are unemployed, in an Israeli job market with only 4.8% unemployment.

The survey was ordered by the Gush Katif Residents Committee, on the occasion of the publishing of the new book Makom (Place) by Ofra Lax. Committee chairwoman Hagit Yaronsaid in a statement, “Eleven years after the uprooting, the great Gush Katif family continues to miss its home. The residents are longing for the place, the friends and communities that have been dispersed across the country. There’s no doubt that our transfer as whole communities has enabled us to return to life and rebuild our settlements. Many among us still believe that some day the nation of Israel will return to Gush Katif, to grow and be grown in its sands.”

JNi.Media

Israeli UN Envoy: Stop Funding B’Tselem

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon will call on the UN Security Council to suspend UN funding for the anti-Israeli NGO B’Tselem, Israel’s Army Radio reported Wednesday morning. In his speech before a special session of the UNSC on the Middle East, Danon will reveal the funding provided the leftwing NGO by the UN, blaming the latter for orchestrating attacks on Israel through this funding. “It is no coincidence that this specific organization is invited to speak at the UN, to damage the State of Israel,” Danon will tell the special Thursday session.

On a related topic, Danon announced on Tuesday a new “political struggle against aid money which is transferred to Hamas in Gaza.” He noted that intelligence reaching Israeli security forces points to a worrisome increase of humanitarian funds ending up in Hamas hands. “Today we launch a political war against funding Hamas terror infrastructure with money from aid organization,” Danon declared, adding, “We will not rest until the UN and the aid organizations keep track of every dollar being transferred to the Gaza Strip.”

Danon said that he had approached directly the UN secretary-general regarding the creation of control mechanisms to stop the leakage of funds into the hands of Hamas. He also called on international aid organizations to do the same. In recent months, Israeli security forces detained two Arab officials of international aid groups who confessed to diverting tens of millions of dollars in aid money to Hamas. Israel has reported that Hamas invests $110 million annually in constructing terror tunnels, using, among other sources, International aid money.

“We must put an end to the unacceptable phenomenon whereby the international community believes it is funding hothouse construction while, in reality, the money goes to digging tunnels and buying arms,” the envoy said.

At the same time, Danon also praised the forum of donor countries to the Palestinian Authority, whose annual meeting is coming up, saying “Israel welcomes the contribution of these countries to the Palestinian Authority and sees great value in it.”

JNi.Media

Israel Announces Heavy Fines for Gaza Smugglers

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

By Andrew Friedman/TPS

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has instructed the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to ramp up oversight of materials entering the Gaza Strip. Major General Yoav Mordechai, commander of COGAT, said Thursday that the order was given in order to prevent raw materials requiring security clearance from reaching the Hamas-led canton.

“Any attempt to smuggle dual-use materials into Gaza without coordinating the shipments with [Israeli] security officials raises strong concerns that the materials are willingly being provided to terror operatives,” said Mordechai in a statement Thursday. ”The only goal these groups have is to harm the security of Israeli civilians. The responsibility for [preventing] smuggling does not only fall on the people ordering the materials, but also on [Israeli] companies and on truck drivers who transport the material that is intended for terrorism into Gaza.”

Liberman also said that companies that help smuggle materials into the Strip will be fined. At least one telecommunications firm has been advised that it will be fined hundreds of thousands of shekels for attempting to smuggle communications and fiber-optic cables. Defense officials believe the materials were intended for terror elements in the Strip.

Up to now, prohibited materials were confiscated at Gaza entry points, and truck drivers received warnings. The new policy was adopted following consultations with COGAT, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Land Border Crossings Authority of the Defense Ministry, Israel police and legal scholars.

The new policy calls for stiff penalties against all levels of the smuggling chain, from company administrators down to truck drivers. Possible sanctions include impounding trucks used for smuggling attempts, including the cargo. Fines for smuggling could reach approximately NIS 1 million (US $261,730). Used car parts will also be banned from the Strip, after security forces discovered parts in shipments that could be used to build a 4X4 jeep to be used by terror groups.

“We will hit back strongly and will not allow anyone to avoid responsibility. [We will try to ensure that] aiding terror simply does not pay,” Mordechai added.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

IDF Bulldozers Level Land Along Southern Gaza Strip Border in Search of Tunnels

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

A team of IDF bulldozers entered inside the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday morning and proceeded to raze the lands past the border fence, Arab media reported. The Ma’an news agency cited local witnesses who said that five Israeli military bulldozers came through the Sufa crossing and entered about 50 yards into the strip, east of the city of Rafah.

They reported that the bulldozers were leveling the lands along the border fence.

The IDF has been crossing the Gaza Strip buffer zone frequently, with heavy machinery, since the 2014 war, in search of newly dug terror tunnels that lead underground into Israeli territory.

Arabs who work near the buffer zone on occasion attempt to attack, even fire on the machinery and are repelled with fire.

Ma’an complained that the practice has “destroyed much of the agricultural sector of the blockaded coastal enclave,” a loss that could be prevented by not digging any more tunnels into Israel.

And while Israel’s buffer zone defending its civilians against Gazan terrorists is quite narrow, Egypt has demolished more than 3,255 homes and other buildings on Gaza’s Egyptian border, to create its own buffer zone and eliminate smuggling tunnels, after a surge in attacks by Islamist terrorists. The Egyptian military destroyed nearly all buildings and farmland within about half a mile from the Gaza border, using uncontrolled explosives and earth-moving equipment.

In comparison, the incursions of IDF D9 bulldozers into Gaza are described even by local media as “limited.”

JNi.Media

IDF Shelling Northern Gaza in Retaliation for Sderot Rocket

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

The IDF on Wednesday morning fired artillery shells at targets in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Just one hour following a rocket that had been fired from the Gaza Strip and landed on a residential street near a school inside the city of Sderot, Arab media reported.

According to local witnesses, at least one artillery shell landed in a terrorist training ground in Beit Hanoun. It is not yet clear which terror group operates the facility. Israeli media sources reported the site was run by Hamas.

No injuries have been reported on the Israeli or Arab side.

Around 10:30 AM Wednesday, rocket sirens were heard in Sderot and nearby communities alongside the Gaza Strip, following which an exploded rocket was discovered. The IDF spokesperson’s office reported road damage as a result of the rocket.

Several Sderot residents were treated for shock.

The swift retaliation represents a continued new policy instituted by incoming Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), of hitting back inside Gaza as soon as someone on that side violates the 2014 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-shelling-northern-gaza-in-retaliation-for-sderot-rocket/2016/10/05/

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