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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Mediterranean Sea’

New Israeli Oil Find near Gaza Could Drive Hamas, Abbas into War

Monday, September 9th, 2013

A new oil discovery in southern Israel might turn out to be the catalyst for an internal and self-destructive war in the Palestinian Authority, with Hamas in Gaza and chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah likely to claim ownership of a new Israeli offshore oil discovery near Ashdod.

When the Tamar and Leviathan gas and oil fields off the Haifa and Hadera coast, in northern Israel, were discovered, Lebanon and Hezbollah quickly claimed that energy reserves were in their territorial waters.

The oil and gas reserves are clearly within Israel’s territorial waters, but the fields could extend as far as the waters off the Lebanese coast.

Lebanon warned the American Noble Energy company not to approach its territory, and Hezbollah it would go to war over the oil and gas fields. Since then, Israel has brought gas into production, and Lebanon and Hezbollah have kept quiet, partly because the United States has mediated by proposing a boundary between Lebanon and Israel’s maritime economic zones.

Now comes the Israeli Shemen Oil and Gas Company which reported on Saturday indications of  “high quality of oil”  following offfshore drilling at its Yam-3 well, 10 miles from the southern port city of Ashdod, located only a few miles north of Gaza.

The drilling reached a depth of 19,000 feet undersea, but the possibility of commercial production awaits further tests.

“This is good news for Shemen but it is still too early to pop the champagne,” Noam Pincu, an analyst at Psagot Investment House Ltd. in Tel Aviv, told Bloomberg News. “We have to see the results of the production tests to estimate the quantities and quality of oil at the site.”

It still is not clear from the drilling report how thick the reservoir is and how much much oil could be commercially produced. Analysts said it could be only a few barrels a day or it could be several hundred a day, which would bring in millions of dollars.

If the Yam 3 well turns to be commercially viable, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu might be able to relax at U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace talks and let Fatah and Hamas knock each other out.

Hamas and its rival Fatah movement likely would be at each other’s throats, literally, to claim that Israel is “stealing” the reserves from them.

Abbas was head of all of the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria as well as Gaza until Hamas completed a bloody military coup six years ago. Abbas dissolved the Fatah-Hams coalition government and declared himself as ruler of Gaza by presidential decree, which Hamas correctly terms as “worthless.”

Abbas and Hamas de facto prime minister Ismail Haniyeh have since failed to carry out several declarations of unity.

All it will take is a few barrels of oil near Gaza’s waters for both leaders to draw their knives and guns for energy reserves that are so close to Gaza that Haniyeh and Abbas can claim that Israel is “stealing” them by drilling diagonally into Gaza waters.

Both Ramallah and Gaza City are in serious trouble financially. Egypt’s new war on terror in the Sinai has choked off the flow of commercial goods through the border at Rafiah, and Abbas is totally dependent on the economically ailing European Union, to stave off bankruptcy.

Israeli-US Missile Test Spikes Tensions (Video)

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Russia detected a joint US-Israeli missile firing from the Mediterranean Sea Tuesday morning and raised tensions throughout the world, which already is on war alert. Israel, after denying that a missile was launched, later said two missiles were fired the sea in a test carried out with the United States.

The “Blue Sparrow” missile test was meant to test radar systems, according to the Defense Ministry.

However, given the rapid acceleration of war preparations by the United States, Hezbollah, Russia, Israel and Syria, virtually all statements have to be taken with more than a few grains of salt.

Sky News’ Foreign Affairs Editor Tim Marshall reported, “There is very little information available, but the most likely explanation would be that the US is test firing some of its ship defense systems.”

The missile launch could have been a simple test without any connection to a possible U.S. attack on the Assad regime, but the opposite is most probable.

All that is known is that two missiles were fired and that they fell in the sea. The Russian Interfax news agency reported that a government official stated, “The trajectory of these objects goes from the central part of the Mediterranean Sea toward the eastern part of the Mediterranean coast.”

If the missile firings were designed to raise the rafters in Russia, they were an outstanding success.

Photos of Damage from Missile Attack on Northern Israel

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

Another miracle saved Israel in Thursday’s attack on the north, where two Katyusha rockets exploded in the middle of Kibbutz Gesher HaZiv and Moshav Shavei Tzion, causing only property damage without injuries – except, of course, for trauma.

One other missile was shot down, and a fourth rocket landed in the sea, but other missiles launched at Israel fell in Lebanon, short of their target, according to the Beirut Daily News and the IDF.

“The remaining rockets fell outside of Israeli territory,” the military said in a statement.

It reported that the Lebanese army discovered four wooden launching pads in the outskirts of a village. Sources said four missiles were fired from an area near a village operated by the United Nations and southeast of the coastal city of Tyre.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an Al-Qaeda-inspired group that the United States has designated as a terrorist organization, claimed responsibility for the attack in a post on the Twitter account of Sirajuddin Zurayqat, an influential Islamist.

The official Lebanon National News Agency said Israel flew two unmanned drones at low altitudes over Tyre after the attack that broke a relatively long period of calm in the Nahariya area, hard hit in 2006 by Hezbollah. Residents living near the launching site and the border confirmed to the Star that the IDF did not retaliate.

After the attack, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned of retaliation, saying, “Anyone who harms us, or tries to harm us, should know — we will strike them.”

Increased tensions and battles along the Lebanese borders are the last thing that Israel and pro-Lebanese factions want. The shaky Lebanese government has its hands full with the constant pro-Syrian and Hezbollah forces that dominate southern Lebanon, terrorist attacks by Hezbollah and Sunni Muslim against each other, and the spillover form the Syrian civil war.

UNIFIL spokeswoman Antonette Miday said peacekeepers inspected the launching site and that U.N. forces would plea to Lebanon and Israel to maintain calm.

Lebanese officials were incensed at the missile attack, the first on Israel since May. Both President Michel Suleiman and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati condemned the rocket fire as a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 and Lebanon’s sovereignty.

The Katyusha missile that slammed into Kibbutz Gesher HaZiv caused large-scale property damage

The Katyusha missile that slammed into Kibbutz Gesher HaZiv caused large-scale property damage. Photo by Kobi Snir/Flash 90

Katyusha missile that exploded in a street in Kibbutz Gesher HaZiv Thursday afternoon

Katyusha missile that exploded in a street in Kibbutz Gesher HaZiv Thursday afternoon. Photo by Kobi Snir/Flash 90

 

The missile attack shattered the windows and punctured tires of this van, which was parked without anyone inside at the time of the explosion. Photo by Shay Vakni/Tazpit News Agency

The missile attack shattered the windows and punctured tires of this van, which was parked without anyone inside at the time of the explosion. Photo by Shay Vakni/Tazpit News Agency

Security officials gather up remains of missile.  Shay Vaknin/Tazpit News Agency

Security officials gather up remains of missile. Shay Vaknin/Tazpit News Agency

Trading In Maryland for the Mediterranean

Monday, August 19th, 2013

When Sergeant Brandon Berry made aliyah (immigrated to Israel), he did not come looking for the easy life. If he wanted that, he would not have left his hometown of Potomac, Maryland to serve in the army of a foreign country half a world away from his family.

Sgt. Berry also was not looking for an easy job in the IDF – he wanted to serve wherever he was most needed. He wanted to take his talent and drive with him to contribute one hundred percent.

Sgt. Berry passed all the tests to serve in the prestigious Paratroopers Brigade. Instead the American immigrant took to the sea as a member of the Israel Navy’s Dvora-class patrol boat squadron.

It is not everyday that a young man from Potomac, Maryland travels for tens of thousands of miles to join the Israel Navy. “It was clear to me that I was destined to serve in the Navy,” he said. Sgt. Berry, stationed on a base overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, is able to indulge his love for wide-open spaces every day of his service.

Aside from his thick American accent, Sgt. Berry is indistinguishable from the other soldiers at his base – completely at home on a boat with a tan to match. He credits the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers for helping him through the entire enlistment process.

“The work the association does is a blessing,” he says. AWIS helps soldiers in a number of ways, which included providing assistance to lone soldiers, running soldier homes and recreation centers, and providing support for bereaved families.

Sgt. Berry says that even though he grew up with a strong Jewish identity and attended a Jewish day school, he always felt like something was missing. Now, as a soldier for Israel, it seems he has truly come home.

Visit IDF Blog.

Rebels Claim Israel Bombed Russian-Made Anti-Ship Missiles

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Syrian rebels have implicitly fingered Israel for the bombing of Russian-made Yakhont anti-ship missiles near the Syrian port of Latakia last week, a bombing that the Assad regime has blamed on a group linked with Al Qaeda terrorists.

It was not the FSA [Free Syrian Army] that targeted this,” the rebels’ army spokesman Qassem Saadeddine told Reuters. “It is not an attack that was carried out by rebels. This attack was either by air raid or long-range missiles fired from boats in the Mediterranean.”

The rebels maintain that they do not have the capability to stage an attack that was a powerful as the bombing near Latakia.

Israel remained officially non-committal, but Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told inquiring reporters, “We have set red lines in regards to our own interests, and we keep them. There is an attack here, an explosion there, various versions – in any event, in the Middle East it is usually we who are blamed for most.”

Israel has struck several times in Syria and Lebanon the past several years, most notably the bombing of a  nuclear installation under construction with the help of North Korean scientists. Israel is assumed to have assassinated Hezbollah’s mastermind terrorist Imad Mughniyeh five years ago and has bombed stockpiles of advanced missiles that were on their way from Syria to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon.

The target at Latakia, according to the rebels, was a cache of Yakhont anti-ship missiles, which could be used to attack Israel’s offshore natural gas and oil rigs and would have been at least the fourth time Israel has bombed a site in Syria this year.

Between 10 and 12 Syrian soldiers were killed in last week’s blast, according to Arab sources. It is not clear if the bombing was form the air or from sea.

Syrian blamed the bombing on a group linked  Al Qaeda, a departure from its previous policy of charging that Israel is the guiding hand behind the Syrian rebellion against President Bassar al-Assad.

However, the official Syrian statement, in typical language of propaganda, could be read as implying Israel.

“The attack in Latakia was not carried out from the air or the sea, but by a terrorist group aligned with Al Qaeda,” according to Syria’s official state media. ”

Assad for the past year or so has equaled Israel with terrorists, and given his state of mind, he may not want to credit Israel with having the power to continually break through Syrian defenses and attack at will.

It is perfectly reasonable and logical for him to define Israel as linked to Al Qaeda.

F-16 Breaks Up in Mid-Air near Gaza, Pilot and Navigator Rescued

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Israel Air Force rescue crews have brought to safety the pilot and navigator of an “F-16i” training fighter jet that  broke up off the coast of Gaza Sunday afternoon after its engines mysteriously died.

The pilot, a training instructor, and the navigator who is is training, ejected themselves safely and parachuted to the sea, approximately 30 miles off the Gaza coast. They were able to send a distress call before they ejected, and they were rescued from the sea after approximately one hour

The military had clamped a gag order over the incidents for several hours, and no additional information is available except that all F-16i and F-15i training  planes have been grounded until an investigation is completed.

The Gaza region is particularly sensitive this week because of the tension in Egypt and terrorist activity in the Sinai Peninsula, immediately south and east of Gaza.

Israeli Air Force Shoots Down Hezbollah Drone

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

The Israeli Air Force shot down a drone approximately five nautical miles off the Haifa coast as it flew towards the Mediterranean Coast at a height of approximately 6,000 feet. No one has claimed responsibility for the attempted infiltration, but it is assumed that Hezbollah or an affiliated terrorist group tried to penetrate Israeli air space.

A gag order on the IAF interception with a missile fired from an F-16 jet was lifted approximately three hours after the drone was blown up in mid-air.

“Israel is prepared to deal with any threat posed from Syria or Lebanon in the air, land or sea,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said after the IDF announced the incident.

Last November, a drone managed to penetrate Israeli airspace and was downed only after it reached the southern Hevron Hills, approximately 15 miles northeast of Be’er Sheva.

The drone was identified over the Gaza coast. Security officials did not release additional information, and it was speculated – without any confirmation – that the drone may have been headed towards the Dimona nuclear facility but that the IDF electronically took over the drone and directed it over a relatively unpopulated area.

The infiltration also may simply have been an attempt by Hezbollah to test Israel’s ability to detect low-flying drones.

Thursday’s drone may be an attempt by Hezbollah to draw attention away from its involvement in Syria, where heavy casualties have been reported the past several days. Hezbollah’s intense fighting alongside loyalists to Syrian President Bashar Assad further endangers the spread of the civil war into Lebanon, dominated by pro-Assad and Hezbollah parties against fiercely anti-Syria parties.

Hezbollah is largely financed by Iran, and Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Syrian President Bashar Assad desperately need each other. Once one of the links in the “evil of axis” falls, all of the regimes’ leaders will be in danger.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israeli-air-force-shoots-down-drone-from-lebanon-off-coast/2013/04/25/

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