IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has canceled his planned trip to a NATO conference in Europe, only a few hours away.
Israel’s security on the northern border has also been tightened following what was feared to be a terrorist infiltration Wednesday evening (Jan 21.)
Kibbutz security teams from Metulla to Malkiya combed the Ramim mountain range around 6 pm local time after five suspects were thought to have been spotted. Residents of communities in the area remained inside. Roads were sealed and IDF troops were sent to the area as well.
But after searching the area thoroughly, the IDF Spokesperson announced that no infiltration had occurred. Nevertheless, he asked residents to remain in their homes.
Tensions are rising in the wake of an attack on a Hezbollah convoy in Syria that killed six terrorists – including three commanders – and six members of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Among the Iranian dead was a general.
The helicopter air strike, which fired two missiles, has been attributed to Israel although there has been no confirmation by the IDF.
South of Israel, the Hamas terrorist organization is working hard to figure out how to get in on the action and create another two-front war, as it did with Hezbollah in 2006.
Elusive Gaza-based Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif wrote a condolence letter to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah commiserating over the recent attack.
“All of the forces of resistance must band together and unite against the Zionist enemy and its accomplices,” Deif reportedly wrote in the letter, Reuters reported. It was believed last summer that Deif had been eliminated by the IDF during its counter terror Operation Protective Edge, but despite conflicting reports Hamas has insisted since that day that Deif is still alive.
Likewise, Gaza’s de facto Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh also sent a letter to Nasrallah expressing his “deepest condolences,” according to Hezbollah-linked Al Manar TV. Haniyeh’s sorrow was to be conveyed to the “families of martyrs.”
Iran, which generously funds and equips both terrorist groups, has meanwhile warned Israel that “ruinous thunderbolts” await in the future.
The U.S. State Department has not been unmindful of these developments: a travel warning has been issued barring American foreign service personnel from approaching the northern borders with Lebanon and Syria. Nor can American public servants use public transportation anywhere in Israel at this time.
The terror stabbing attack Wednesday (Jan. 20) by a Palestinian Authority Arab man on a public bus in Tel Aviv has only exacerbated American administration fears about what lies ahead.
“Because of concerns about security on Israel’s northern borders, U.S. Government personnel are currently required to obtain advance approval if they wish to travel within 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of the Lebanon border, or travel on or east of Route 98 in the Golan Heights,” the U.S. Embassy alert reads. Visitors from the United States have also been advised not to use public transportation in Israel.
Hana Levi Julian